The Bookseller – News – Christie’s Holds ‘Historic’ Auction of First Editions of Atwood, Mantel and More for England’s PEN

Christie’s will hold an auction of first-edition books and art by contemporary artists and authors to raise funds for England’s PEN, with works by Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel and Sebastian Faulks among those in sale.

“First Editions, Second Thoughts” will run online from June 28 to July 12, with the money helping English PEN’s work to defend freedom of expression.

Over 80 annotated first editions will be up for grabs, including works by Salman Rushdie, John le Carré, Ben Okri, Ian McEwan, Bernardine Evaristo and Phillipe Sands. Each of the first edition books is hand-annotated, a unique record of the author’s response to his own work.

Art by Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Ai Weiwei and Edmund de Waal will also be included in the auction.

Mark Wiltshire, Books and Manuscripts Specialist and Head of Sales at Christie’s, said: “It is a great privilege to manage the sale of these extraordinary books in support of English PEN. The authors’ annotations are personal, deep, insightful and often surprising, adding a unique layer of intimacy to some of the most famous texts published in our lifetime. To read them is to feel incredibly close to the creative process. I anticipate strong interest from collectors and institutions around the world.

The lots are expected to cost between £1,000 and £20,000 according to the auction house’s estimates. Bidding on most will start at £100.

The heavily annotated first editions of Mantel Bring up the bodies and The mirror and the light (Fourth Estate) from his acclaimed Wolf Hall trilogy are both up for auction. The first British edition of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Jonathan Cape) is extensively annotated by the author at 161 pages with 1,137 words and an estimated price of £4,000-6,000.

At Evaristo Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton) is annotated by the author with notes on his influences and an account of the career-changing success of this Booker Prize-winning novel. The final annotation reads: “This book has revolutionized my career!”.

At Monica Ali’s Brick path (Doubleday) is expected to cost between £1,500 and £2,000, and Le Carré’s The spy who came in from the cold (Victor Gollancz) for between £8,000 and £12,000. McEwan’s is also auctioned Atonement (Jonathan Cape) and Rushdie’s The Midnight Children (Jonathan Cape). Other auction highlights can be viewed here.

Daniel Gorman, Director of English PEN, said: “It is an honor to partner with Christie’s to bring this auction to the benefit of English PEN, as we continue the increasingly urgent and vital work of campaigning for writers at risk and for freedom of expression in the UK and across the world. We are extremely grateful to the contributors, some of the most well-known and beloved authors and artists of our time, who have generously looked back and annotated some of their finest works.

A selection of lots from the auction will be presented and displayed from 6-15 June as part of ‘The Art of Literature: Auction Highlights Exhibition’ taking place at Christie’s Headquarters in St James’s , London.

All lots from the auction will also be on display and open to the public in a stand-alone exhibition July 8-11 at Christie’s.

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