Nobrow / Flying Eye Books are proud to announce our partnership with Pop Up and Transbook to bring you an exciting new practice-sharing conference for children’s literature and education professionals featuring over 30 hands-on workshops, demonstrations, collaborations and converstations… Pop Up Lab
Lab invigorates practice and programming by exploring imaginative approaches to engaging young readers and writers with literature! This year’s Lab focuses on ‘visual storytelling’ – the reading, teaching, making & publishing of illustration and comics – in the UK & internationally.
Attendees will be able to choose up to 6 sessions per day from a packed programme of 30 hands-on workshops, demonstrations and conversations with 28 organisations and individuals. Many sessions are artist-led. Attendees can explore several strands running through the visual storytelling theme – including ‘digital resources and practice’, ‘language and translation’ and a strong international presence – but you do not need to be experts or practitioners in those fields: because Pop Up Lab is cross-sector space in which to explore and experiment, share practice and learn new things.
A full programme schedule is available at www.pop-up.org.uk/lab2017 and attendees will be asked to choose sessions in advance.
Sesssions, amongst others, by: Arts Basics for Children (Belgium) / Bright Emporium / Centre for Literacy in Primary Education / Emma Press / Exploring Senses / Fundacion la Fuente (Chile) / Government Art Collection / Hamelin (Italy) / Historic Royal Palaces / House of Illustration / Let’s Be Brief / Literature Wales / Metal Culture / Montreuil Children’s Book Fair (France) / Nobrow & MiniLab / Positive Negatives / Stephen Spender Trust / Tantagora (Spain) / The Night Zookeeper / Tiny Owl / Translators in Schools / Why Comics? / Writers Centre Norwich – plus a whole host of illustrators & comics artists!
Join us at The Institute of Light for a very special evening with illustrator Ricardo Cavolo, celebrating the launch of his brand new book, 101 Movies to Watch Before You Die. Taking the form of a diary, the book is a love story told in 101 episodes. Accompanying his vibrant, distinctive illustrations with thoughtful descriptions of each movie, Ricardo takes us on a personal journey through the films that have shaped his life and the lives of his generation.
We’ve teamed up with our London Fields neighbours, The Institute of Light, for this book launch and exclusive film screening. We invited Ricardo to personally select one movie from his top 101 for the occasion… and he chose Tod Browning’s brilliant 1932 film Freaks, calling it a “milestone in his life and career”.
Ricardo Cavolo on Freaks (1932):
“I’m more interested in showing how different people love and laugh than in the revenges they exact. And that’s what Tod Browning shows us. His great clan of people have all been unceremoniously rejected from society, but are taken in by the travelling circus family. In the safety of their new home, they forget all about the so-called ‘normal people’ who ridicule them and they become one big happy family. They’re magical.”
Fresh off the plane from Spain, Ricardo will be introducing the film with a short talk about himself, the book, and why Freaks means so much to him. Ricardo will be signing books after the screening, and you’ll also pick up a free set of temporary tattoos of Ricardo’s illustrations with every purchase of the book.
Born in his father’s painting studio, Ricardo Cavolo has grown up surrounded by art and is now one of the most influential and successful illustrators to come out of Spain. His influences range from outsider art to medieval paintings and tribal art. Cavolo’s work has been exhibited in solo shows across Spain, as well in Montreal, Miami, Basel and London. His distinctive and recognisable work can be seen on everything from José Cuervo tequila bottles to Alexander McQueen scarves and Kaytranada album artwork to murals all around the world. He is also the author / illustrator of 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die, published by Nobrow in 2015.
Join us at Libreria Bookshop to celebrate the launch of Moonhead and the Music Machine. A subtle blend between Wayne’s World and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Andrew Rae’s graphic novel is an imaginative and visually poetic take on the high school coming-of-age tale.
We will be selling ice cold beers. Life is a peach when you have a moon for a head…
Joe Todd-Stanton joins us to celebrate the release of his new book, The Secret of Black Rock. Featuring strong female characters, epic adventure and a friendly island(!) this beautiful story is a must for children and adults alike. Come and enjoy a story reading, sea creatures fact sheets and tropical fish collage as part of our Children’s Easter Festival. This event is free however please email to guarantee your spot. Ideal for ages 4-9.
