Do Something!

What Would James Joyce Do?

Alas, it’s not every day that an email originating at the hands of the great Rowan Pelling reaches me, admittedly by way of various intermediaries, but today is such a day.

The cause of concern is the impending likelihood that one of the UK’s more eclectic and interestingly thought-provoking literary publishers Dedalus Books may, effectively be forced to close down, as a result of Arts Council funding being reallocated to support London’s staging of the 2012 Summer Olympiad.

This would be a great loss to the British cultural scene: really it would. Which other publisher celebrates, and informs one of the spirit of decadance so thoroughly, so precisely, so intelligently?.

Moreover, the publishing house has established a fine reputation, not just for publishing contemporary English-language fiction, but for translating stuff from cultures and languages that generally don’t make much headway in the Anglophone world, whether Greek, Finnish, or, so I am told, Estonian.

Plus they publish a dashing contemporary translation of that incomparable Russian classic. (No, not that one: THAT one). And a fair number of other classics from various times and places, too

Anyway, look at their catalogue: there’s lots of good stuff there. It’d be a great shame to lose such a literary powerhouse over the matter of some funding.

As Dedalus themselves say

Dedalus has invented its own distinctive genre, which we term distorted reality, where the bizarre, the unusual and the grotesque and the surreal meld in a kind of intellectual fiction which is very European.

As a great supporter of that which is unusual, grotesque, surreal, intellectual and European, I urge support for the following plan of action


As most of you must know by now Arts Council England East are stopping our funding this month.

There are various things you can do to help us.

1.Sign our online petition

For online petition novices like me the security code is the letters next to the box.

2.Please write to The Arts Council on behalf of Dedalus. January 15 is the day when The Arts Council starts its deliberation, which ends on 23/1 so please start emailing soon. Something along the lines of


The Arts Council priorities for Literature include translation, new writing and international partnerships and supporting publishers and other arts organisations, which deliver these objectives. Dedalus translates fiction from 14 Modern European languages and publishes original English language fiction, which it has sold into 23 different languages, 28 territories. It has won many prizes and accolades.

19 European cultural institutions have formed partnerships with Dedalus to help it put British publishing at the heart of Europe. Why won’t The Arts Council join them in funding Dedalus?

England does not possess many independent literary publishers so we can’t afford to destroy one that will celebrate 25 years of literary publishing on 30 November 2008.

Send to the following people at The Arts Council and include

Sir Christopher Frayling at The Arts Council via his PA:
Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of The Arts Council:
Andrea Stark, Chief Executive of The Arts Council, East:


3. Please send to arrive around 15/1 a postcard, a sheet of paper or if you are feeling extravagant a Dedalus book with the words written on it in big letters Don’t Let Dedalus Die, and sign it.

Send to:
Sir Christopher Frayling (Chairman)
The Arts Council England, East
14 Great Peter Street

Andrea Stark (Chief Executive)
The Arts Council England, East
Eden House
48/49 Bateman Street



Meanwhile, feel free to discuss arts subsidies and the Olympics, or appraise some of the goodies that Dedalus publish.

Hat tip: Quink