Great writers, alphabetically
ANDY TUOHY is a graphic designer and illustrator. Great Modern Writers A-Z is his third book and comes in a series. Before this volume there was A-Z Great Modern Film Directors and before that, ditto for Great Modern Artists – you get the picture.
Once you are aware that he, as a designer is the leading light here, you begin to understand why the layout of the book takes precedence over the textual content at times.
Over usually four pages about each author there is a block on the right hand side of the page headed ‘Works to Read’ and another ‘Did you know?’
A great idea to lay out the book, but in his over zealous design style the colours underneath the text are sometimes so bright as to make it almost impossible to read said text.
It is a fascinating book, giving an account of 52 iconic writers from 1871 to 1954 – with a short summary of their life, what they are best known for and their work.
From Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe through to Beckett, Graham Greene, Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Margaret Atwood, all the bookie favourites are here and more that you may not know about.
Would be a useful accompaniment to anyone studying modern literature or as a gift book to those interested in writing or design.
The book kicks off at the time of Proust and finishes around the time of Kazuo Ishiguro so don’t expect to see anything on more contemporary moderns like Hilary Mantel or Alain de Boton.
What makes the book so eyecatching and colourful is the cover, which has 26 small portraits of the featured writers in a kind of pop art retro style.
The cover is also very reminiscent of the 2000 Blur album, The best of, which featured iconic portraits of the 90s band by the painter Julian Opie.
Andy Tuohy is a talented designer whose work has graced everything from Royal Mail stamps to posters and prints. His vintage pop art style has a warmth and grace.
The text has been written by Caroline Taggart, an author of factual books, with more than 22 books to her credit with such fetching titles as Kicking the bucket at the drop of a hat and Her ladyship’s guide to the Queen’s English.
An interesting preface by Andy Tuohy records how his son was born when he was working on the first book of series and now he is three.
Will look great on any bookshelf or in a picture you may choose to Instagram of your favorite coffee time reading. The chunky hard back binding and raised indented cover make it truly a pleasure to grasp.
Great Modern Writers A-Z by Andy Tuohy and Caroline Taggart. Octopus Books, March, 2017.
ISBN 978-1-84403-913-5 UK £14.99