Spring has sprung with The Little Gardener! Author and illustrator Emily Hughes joins us to celebrate the changing seasons and the release of her beautiful new book. As well as a story reading we will be decorating our own plant pots and planting our own sunflower in this fun and educational activity session, part of our Children’s Easter Festival. Perfect for ages 3-7.
Join author and illustrator Jim Stoten to celebrate Mr Tweed’s Busy Day. This search-and-find adventure story is packed with riddles that we need you to help us solve. Tasks will be placed around the children’s section and will include both paper and 3D searches – with Easter themed prizes! This is event forms part of our Children’s Easter Festival. This event is free however please email to guarantee your spot. Perfect for ages 5-9.
Who: Pippa Goodhart
When: Tuesday 11th April, 13:00 -14:00
Where: Waterstones Piccadilly
Rabbits, bunnies, hoppity hops, call them what you like but we LOVE bunnies! This Easter join author Pippa Goodhart for a range of rabbity stories, songs and games to celebrate her new book My Very Own Space as part of our Children’s Easter Festival. This event is free however please email to guarantee your space. Perfect for ages up to 6.
Join us at Libreria for an interstellar drawing workshop with illustrator Tom Clohosy Cole. Based upon his beautiful leporello ‘Space Race’, participants will be invited to draw planets, rockets and all else that might be found amongst the stars, creating their very own concertina book to take home. Suitable for ages 5+
Help illustrator Owen Davey transform the Events Room into an underwater seascape inspired by his book, Smart about Sharks. Learn about different types of marine creatures and create your own using a range of materials.
Foyles x ELCAF is a new collaboration which sees the UK’s largest independent bookshop teaming up with the East London Comic & Arts Festival to celebrate some of the best creative talent in the UK. This year, we open our doors in Chelmsford, London, Birmingham and Bristol to host a series of workshops, talks and one-to-one meetings with illustrators, comic artists and experts in the field. Curated by ELCAF, this eclectic programme aims to celebrate the dynamic work of artists that are making waves in the UK’s independent comic, narrative art and illustration scene. This is the first in the series and is a children’s event focussing on the art of drawing big.
Artist and illustrator, Katie Harnett will be leading a hands-on workshop for budding artists. Katie specialises in children’s books and has worked on both picture books and book covers. Join in the fun of creating a large scale collaborative drawing and learn all about how to ‘draw big’. This event is suitable for children aged 5-10 years.
Cliff, Reynard and Simon are back… in Garbage Night! In this hotly anticipated follow-up to Jen Lee‘s 17×23 comic Vacancy, the unlikely gang find themselves struggling to survive across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, forcing them to question the nature of friendship and freedom…
The trio spend their days looting the desolate supermarket and waiting for the return of the hallowed ‘garbage night’. But rumour has it, there’s a nearby town where humans still live. The trio join up with Barnaby, a mysterious stranger, and set off into the unknown…
Dog, German Shepherd
Raised in a loving and stable home. Passed his Good Canine Citizenship test with flying colors. With a tendency to be overly optimistic, he’ll choose to not hear others’ concerns. Always happy to help, although he can be unaware of his own needs.
* prone to bloat
* excels at fetch
North American Raccoon
Having paid close attention to her mother’s teachings she’s become extremely skilled at breaking and entering.Cautious of strangers, but not afraid. Holds others up to high standards, because she believes in her friends but this can make her a bit controlling.
* orphaned at a young age
* if it’s scary, yell at it
Afraid of being incapable, he prefers to coast through life events. Will buckle under pressure when presented with a challenge and tends to not think things through. Extremely inward in a group, but hates to be alone. Got booted out of his herd, he doesn’t want to talk about it.
* loves the feeling of grass on his cheeks
* if it’s scary, run
Athletic and well composed. Is aloof with strangers, but once he makes a friend he’s fiercly loyal and expects the same in exchange.Confident in his talents, he openly shares them in helping others- but grows resentments when the response is silence.
* Field Champion title in Lure Coursing
* gets cold easily
Get Garbage Night here or from your local bookshop now!
To mark the release of Safe & Sound, we asked Loris Lora to share, and talk us through, some of the beautiful images she hand-painted for the book.
“Here’s a work in progress of the cover. This is actually the second version and i’m glad that we reworked it as it ended up having much more of the animals in which made it much more active.”
‘This was the first illustration I worked on for the book. I wanted to create an underwater scene that is largely influenced by vintage children’s book illustrations and created a transparent effect using gouache paint. I loved working on the mother crocodile and the way her body curved in the illustration.”
