Behind Advent door number 18, we give you Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas stories. Published by Virago Children’s Classics, Streatfeild’s lesser known short stories are brought to life again for a new generation of readers. These charming, festive tales are perfect escapism from the world around us, where problems are solved and happiness reigns. Originally written for magazines and annuals in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, the majority of the collection haven’t been seen for over 50 years!
Noel Streatfeild is a much loved author amongst the women in my family. As children, myself, my mum and my grandma each lapped up Ballet Shoes, When the Siren Wailed and the autobiographical Vicarage series, to name a few of many brilliant titles, so we were all delighted when we discovered the publication of this book. The discovery of tales such as ‘The Bells Keep Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Pantomime Goose’ has been absolutely thrilling and has given a snapshot into the literary and festive world of Christmases past.
Streatfeild was a fascinating woman: she was born in 1895, the daughter of the Bishop of Lewes and the great-granddaughter of the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry. She trained at RADA, then moved on to publish six novels for adults. Luckily for so many children she also decided to start writing stories for young readers and she did so with abundance. Streatfeild created wonderful worlds where ordinary children have the capacity and the opportunity to become exceptional, all the while underlining the importance of kindness, good intentions and courtesy. Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories is the equivalent of a delicious chocolate box, full of delights to discover and savour over the course of the Christmas holidays.
Merry best, until tomorrow!
Imogen and the Festival Team x