Between the lines

12th March 2004 at 00:00
Slightly Foxed is a new literary quarterly magazine that disseminates enthusiasm for much loved books in mini-essays (some of them very mini indeed, for short, sharp bursts of entertainment) rather than publishing flavour-of-the-month reviews.

The editors' aim is to thrust deserving titles, some out of print and others unlikely to appear on the three-for-the-price-of-two table on the high street, under the noses of potential readers. The launch issue includes pieces on Sherlock Holmes's Tibetan travels, Beatrix Potter's Mr Tod ("the darkest of all her tales"), novels by Paula Fox and Penelope Fitzgerald, and Jennifer Donnelly's relatively recent and well-promoted novel, A Gathering Light.

There is also celebration of the arts of illustration and bookmaking. The highlight of this issue is a wonderful bookplate made for the parents of Rabbi Julia Neuberger by wood engraver Simon Brett. Anthony Perry's account of how he bought the film rights to a Dartmoor prisoner's 1963 answer to Catcher in the Rye only to discover that every word had been plagiarised makes the case that Young and Sensitive by Don Robson should still be read, if only as a triumph for lifelong learning ("To sit down and patiently anglicise a foreign book and copy it all out in longhand called for application and real talent").

Mr Perry's contributor's biography, which begins with "Expelled" and ends with "What a mess", indicates that this journal is determined not to take itself too seriously. Try it at pound;8 an issue or pound;32 a year (see www.foxedquarterly.com).

Let your pupils colour in their own Howard Hodgkin (or Maggi Hambling, or Paula Rego), but with a very successful staffroom whip-round you might be able to buy the original for the school foyer, in aid of Unicef's post-trauma counselling projects for children in areas of conflict.

Line drawings by 32 contemporary artists (first published in the Guardian last year, and distributed to children in Afghanistan and Iraq through Unicef) will be published on March 30 in Colour it! (Frances Lincoln with Modern Painters magazine, pound;4.99 with royalties to Unicef), with the originals auctioned at Sotheby's on the same day. To place an absentee bid (estimate prices for some pieces start at pound;300) or for more details of the project, see www.unicef.org.ukcolourit.

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