“I think these two next to one another in the spread work really well. I really like the balance between a spot illustration and a full page illustration. Painting fur on the wolves and anteaters was fun to work on. I love being able to “drybrush” fur.”
“With the monkeys I wanted them to have an active composition. I like that I was able to paint them as they swing through the page surrounded by different hues of green.”
“The bears are probably one of my favorites in Safe & Sound. But I may be bias as my nickname growing up by parents was “Osito” which means Little Bear in spanish. I was really happy with the composition on this one and loved painting the sleeping cubs.”
“A big challenge on these the baby blue birds was making them look fun and cute. I knew I wanted to have a group of them and loved the ideas of using different kinds of blue. My favourite is the one peeking out.”
“I’m really happy with the the composition worked out. I thought it would be different to have the mother lions back towards the viewer and have her baby cub peeking through.”
“Loved working on the rhinos. This was a great opportunity for me to work on textures on both the rhinos and abstract grasslands, which later influenced the endpages for the book.”
“Knowing this would be one of the last animals listed in the book. I wanted to create an image that had a big impact on the spread. Painting a BIG baby blue whale was so much fun. And having part of the mother in the background to show scale was a nice addition.”
A huge thank you to Loris Lora for sharing these pictures and insight into her incredible process. You can now order finished copies of Safe & Sound, containing all these beautiful images and so many more here and from all the very best (UK) bookshops!
When I saw the cover of Nightlights for the first time in the Nobrow catalogue, I knew that I had been hooked. There was something about the style and colour of that cover that brought images of Miyazaki’s worlds to mind as well as a touch of Sendak’s Outside Over There and Henson’s Labyrinth: a taste of the mythical and magical daubed with a sense of weighted reality. When I managed to get hold of a copy and found that it was all of these and yet, equally, none of them – a story set within the imagination of a vibrantly creative individual – I was swept in from the first few frames and taken on a wonderful journey which I still regularly return to. My review can be found here.
Thanks to the people at NoBrow and Lorena herself, I was able to ask the creator a few questions that I had about Nightlights and the creative process that went into its making:
1.Can you tell me a little about yourself and the path you took that brought you into illustration and creating Nightlights?
I’ve always been interested in writing and drawing my own stories but the idea of becoming an author was too intimidating. I was waiting for a big, epic story to come out of nowhere in my head and it took me a while to understand that it doesn’t work that way. I started then with “small” ideas, taking notes from my everyday life, writing about the music I like, about the people I met; it wasn’t only a good exercise but also it gave me an opportunity to communicate with others and share experiences.
When I wrote the first draft for Nightlights I was living in a small town in Arkansas. Being in a place so different from Bogotá gave me enough distance to see things in perspective, to appreciate my personal story in a different light. I was educated in a catholic school for girls and it was something I dreaded to talk about, but at some point I realized that the whole experience was an important part of my identity. I thought a lot about the stories we used to tell each other -particularly during our elementary years- and they were amazing. Unknowingly, we mixed the doctrine we learned from the nuns with elements of our own imagination, pop culture and the social context we lived in. With all that in mind I started to work in the plot of Nightlights.
2. One of the things that immediately grabbed my attention when reading Nightlights was where you positioned me as a reader. Sometimes I was high up, looking down and other times I was at ground level. Using some of the pictures from your book as examples, could you tell me a little about how you go about choosing the reader’s positioning and what your intention is in some scenes?
I think it depends on what aspect of the characters I want to present to the reader and the action that’s taking place. I draw many scenes viewed from above because I like to give and idea of how Sandy interacts with the place she’s in. For example, when Morphie and Sandy are playing in the supply room, I wanted to create a dynamic image, without a rigid sequence to follow, in which both girls are using didactic objects as toys, moving freely in an otherwise regulated space. Also, when Morphie leads Sandy to the forest I wanted to show how Sandy is engulfed by the surroundings which symbolizes Morphie’s power. When I want to show more subtle aspects of the story I like to draw details, like Sandy’s hands which represents her feelings and reactions.
3. Sandy’s story really struck a chord with me with and how much we encourage children to follow their dreams and interests. How much of your own story is she telling?
Sandy was created as a silent character in a short story I wrote before Nightlights. She actually resembles me during that age, with the ponytails and the oversized skirt. I also used to imagine that there were little bright dots in the darkness of my room at night, that I could catch them and give them any shape I wanted. For a long time I didn’t have close friends at school and I was found being by myself during recess.
