Last year I hosted a #rememberMary event to raise the profile of writer Mary Hocking, who I believe has sadly been forgotten. I suspect she was unfairly and inaccurately categorised by libraries as a certain kind of “woman’s writer” – many libraries don’t carry many if any of her books now. I can only assume she; who had once a legion of fans became simply unfashionable. Once published by Chatto and Windus with a few books re-issued in the 1990’s by Virago, Mary Hocking novels are now sadly out of print.
In June I will again be remembering Mary, reading her books, spreading the word or at least trying to, adding Hocking to that hashtag – as seems sensible – please help spread the word by using the hashtag #RememberMaryHocking on Twitter.
I know many people wanted to read Mary Hocking books last year but couldn’t find copies – I admit that is a challenge. However, at the time of writing, there are copies of many of her later novels available on abebooks, ebay and awesomebooks.
I have now read and own ten Mary Hocking novels and have another two sitting here waiting to be read, and I am going to be purchasing a couple of others for the event in June, as I think I will read at least one of those I have waiting before then.
• The Winter City, Chatto & Windus, 1961.
• Visitors to the Crescent, Chatto & Windus, 1962.
• The Sparrow, Chatto & Windus, 1964.
• The Young Spaniard, Chatto & Windus, 1965.
• Ask No Question, Morrow, 1967.
• A Time of War (also see below), Chatto & Windus, 1968.
• Checkmate, Chatto & Windus, 1969.
• The Hopeful Traveller (sequel to A Time of War), Chatto & Windus, 1970.
• The Climbing Frame, Chatto & Windus, 1971.
• Family Circle, Chatto & Windus, 1972.
• Daniel Come to Judgement, Chatto & Windus, 1974.
• The Bright Day, Chatto & Windus, 1975.
• The Mind Has Mountains, Chatto & Windus, 1976.
• Look, Stranger! Chatto & Windus, 1978.
• He Who Plays the King, Chatto & Windus, 1980.
• March House, Chatto & Windus, 1981.
• Good Daughters (first novel in trilogy), Chatto & Windus, 1984.
• Indifferent Heroes (second novel in trilogy), Chatto & Windus, 1985.
• Welcome Strangers (third novel in trilogy), Chatto & Windus, 1986.
• An Irrelevant Woman, Chatto & Windus, 1987.
• A Particular Place, Chatto & Windus, 1989.
• Letters from Constance, Chatto & Windus, 1991
• The Very Dead of Winter, Chatto & Windus, 1993.
• The Meeting Place, Chatto & Windus, 1996
• Safari West – is by a different Mary Hocking – it keeps appearing in lists of her books – but is in fact by a Cornish writer of the same name.
So 1st – 7th June will be Mary Hocking reading week – and I would love for as many of you as possible to get involved this year. Read something, tweet something, blog something, whatever you can – ultimately it would be amazing if someone would re-issue her novels – but perhaps that is an unrealistic hope. Still – in the meantime I shall keep on banging the drum.