Here is my short address for the occasion.
Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen, we are assembled here today to celebrate the publication of Joannah Yacoub’s first book, which Quartet are proud to publish.
For Quartet to add short stories to their list is rather a rare occasion but, having discovered a new talent and a storyteller of note, we could not resist the temptation of having a flutter to remind the market that this medium can be as entertaining as a fully blown novel.
Joannah writes with verve and considerable insight. Her startling virtuosity is inspiring and a joy to watch and read with breath-taking admiration.
The title story is about a portrait of a Russian officer bought from a crooked Lebanese art dealer that causes mysterious events and strange men come calling.
Elsewhere a cat, tortured in pre-Revolutionary France, returns to wreak revenge; a German soldier deserts to see his mother in a devastated Germany with surprising consequences; an exotic birdcage seems possessed of strange powers to its new owner; an erotic genre story, risque but elegantly constructed, perhaps, even so, not for the fainthearted…
Just five synopses of ten remarkable stories heralding a most impressive debut.
At this rate, Joannah will no doubt go far. She has all the makings of a writer with the courage to tread where others fear and a mind capable of innovative thought and a rich lexicon to boot.
People like her need encouragement and backing. So please show us the colour of your money and buy as many copies as you can afford – and spread the good word wherever you happen to be.