In a way, Sandy has allowed me to acknowledge and appreciate the little girl I once was, with her flaws and complexities. It wasn’t until I started this project that I could see how the decisions I made being so little draw the path I would follow ever since. I have drawn since I can remember; I made the decision of being an artist when I was a kid. I like to think that determination is still in me, so as it is in Sandy.
4. ‘Breathtaking’ is probably a good word to describe some of your panels. How you go from the start of creating a page to the end, sharing a little about your method and materials?
Thank you! I start doodling and writing notes, trying to “catch” and give shape to the idea I have in mind. Then I take all that mess and put it in a layout, working the flow of the story until I’m happy with the plot. Finally I start to clean the images and work in the dialogues.
5. There are too many scenes for me choose from which I enjoy. Which picture is your favourite and how long did it take to put together?
One of my favorite scenes is the one in the supply room, when Sandy and Morphie play together. It was very important for me to write it because I could define their relationship through that scene.
6. Can you give us a little sneak peak of your work-space and how a typical working day looks for you? (I know you’re extremely versatile and work in other mediums besides illustration – please do share)
This year has been kind of weird because I had so much to do, but I usually try to keep a routine. A typical day for me means to get up at 8 am, feed my cats, water the plants, and check the online papers and the mail before getting to work. I like to take time and draw my sketches on paper before taking them to coloring in Photoshop. I dedicate two days a week to write. When it comes to exhibitions I like to paint with watercolors and acrylics, lately I’ve been also working with Ink and bleach. I make time to knit and sew, I haven’t been able to do it lately but i love to do plush toys. Now that I have a little more of time I’m planning also to retake my guitar lessons and my swimming practice.
7. All readers will carry on interpretation of what or who Morphie is but can I ask what Morphie means to you?
Morphie is a part of Sandy, that’s why she mirrors her in some panels and that’s why she won’t die or disappear.In a certain way Morphie represents the traps and insecurities you have to deal with when something you love to do becomes your job. I think it is a concern for many artists to lose their authenticity while dealing with the pressure of staying relevant and produce great things all the time to the pleasure and benefit of others.
Morphie is also that part of me that tells me to stop trying, that inner critic that we all have but sometimes grows so much that it consumes all your energy and makes you feel worthless.
8. Finally, can you tell us of any future projects?
I hope so! :) I’m writing a second book, so I’m again feeling this mix of happiness and fear again, I’m really excited about it. I’m also planning to paint more, to create a new line of plush toys, to work in some animation projects too.
Thank you Matt for the insightful questions and Lorena for the inspiring answers! Order a copy of Nightlights right here or get hold it from your local bookshop.
We have collaborated with Libreria’s risograph artist Jess Fogarty to produce a unique collection of limited edition prints in celebration of our relaunch of this masterwork of graphic invention. These will be exclusively available from Libreria on the night, until they run out! And Robert will be on hand to sign copies of Map of Days (as well as The New Ghost and The Land of Nod).
Robert Hunter’s vivid illustrations tell a dreamlike tale of ancient love, creating a surreal graphic novel unlike any other. Intrigued by its endless tick-tocking, Richard steps into the world behind his grandfather’s clock and discovers the Face of the Earth, trapped there by an eternal longing.
Moved to pity, Richard winds back the clock, changing time forever…
“With its strange symbols, alien landscapes and rich hues that speak of dreams and mystery, Map of Days bewitches’- The Guardian
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the Nobrow and Flying Eye spring 2017 catalogues have arrived! We’ve been working hard with many talented authors, poets and, of course, illustrators and we can finally reveal two of our most exciting lists to date.
From Robert Hunter’s surreal and bewitching love story (Map of Days) to Hamish Steele’s anarchic comic take on ancient Egyptian myths (Pantheon), the Nobrow list is sure to have something for everyone!
With Flying Eye Books, we’ve created books that encourage compassion, bravery, and a greater understanding of the natural world around us; whether it’s following a daring sea adventure (The Secret of Black Rock) or perusing pages of natural wonder (Wild Animals of the South).
We can’t wait for you to see all these books next spring, but in the meantime we’d love to know which ones you are most looking forward to reading and why. You can let us know via our social media channels!
