Imaginary Letters by Mary Butts (with decorations by Lupe Núñez)ILBook1

In late 2019, The Half Pint Press will publish its edition of Imaginary Letters, a 1928 work by Mary Butts. 

Mary Butts  (1890-1937) was an English modernist who published several novels and short stories.

Imaginary Letters dates from 1928, and takes the form of eight letters addressed (by an unnamed narrator) to the imagined mother of Boris Polterasky, a White Russian exile living a bohemian life in Paris. The narrator loves Boris but it quickly becomes clear that Boris’s interest lies elsewhere.


This edition presents each letter in the novel separately, each set uniquely on different stock.

Each letter is presented in an envelope and the envelopes held by a ribbon into what seems to be a cloth-bound book (with unique end papers by Jenn Phillips-Bacher).


Illustrator Lupe Núñez has provided a beautiful mixture of decorations and “modernist marginalia”. The form of each letter helps to reflect the passage of time and the changing mood of the book as it progresses; not all are easy to read, and there is a feeling of someone’s notes to themselves, held keep-sake style for posterity.


The text of this edition was typeset by hand and printed, over the course of eighteen months, using an Adana 8×5 hand press. The decorations were also printed using the same press (with one exception which was screen printed). The edition size is 100.


You can buy copies direct, by dropping me an email: 

Published price is £180, and postage / packing (tracked and signed for!) will be charged at cost. If you have any questions, or need any more information, please shout at the email above. 

Photographs on this page by Michael Jones.