UPDATED WITH BRIEF HISTORY OF LITERARY DEDICATIONS IN THE PAST. Scroll down below to read it and see some link. More fun!
Bill McKibben's comic cli-fi caper novel ''RADIO FREE VERMONT'' is dedicated to someone mysteriously called "Spunky Knowsalot" on the Dedication Page of the just-published novel and according to sources in the publishing industry, the person referred to is Sue Halpern, Bill McKibben's wife.
Dedication page reads:
''For Spunky Knowsalot''
It's been a publishing secret and a literary mystery of the gumshoe detective kind for almost a month now, and mum's the word. Until now.
According to Vermont's ''Maple Syrup Detective Club'' based in a secret location in the Northeast Kingdom, Bill dedicated the novel to his wife in a warm, sweet gesture. The Maple Syrup Detective Club thought that since the novel has been out now for several weeks and slowly climbing the Resistance best-seller lists nationwide, some readers might like to know just who Spunky Knowsalot, the book's ''dedicadee'' is. Well, as Paul Harvey, the famous radio reporter used to say, "And now you know....the rest of the story."
Case closed. Mystery solved. The MSDC exists for a purpose, it turns out, and that purpose is to entertain, inform and create the conditions for "fun" to exist within the parameters of The Resistance nationwide.
Well done, Bill. Bravo, Sue!
OTHER FUN LITERARY DEDICATIONS:
Michael Chabon dedicated ''THE YDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION'' this way:
Notes: Ayalet is his wife's name; Bashert is a Yiddish/Hebrew term for "It was meant to be"
A dedication is the expression of friendly connection or thanks by the author towards another person. The dedication has its own place on the dedication page and is part of the front matter.
In newer books, the dedication is located on a dedication page on its own, usually on the recto page after the main title page inside the front matter. It can occupy one or multiple lines depending on its importance. It can also be "in a longer version as a dedication letter or dedication preface at the book's beginning". Nowadays, the dedication's function is mainly part of the self-portrayal of the author in front of his or her readers.
Once you’ve skimmed the title page of a book and publishing credits, the first thing you encounter in a book is the dedication. A few sparse words dropped into those preliminary white pages, they are poetic in their brevity, sometimes an enigmatic series of initials or a secretive “for all the reasons she knows so well”. Behind every “For Spunky Knowsalot,” there is a story of the relationship between the author and the person to whom it was dedicated.
Book dedications: so few words, but such big stories : see link below from 1982 NYT article in the book section.
So we look here at the poetic history of a book's first few words, which are so often secretly coded by their author.
Some authors, like Bill, dedicate their books to their wives:
Wilbur Smith “For Danielle”,
Brian Moore “For Jean, comme d’habitude”,
F Scott Fitzgerald “Once Again to Zelda”.
Bill McKibben: "For Spunky Knowsalot"
Dedications have been around for as long as people have put pen to paper. Horace and Virgil both dedicated to their wealthy patron Maecenas. Centuries later, Jane Austen, who was contemptuous of the Prince Regent, dedicated Emma to him because one of his circle suggested/ordered her to do so.
Wilkie Collins dedicated ''The Moonstone'' to his late mother, beginning a move towards inscribing to family and friends, often by way of apology for the hours spent scribbling away.
Jeffrey Archer dedicated ''Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less'' to “the Fat Men”, his two sons, then aged three and one.
Some authors say deciding on the dedication is harder than writing the book.