That most wonderful time of year is fast approaching and we don’t want you to miss out on getting hold of Nobrow and Flying Eye gifts for your nearest and dearest! So here are the all important last recommended posting dates for shipping all around the world!
Be careful not to leave it too late though as any orders received on these dates are not guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas, although we will try our very best.
Saturday 3rd December
Africa, Middle East
Wednesday 7th December
Cyprus, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia), Turkey, Malta
Berlin-based couple and illustration duo Daniel Dolz and Doris Freigofas – AKA Golden Cosmos – are back with a brand new Leporello in their distinctive, colourful style! Having taken us flying high through the sky with a history of aviation in High Times, they are now bringing us back down to earth with Locomotion: a beautiful and factual guide to the history of train engineering and travel.
To coincide with the release of Locomotion, they took a little time to answer some questions for us:
Which part of Locomotion was your favourite to draw?
The history of trains is really diverse and we had fun going through the years, always being excited about what was to come next. The early beginnings of trains with the first steam machines and all the adventurous experiments like the Rainhill Trials were particularly fun to draw, especially visualising the sounds, the smell, but also the grace of those monstrous, heavy locomotives.
How do you work together on a piece like this? Do you delegate different jobs to each other?
We’re both involved in the whole process, but we’ve started to allocate work. We’re not working on the same illustration at the same time.
For Locomotion, Daniel was making the major part of the illustrations while Doris was involved in the sketching process and idea generation. This was because our second child was born in the middle of it!
What was the most interesting / surprising fact that you learned about the history of trains?
We were really amazed by the fact that on the Canadian Pacific Railway there are cargo trains that are four kilometres long and need 13 engines to conquer the Rocky Mountains!
And of course we had to include some crazy inventions like the Rail Zeppelin – a train that looked like a Zeppelin on rails, driven by a propeller! This train only had one maiden voyage from Hamburg to Berlin and set a speed record at that time.
You’re based in Berlin, what are your favourite things about living and working in the city?
Actually we’ve been thinking of buying some old farmhouse and moving to the countryside. There’s this part of us that would like to be closer to nature and be far from the fast pace of the city. But we would quickly miss all the things that are so special about Berlin: the great diversity of lifestyles, the tolerance in views of live, the tasty and affordable food, the barbeques with friends on the balcony, going to see an exhibition on a Sunday afternoon and wandering over to the flea market by the canal afterwards… On the one hand, you can always discover new things in Berlin, the city is changing so fast. On the other hand, there are places that haven’t changed much since we’ve moved here 12 years ago. This continuity makes this place our home.
What is your studio like?
Our studio is located in a former Kindergarten in Lichtenberg, a part of Berlin that is becoming more and more interesting to young people and creatives as it’s become hard to find affordable space in Neukölln or Kreuzberg. The house is shared by around 25 creatives, artists, designers and photographers. There is also a huge garden where we grow vegetables in the summer.
Which illustrators / artists are you most inspired by? And which new talents are you most excited by?
The Bauhaus is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for us. The Bauhaus philosophy is interdisciplinary and so comprehensive! It’s not just the graphic work that inspires us. For example, we’ve just recently come across a collection of hand puppets that Paul Klee made out of everyday objects for his children.
We also love the work of Christoph Niemann. His illustrations are so humorous and pointed. He likes to experiment stylistically so he always surprises you. Last year we discovered the work of Cynthia Kittler and totally fell in love with her style and ideas. She is part of the PARALLEL UNIVERSE COLLECTIVE, a group of six amazing artists from New York, Berlin and Hamburg.
Thanks so much to Doris & Daniel! Locomotion is available to buy now HERE and in all great bookshops!
Yahhooo, Dogs in Cars is here! Count to 100 through the many breeds of dogs from French bulldogs to Great Danes, as they wreak havoc upon the streets in their recognisable locomotives! In this hilariously illustrated introduction to the world of dogs and cars, Emmanuelle Walker and Felix Massie pay homage to these glorious animals and their moving machines.
To celebrate its release, we caught up with illustrator / animation director extraordinaire, Emmanuelle Walker to talk about collaborating with Felix on this cool canine car compendium, illustration, animation and more…!
1)What came first – the words or pictures? How did you and Felix collaborate on the project?
What came first was a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet including a list of A to Z breeds, and car brands – because yes, the number of dogs corresponds to the number of each alphabet letter, which also corresponds to the name of the dog breed and the car brand! A=1 – Alpha Romeo/Afghan hound, B=2 – Bentley/Beagles, C=3 Citroen/Corgis, D=4 – Delorean/Dalmatians, etc.
