It's the 30th anniversary of Virago Modern Classics in May, and as a fan of the imprint from the start, I'm writing a piece for Stella (the Sunday Telegraph magazine) about its legacy and influence. So I'd love to include your views, too -- as I'm sure there are readers out there who have a shelf with those trademark olive green spines.
I have an early copy of the first VMC -- Antonia White's "Frost In May" -- and I was introduced to the rest of her writing through Virago. Similarly, Rosamond Lehmann, who became one of my favourite writers, thanks to VMC. As a teenager, I was given a secondhand copy of "Dusty Answer" by my then-boyfriend's mother. I loved it, but couldn't find any other of Lehmann's novels, which were then out of print, until they were rescued from oblivion by Virago. More recently, Daphne du Maurier has been brought back into widespread circulation by VMC (obviously, 'Rebecca' hadn't gone out of print, but many of the less well known -- though equally interesting -- of her books had vanished from circulation, including her fascinating memoir about her father, "Gerald", which I found intriguing when I was writing "Daphne", as it gives an insight into their complicated relationship, and his dark streak of melancholy). In fact, "Daphne" was partly prompted into being when Virago asked me to write an introduction to its new VMC edition of Du Maurier's biography of Branwell Bronte, "The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte". I hadn't read it since I was a teenager, and had forgotten how powerful it is -- closer in feel to a gothic novel, really, than non-fiction -- and I was intrigued by its mysterious and tantalising dedication to a reclusive Bronte scholar and collector, J.A Symington (a dedication which set me off on several years of research, which finally culminated in the beginnings of "Daphne".)
My other all-time favourite VMC is Dodie Smith's "I Capture The Castle" -- the perfect coming of age novel, but also a book about reading and writing, and how these activities shape, and make sense of, our messy lives.
Anyway, here I am, eagerly waiting to hear from you...