Although Frankenstein was published in 1818, fans are getting a head start on celebrating the novel’s bicentennial starting this week. On June 16-18, 1816, in Geneva, Switzerland, three days of terrible thunder storms caused a crew of young poets and libertines–Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Dr. John Polidori, Claire Claremont, and Mary Shelley–to seek shelter in the Villa Diodati. To while away the time, they drank and read each other ghost stories. Eventually, Lord Byron challenged his friends to write their own fantastic tales, and it was through this writing prompt that Frankenstein was conceived. (This is of course, the bare bones version.)
I have, since a pre-teen, been in love with this anecdote, as well as the young girl it concerned, Mary Shelley. This infactuation with her and her circle stuck with me through adulthood, and at 28, compelled me to visit her old haunts as well as those found within her most famous novel. I wrote about these travels in a web series called “Wandering Spirits” on WeirdFictionReview.com, and they were collected as a whole and published alongside the Frankenstein source text for Non-Binary Review’s Issue 2: Frankenstein, to which the travelogue was nominated by editors Lise Quintana and Allie Marini for Best of the Net.
Wandering Spirits has been one of the more intense and gratifying things I’ve done as a writer and a traveler, and doing so gave me a greater appreciation, love, and respect for Mary Shelley and her work. I am thrilled that the work is being reanimated by Tallhat Press, who has collected, annotated, and illustrated this series into a new special limited edition chapbook in honor of the Villa Diodati bicentennial.
Only 200 copies are available, and will only be on sale for the next nine months (to commemorate how long it took Mary to draft Frankenstein).
If you would like to help me celebrate, you can buy the chapbook at Amazon, or you can just share the below press release on whatever social media platform you feel most comfortable doing. Either way, I am grateful for your interest in my work as well as Shelley’s.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Tallhat Press Presents: Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN by Selena Chambers
“…although Mary and these poets experienced a lifetime before they were thirty, here I was at 28, having never left my homeland. I needed to flee—go forth and find sublimity. What better guide than Frankenstein.”
—From Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Six years ago, Selena Chambers turned her first major trip abroad into a literary scavenger hunt of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Visiting Geneva, Switzerland, Ingolstadt, Germany, and Chamonix, France over a series of several days, she found within the nooks and crannies of these modern European towns the residual Romanticism that inspired the teenage Mary Shelley and shaped her most famous novel.
This annotated, illustrated, and special limited bicentennial edition chapbook collects this Best of the Net nominated travelogue to commemorate Frankenstein’s conception during the week of June 16, 1816. Written in the epistolary vein as Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, these letters portray Chambers’ visits to three of the most important sites within Frankenstein and takes us all on a journey through the sublime.
It is available for purchase on Amazon at the following links:
About the author:
Selena Chambers’ fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of venues including MungBeing magazine, Clarkesworld, The Non-Binary Review, Tor.com, Bookslut, Cassilda’s Song (Chaosium, 2015), and The Last Session (Dunhams Manor Press, 2016). Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and the Hugo and World Fantasy award. You can reach her at www.selenachambers.com.
About the publisher:
Tallhat Press is a small press interested in publishing evocative and energizing Genre-based non-fiction in well-designed print editions. For more information, please visit: http://www.tallhatpress.com
For publicity or review inquiries, please contact the author at:
Title: Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN
Author: Selena Chambers
Layout and Graphic Designer: Yves Tourigny
Publisher: Tallhat Press