Friday 26 April 2013

Varjak Paw Around The World, #4


In Italy, Varjak Paw is called ARTIGLIO LUCENTE!  Well, the character is still called Varjak Paw, but the book title is Artiglio Lucente, which apparently means 'Shining Claw'.

Apart from the language, the interiors are the same as the UK edition, with all Dave McKean's art and layouts.  Here's a scan of the first page, to give you an idea of how it reads in Italian.  You'll notice for example that the Elder Paw is called 'Nonno Paw', which I rather like.  Click on the image to see it larger...

And here's the back cover, where they've put one of my all-time favourite quotes!  It came from an excellent book review site called, which sadly seems to have gone offline.  They gave Varjak Paw a wonderful review, including this line: "Imagine The Karate Kid directed by David Lynch".  The Italian publishers clearly liked this so much that it's the only quote they've used, anywhere on the book!

Are there any Italian readers out there?  If so, I would love to hear from you!

Monday 22 April 2013

School Visit: Eye Primary

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the Year 3 & 4 children at Eye Primary School, who I had the great pleasure of visiting last week!

I really enjoyed meeting you all - thank you for your brilliant questions!  I hope you will enjoy reading Varjak Paw, and will look out for my new book Phoenix in August...  And if you have any more questions, or would like to say something about the visit or the books, this is the place for you to do it!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Recommended: April 2013

One of my readers recently asked me to recommend some books that I'd enjoyed.  I thought about this, and decided that it might be interesting to do a regular monthly post about things I've enjoyed - not just books, but also comics, films, music, art - anything, really!  So this month, I'm recommending:

The Kin, by Peter Dickinson - an epic set in Africa 200,000 years ago, telling the story of human origins and evolution.  It's totally gripping, and is powered by all sorts of big ideas about the beginnings of language, religion, politics...  I find this subject absolutely fascinating, and this is one of the best treatments of it I've ever read. The only thing I can compare it with is William Golding's The Inheritors, an unforgettable story told from the point of view of a tribe of Neanderthals who are facing extinction.

This month, I also visited the Ice Age Exhibition at the British Museum, where I saw this Lion Man sculpture.  It was carved from mammoth ivory about 40,000 years ago, which makes it one of the oldest surviving artworks in the world - and I love that it's a man with a lion's head!  The exhibition is stunning: there's something totally magical about prehistoric art, and these tiny, ancient objects still have incredible power...  Here's a short video about it; the exhibition runs until May 26th, and is definitely recommended - I might even go back and see it again!

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Interesting question about Varjak Paw film!

Dear SF Said,
We're huge fans of Varjak Paw! (Books 1+2) And can't wait to read your new book. But please could you tell me if there is an animation film of Varjak Paw. My daughter and her friends are nagging me stupid about it! They say they've found a trailer on Utube - but can't locate the actual movie. Please help!
Thanks so much and really well done for writing two of the best kids books ever! Like the Godfather parts 1+2!

First of all, thanks so much to you and your daughter, SH!  That really means a lot.  The answer is that there is no official Varjak Paw film...  yet.  All the animations, trailers and so on that you see on youtube are unofficial fan works.  Personally, I'm glad they exist - but neither Dave McKean nor I were involved in making them.

Having said that, we have had quite a few adventures in Hollywood, trying to make a Varjak Paw film.  As well as being a genius artist, Dave is a brilliant film director.  So we wrote a script together, and Dave did lots of fantastic designs - here's a poster:

The problem is, it's much harder to get a film made than it is to get a book published, and though we got very close a couple of years ago, it's never quite come together.  So at present, there is no official Varjak Paw animation... but I hope that one day there will be!

Sunday 7 April 2013

Phoenix news!

Major announcement: the artwork for my new book Phoenix is now complete!  Dave McKean, who also illustrated the Varjak Paw books, has been working round the clock, and this week, he finished all the interior artwork, plus the cover!  I'm going to be sharing some of his incredible images with you in the lead-up to publication in August - but I'm going to start by sharing some of the images I gave him for inspiration while he was working on it.

The biggest thing I gave him was a beautiful book of images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Phoenix is set in space, across an entire galaxy.  It starts with a boy dreaming that the stars are singing to him...

... and in the course of the story, he meets Aliens who believe that the stars are in terrible danger.  Together, they must find a way to save the galaxy!  

The Hubble has produced some of the most detailed and astounding images ever made of stars, galaxies, nebulae...

I looked at these images a lot when writing, and was glad to learn that Dave also finds them very inspiring!

For more information on space and the stars, the NASA website is always worth a visit.  And for more Phoenix news, come back soon... I'll be posting lots more about it between now and August!