I then gave that list to Felix as a base for the text, and it evolved from there. He picked the breed and the brand that he thought served the story the best. He added to the dog and car list too if he thought there was an even better option.
He did a first draft, and that’s really when I started working. Over time some of the rhymes slightly changed, but the idea stayed the same.
2) Which is your favourite spread from the book and why?
The dog I had the most fun drawing was probably the Old English sheepdogs, because I love drawing hairy things, could you count all the hair on that spread?
I like all the book spreads, but the special one is probably number 10, where I drew my dad in his blue Jeep and myself as a child with our 10 Jack Russells (even though we never had a single Jack Russell!).
3) Do you have a dog? If so what kind and what are they called? If not… what kind of dog would you most like to have?
No I don’t, unfortunately. My favorite dog in the world is probably the whippet because of all the crazy positions they can make thanks to their long limbs. If I had a garden big enough (or if I had a garden at all) I would have one.
4) Could you tell us a little bit about your illustration process?
I usually do some sketch research first. There were so many different and sometimes similar breeds, so I had to find a way to simplify them and understand the shapes.
To have a better general overview of what the book was going to look like, I did some super quick thumbnails of the spreads.
Then I prepared a template document in Photoshop because I wanted all the cars to be proportional to each other when you flip the book pages. So the small cars are tiny on the page, versus the trucks for example. Once I had the template I picked the illustration I wanted to do the most on that day. I started with the 13 Maltese.
I then roughed the car first, then the dogs and background with a thin black line. Once I was happy with the rough I made a colour-test layer to decide what the colours were going to be. Sometimes it’s a quick process, sometimes it’s harder to find something that pleases me. At this stage it’s only refining that’s left but that’s the longest and most tedious part!
Once I was happy with the colours I started selecting the different zones of the illustration with the freehand lasso tool. Basically, every colour is a different layer so I can easily change things if I need to.
And for the rest of the pages, I balanced everything depending on the number of dogs on the page. So if I had to draw a lot of dogs for one page, I would then pick one with less dogs, and so forth.
5) You work now as an animation director, what do you enjoy most and what are the challenges involved with making a children’s book outside of your day job?
I can’t really pick a favourite between directing, animating, and illustrating, I need the three to feel balanced. Animation is great, and bringing characters to life is extremely satisfying, but it can be very tiring to draw the same drawing over and over, (and then retracing/cleaning up everything afterwards). Illustration is great, you can take all the time you want to create one single image but it doesn’t move! And finally directing means that you often get to work on bigger projects, with a team to help you, but it can be stressful and the clients are not all always easy to manage. Luckily I work with great producers who take care of them most of the time.
Because I don’t have a regular schedule or regular clients, my days are always different. I have some super busy months where I stay at the studio until midnight, and other times, I can go weeks/months without working. The main challenge I’d say is not to get too stressed in the down times and try to travel a bit to work on personal projects (that will often bring you more work), find some inspiration elsewhere for other projects, and disconnect for a while.
Thank you so much Emmanuelle! Drive away with a copy of Dogs in Cars now!
To celebrate the launch of this next exciting instalment, on Thursday 8th September from 7.30 to 9pm, Hilda’s creator Luke Pearson will be joining us at Gosh! comics.
Luke will be in conversation with author, cartoonist and comic book aficianado Gary Northfield, discussing his creative process, the upcoming Hilda animation (as much as he’s allowed to) and whatever else might crop up in the evening. It’s a not to be missed chance to peek into one of UK comics’ most verdant creative minds. And a chance to get a copy of a Gosh! exclusive Hilda & the Stone Forest bookplate edition!
The Facebook event page can be found here. No need to book, no tickets required: just bring yourself down for 7.30-9pm on Thursday the 8th September, seats first come, first served for what promises to be an informative, entertaining evening.
I have worked for the Fairtrade Foundation for the last three and a half years, writing learning resources for teachers to explore with their students about where their food comes from, how closely we are connected to people all over the world by the food we eat and how choices we make as consumers affect the producers at the other end of the supply chain. Put simply, I write about some of the ways in which the world is unfair and some of the ways we can try to make it fairer.
