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Farewell David Rain (1961-2015)


A tribute to David Rain, from Kristen Harrison at The Curved House

Last week the world said goodbye to a wonderful writer and I said goodbye to a wonderful client.

David Rain, who passed away on December 15, was a writer and creative writing lecturer who also wrote under the pseudonyms Tom Arden and Peter Keith Nash. David grew up in Mount Gambier, a small town in South Australia before moving to Belfast to teach English Literature in the early 1990s. He then moved to Brighton and eventually settled in London where he lived for almost 20 years.

David’s last published volume was a collection of poetry called First Look that felt so very familiar to me. This collection evokes much of the duality of being an Australian abroad. Perhaps it’s the distance, or the uniqueness of the landscape, but no matter how far you go from Australia, Australia never leaves you. It is a place that burrows deep into your soul. For some of us, that depth can be suffocating and those who leave often end up occupying a confusing space between belonging and longing – wondering all the time if it would be a good idea to go back.

in the heat of the sun david rain
volcano street by david rain
The Harlequins Dance from David Rain's Orokon series

David was able to shape this duplicity into words and stories and to use it as a force in his writing. It is there in front of us in First Look, and it is there in his novel Volcano Street, a story in which two sisters try to escape a small-town Australian life they have been thrown in to.

For me, I will always be grateful that David wrote about things so familiar and that I found these words on the other side of the world, where I needed them most. And I will always remember the gentle, genuine and hardworking writer who quietly made his mark.

On behalf of the team here, we send our love and condolences to David’s partner Antony, and to his friends and family.

Kristen Harrison
22 December 2015

David Rain's "Christopher" for Visual Verse

David Rain’s “Christopher” for Visual Verse

coralie bickford smith the fox and the star waterstones book of the year

Coralie Bickford-Smith wins the Waterstones Book of the Year


Last month we featured a glorious illustration from Coralie Bickford-Smith’s The Fox and the Star on Visual Verse and over the course of the month we published over 100 submissions from writers responding directly to this image. That is a record for Visual Verse and it highlights the important of images for the written word, both in terms of prompting writers and in terms of depicting something we cannot say with anything other than visual language.

coralie bickford smith the fox and the star waterstones book of the year

Today, The Fox and the Star has been awarded Waterstones Book of the Year and we are celebrating on behalf of book fetishists everywhere! Congratulations Coralie, whose complete dedication to beautiful design over many years continues to reward us book lovers. And thank you Mr James Daunt, MD of Waterstones and founder of Daunt Books, for championing the aesthetic and ensuring the qualities of traditional book design remain close to the heart of UK booksellers.


Font of the Month: Neue Haas Unica


This month we take you from Moscow to Germany with Neue Haas Unica.

We all know Helvetica. Globally, it’s the most popular and recognisable typeface; it’s everywhere you look, even on your iPhone. Helvetica, the rational, legible and hugely popular typeface was designed in 1957, with advertisements, signs and headlines in mind. There’s a super fascinating documentary, which discusses the emergence of the font and the ideas behind it.

However, once Helvetica’s uses were needed beyond headlines and in smaller form, Haas, the centuries-old Swiss type foundry that had introduced Helvetica in 1957, commissioned a Swiss design team called Team’77 (André Gürtler, Christian Mengelt and Erich Gschwind) to come up with a follow-up to the world’s most popular typeface. Team ’77 set out to design a font based on Helvetica but drawing on other sans-serif typefaces, principally Univers- hence the hybrid name they ended up with. “Unica was designed to be different,” said André Gürtler; “sharper than Helvetica, warmer than Univers, cleaner than Akzidenz.”

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London Book Fair 101


London Book Fair (#LBF15) kicks off tomorrow and we’re very excited here at The Curved House. Now in its 44th year, The London Book Fair is the book-publishing trade fair west of Frankfurt. If this is your first London Book Fair, the hallowed halls of LBF’s new home at London Olympia may seem like a daunting prospect. But fear not – we’ve got a short crash course to guide you through.
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The Making of a Modern Classic(s)


‘Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have.’
Alan Bennett

Faber and Faber have just launched their very own series of modern classics, recontextualising their back catalogue and re-introducing us to the many gems from their illustrious exploits in publishing. Modern classics are a particularly interesting sort, a sort of exercise in clairvoyancy for shaping the ongoing cannon of literature. And indeed, for publishers with ever growing back catalogues, the modern classic is a fantastic way to ensure great stories continue to stand the test of time, alongside their established counterparts. So what makes a modern classic, both in terms of content and design?

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We’re back to work after a glorious Easter weekend spent reading, reading and reading some more. Having reignited our flame with all things literary, we feel like sharing some of our favourite and incredibly well curated litmags with you.

These journals and magazines constantly commission brilliantly innovative and fresh new writing in all its forms- from poetry and fiction to non-fiction and reviews. We’re always in awe of the amount of work that goes in to each edition, from the design, to the cover to the content itself. This is even more impressive given that most of these journals rely and survive on subscriptions and donations in an age where content is expected for free.

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Virginia Woolf and Children’s Literature


100 years ago today Virginia Woolf published her very first novel, The Voyage Out. We thought we’d celebrate Woolf by having a look at her children’s books…

Woolf is not always remembered for her whimsical children’s books. Brilliant, sometimes intimidating, challenging, modernist fiction- yes. Children’s books about animals- no. Read More

2015 in covers. Our favourites so far.


There has been a lot of book release talk over the past few weeks, from the announcement of the publication Harper Lee’s prequel to To Kill A Mockingbird and Kazuo Ishiguro’s return to the literary world after a 10 year hiatus with the fantasy The Buried Giant (an event fittingly marked with another lovely Peter Mendelsund cover pictured above). We thought we’d get involved by judging the 2015 book releases solely by their covers. So below, have a look at some of the covers and trends that have caught our eye. Read More