W&N EssentialsW&N Essentials hand-picks titles from the past to create an irresistible reading list for your future.  Fiction or non-fiction, cult or classic, each Essential is a literary jewel – a book that has stood the test of time, that was adored by its first readers, that you will find yourself recommending again and again.


Launching in March 2021, W&N Essentials will see a new title published every month with an introduction from a contemporary author. The first twelve titles are a combination of books new to the imprint and those that have already played a key part in W&N’s illustrious history. Launch titles include Jane Bowles’s Two Serious Ladies, Laurie Colwin’s Happy All the Time, Alice Walker’s Meridian and Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.


The list will be overseen by Lettice Franklin, Editorial Director at W&N.


Lettice Franklin commented: ‘I have spent the last year putting together my dream reading list, picking from W&N’s extraordinary backlist and acquiring old favourites to join them. The resulting W&N Essentials list is – and will only become more – delightfully varied. It is home to fiction and nonfiction, titles from around the world, beloved classics that already feel like old friends and radical trailblazers. In her introduction to our new edition of Elspeth Barker’s O Caledonia, Maggie O’Farrell writes of buying numerous copies and ‘pressing them into people’s hands with an exhortation to read without delay’. I want every book on the W&N Essentials list to inspire this kind of passion – to be one you would give to a friend, knowing it is about to become their new favourite, and one they will pass on in turn.’


Jenny Lord, publisher of W&N, commented: ‘Launched in 1949, W&N has been home to some of the 20th century’s most remarkable voices including Vladimir Nabokov, Edna O’Brien, Saul Bellow, Vita Sackville-West and Alice Walker. The W&N Essentials list looks backwards as well as forwards, bringing new life to the imprint’s most beloved classics and introducing new titles to stand alongside them. We are thrilled with the shape of the Essentials list so far and excited to bring these exceptional books – and the many more we have in the pipeline – to new readers.’


The series look was designed by Steve Marking, Art Director at Orion.


For the full list, please click here