Before that I worked at Comic Relief for four years, again on the Schools team, encouraging young people to get involved in Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, raise money and help people struggling in the UK and the world’s poorest countries.
I am a big fan of elephants, dogs, dinosaurs and beautiful books.
As I said, I worked for a maritime museum – and not just in the publishing department but in the galleries themselves for a number of years. I have stood beside a replica of the James Caird for many a day so I am well-versed in the life of Shackleton. In fact, I rather big-headedly wondered if William Grill could even have any information that I didn’t already know – and my goodness he did!! The detail in this story is incredible and the language evocative. A handy glossary differentiates your conning from your cross-bracing and however much you think you know about Shackleton’s attempt to cross Antarctica I guarantee that you will learn something new.
My second book was Professor Astro Cat’s Intergalactic Activity Book. While Shackleton’s Journey is wistfully sketched and beautifully described, Professor Astro Cat whizz-bangs from the page and gets you up and involved from the get-go. I may not have mentioned that I actually ran a detective agency in my youth – the Clueless Detective Agency – you may have heard of us? My co-founder Agent 33.3 and myself, Agent 21.5 were quite the problem-solvers of our little village in Kent (a high point being when we found a shoe without an owner – although I believe that case is still unsolved). Anyway, I digress, but it is a relevant digression because Professor Astro Cat tapped straight into my 9 year old detective brain – once again I was learning Morse code and the NATO phonetic alphabet and was given Astro Cat’s decoder to translate curious extraterrestrial text! It was amazing! There is so much to do in this book!!
I have made a star gazer, learnt some Russian, measured wavelengths using chocolate and a microwave (who knew that was possible?!) and I have designed a gym for cosmonauts to use on space stations (you’re welcome NASA). The best things I learnt were that I am essentially made of stardust which is very cool and if I move to Pluto I might just have superhuman strength. I honestly think this might have been the most fun I’ve ever had learning anything. I should add that I also nearly fell off my chair and I spilt a bowl of cereal whilst wearing three pairs of gloves – ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ I hear you cry – well, you will just have to read the book yourself to solve that case.
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In the first in Alexis Deacon’s epic supernatural historical trilogy, Geis : A Matter of Life and Death, the story begins as the chief matriarch is drawing her last breath… but who will be worthy to follow on her rule? Fifty souls are summoned in the night, and so begins the first task of their extraordinary trial… Here Alexis introduces some of the key players of this incredible adventure.
Nemas – The youngest of three brothers from an influential family, Nemas is accustomed to being last in the pecking order. When the contest begins he is surprised to find that he has talents few others possess. With the possibility of stepping out from his brothers’ shadow at last within his reach, Nemas is determined to prove himself worthy. But just how far is he prepared to go to do it?
Niope – A supreme master of a long forgotten art, Niope is a Sorceress of Death. Where she came from and who she is remains a mystery, but this much is clear: she is a formidable force. Niope has promised to run the contest to find the island’s new chief but in truth she will respect no power but her own.
Io – The daughter of the Kite Lord, a high commander in Chief Matarka’s army. Io is surprised to find that she and not her father has been summoned to the contest. Though small and inoffensive to look at, Io is far from weak. She is resourceful, well trained in her father’s craft and compassionate to a fault. Even Niope is impressed. Io may well be the strongest contestant but is she strong enough to save the others from the danger that threatens them all? Can she overcome the sorceress by herself?
Ben – An experienced member of Chief Matarka’s court, Ben is a shrewd politician and a skilled orator. Time and experience have made him cynical of government, however. Now he cares for little outside of his home, his children and his loving wife.
Nelson – A man of science and medicine, Nelson has a great reverence for all living things, knowing how slender the are threads that bind them to this world. He is strong willed, knowledgeable, kind and a good friend to all who know him well.
Eloise – What survives of the ancient craft of magic is practised by wizards like Eloise. She is not as powerful or as learned as the sorceress but she should not be underestimated. Though Eloise may appear bluff and impassive, she has a great heart and would lay down her life if those she loved were in danger.
Artur – The chief accountant of Matarka’s court, Artur has not seen much of the world outside his office in many a long year. When he was a young man he served in the army before adopting a sensible, reliable trade as his father advised. Content to dream of secret liaisons with the kitchen maids and count the pennies piling up, Artur thought the days of action had long since passed him by. But now a new danger has come, throwing everything he cares for into peril. Does even the smallest ember still remain of the distant fires of youth?