TS Eliot’s famous Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and the subsequent musical Cats have helped bankroll publishers Faber for decades. Now another Faber cat is to make its debut. The Book Cat, which the publisher will publish in August, tells the story of Morgan, a real-life ‘doorcat’ who took up residence in Faber’s Bloomsbury offices in London during the Blitz.
It is written by Polly Faber, granddaughter of the publisher’s founder, Geoffrey Faber, and has its genesis in a wartime letter Polly discovered that was written by her grandfather. In it he says: ‘You don’t know anything about Morgan. He is a very large, black, heavy and affectionate cat, who fastened himself on this establishment about two years ago.’
Polly says: This irresistible snippet from a letter written by my grandfather, Geoffrey Faber, in 1945 began my journey uncovering the absolutely and definitely true story of Faber & Faber’s wartime doorcat, Morgan, and his vital kitten evacuation work. It’s a project that has been a total delight to work on. I’ve particularly enjoyed having the chance to work at last with the publisher closest to my heart, and—the cream on the whiskers—seeing my text so brilliantly brought to life by Clara Vulliamy’s ‘purrfect’ illustrations.”
The synopsis explains: ;Morgan, a young orphaned cat, finds a cosy home at a famous London publishing house. Over time he learns a trade—and soon becomes the very best Book Cat in the business. And then the Blitz begins. Morgan finds himself training young kittens to be Book Cats and secretly evacuating them out of the city. Set in war-torn London, The Book Cat is a charmingly illustrated story full of heart and verve.’
Leah Thaxton, publisher at Faber, acquired world rights from Hilary Delamere at The Agency. Faber’s long association with cats continues….