Throughout 2012 and the early part of 2013 we will be rolling out reissues of classic flying novels by Derek Robinson, who was shortlisted in 1971 for the Booker Prize for his first novel, Goshawk Squadron, and whose work has been praised by authors from Saul Bellow to Paul Scott to Nina Bawden.
In 2009, Robinson found himself without a publisher for his latest novel, Hullo Russia, Goodbye England. Undaunted, he decided to do it himself. This was Nicholas Lezard’s take on the situation in his Guardian review: “Some injustices cry out to heaven for vengeance, and here’s one: Derek Robinson hasn’t found a publisher for his latest novel. (This is a man whose writing was admired by Saul Bellow, for heaven’s sake.) So he’s done it himself. Jolly good show”. But in 2010 MacLehose Press stepped in and agreed to publish not only Hullo Russia, but all Mr Robinson’s flying previous novels, too. And in January, we will publish another new flying novel, set this time during the Russian Civil War in 1919.
Mr Robinson’s flying novels have been published over the years by a long procession of publishers, including Hamish Hamilton, The Harvill Press, Cassell and Constable and Robinson, so they have never been released in a uniform edition . . . until now! The cover art has been commissioned from Anthony Cowland, who specialises in aviation painting and is a member of the Guild of Aviation Artists. Below are the first four editions to be published, beginning with Piece of Cake and Hullo Russia, Goodbye England, which were published in April, and A Good Clean Fight and Damned Good Show, to be published in August.
Next week, from the 16th to the 22nd, six of the paintings will be exhibited at the Guild of Aviation Artists’ Annual ‘Aviation Paintings of the Year’ Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. The exhibition is open to the public and entry is free.