Virago Book Club: Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
7th Nov 2012
Lauded by The New York Times and Library Journal on its release, it went on to win both a Betty Trask and Lamda Literary Award, and has been adapted for TV by the BBC.
Renowned for its lush descriptions of Victorian London, the heyday of music halls and lesbian sex acts (the title is a Victorian term for cunnilingus), the multi-layered historical novel has it all; from fascinating, complex characters to issues including gender, sexuality and class.
Recently reissued by Virago as part of their series of Coming of Age Classics, the Virago Modern Classic edition is a beautiful new hardback with a gorgeous cover featuring an artistic impression of those infamous Whistable oysters.
When asked how she felt about Tipping the Velvet becoming a Virago Modern Classic title, Sarah Waters said:
‘As a long-time fan of Virago Modern Classics (I bought my first, aged eighteen, in 1985, and have been acquiring them steadily ever since) I was extremely excited when my own novel Tipping the Velvet was added to the list. And in such a sumptuous edition! It’s a terrific honour, and I’m thrilled.’
Publisher of Virago Lennie Goodings is equally enthusiastically, telling us:
‘To be the publisher of Sarah Waters is one of things I am most proud to say. Not only is she an inventive, exciting intelligent writer – she is also a funny lovely person and great fun to work with. When we came up with the idea of including some of our contemporary writers in our Virago Modern Classics Coming of Age hardback series, she was the first on our list.
Tipping the Velvet is Sarah’s first book. It’s touching and clever and bold. Its ficitonalising of lesbian history makes it an important book too. It is a book that brings joy to me just thinking about it again. And we are so lucky to have it on the Virago list: it is deservedly a Classic as is its marvellous author.’
And if you need an excuse to invest, then how about this? Tipping the Velvet is the latest Virago Book Club choice, and will be being discussed by them throughout November.
We can’t wait to get involved, and we’re very excited about all the shenanigans we know Virago have planned.
In the meantime, if you haven’t read Tipping the Velvet yet, you’re in luck: we’ve got ten copies to give away! If you want one, all you need to do is comment on this post telling us so by Sunday 11th November. We’ll pick ten winners at random soon afterwards and get in touch to get your copy on its way.
If you already and know and love Tipping the Velvet, tell us: what are you favourite moments from the book? When did you first read it and what was your reaction?