For immediate release


( Victoria, BC - 4 December 2006) Legendary shoe designer Manolo Blahnik has given the French classic novel Madame Bovary a stunning makeover and a unique signed copy will be auctioned online from December 11 to 13 by and Penguin Classics.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Penguin Classics asked Blahnik along with fashion designer Paul Smith, photographer and video artist Sam Taylor-Wood, architect Ron Arad and graphic designers Fuel to create new editions of timeless novels.

  • Paul Smith selected Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence;
  • Sam Taylor-Wood selected Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald;
  • Ron Arad selected The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky;
  • Fuel (Stephen Sorrell & Damon Murray) selected Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Penguin published 1000 limited numbered copies of each book. No.1 from each series has been signed by its respective designer and all five unique signed copies will be available to the highest bidder through a traditional auction staged online at - the world’s largest online marketplace for new, used, rare and out-of-print books.

The shoe designer, adored by celebrities and the Sex In The City characters, decorated the jacket of Gustave Flaubert’s novel with his own original painting of Emma in the hotel with her lover. 

He said: “I wanted to come up with something light, sensual… something frivolous, because this is a novel about the dangers of frivolity. And I wanted something sexy too, cheeky.  I usually focus on one part of the foot – the shoe. For this, I had to consider a whole scene, there had to be a context, which is new for me. But I managed to sneak in a pair of shoes anyway. She wore good shoes."

Stocks of the Penguin Designer Classics, priced at $200 each, have almost sold out. All proceeds from the auction will go to EnglishPEN – an international charity devoted to author’s rights and freedom in literature.

More details about the books and the auction can be found at:

Lady Chatterley’s Lover features a flower design. Tender is the Night uses a black and white image of an elegant young man with his hands in his pockets.  The Idiot has no cover so the reader will pick it up and read the author’s first words. Its text appears to move when viewed through its transparent slipcase. Crime and Punishment features distinctive Cyrillic and English type.



AbeBooks is the world’s largest online marketplace for books, with over 100 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print titles listed for sale by more than 13,500 independent booksellers from around the world. AbeBooks has millions of registered customers who collectively purchase up to 25,000 books a day from its 5 global websites (,,, and A true internet success story, has been selling books online since 1996, and is a private company based in Victoria, BC Canada, with offices in Germany, Spain and USA.

Penguin Classics is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, having started in 1946 with E.V. Rieu's translation of Homer's Odyssey which went on to sell millions of copies. Sixty years later, there are over one thousand three hundred titles in print in Penguin Classics and Modern Classics, constituting the largest classics list available anywhere in the world. Find out more at

EnglishPEN is the founding centre of the worldwide writers' organisation, with centres in more than 100 countries. Since 1921 PEN has been campaigning for the freedom to write without the fear of state or cultural censorship. Today, English PEN promotes intercultural dialogue, and members include writers from Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard to Zadie Smith and Monica Ali.


Richard Davies , PR & Publicity Mgr., AbeBooks Tel: 250-412-3238 /

Penelope Vogler, Penguin Press contact: (011 44) 207 010 3253 /