Saturday 22 November 2014

School Visits: Laleham C of E Primary

I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone at Laleham C of E Primary, which I had the great pleasure of visiting last week! It was fantastic to meet so many brilliant readers in Years 6, 5, 4 and 3, and to see all the enthusiasm for books and reading out there.

There wasn't enough time to answer all the questions that everyone had, so if anyone has a question they would like to ask, this is the place to ask it!  And there's a short film I wanted to show you, but didn't have time, so here it is – the brilliant Phoenix book trailer, made by Dave McKean!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Phoenix paperback!

Exciting news – the Phoenix paperback is now available for pre-order!  Click here to go to my publisher's page, where the 'Buy Now' button will give you links to all the places you can order it: independent bookshops via Hive, as well as Foyles, Waterstones, Amazon etc.  It features a stunning new cover by Dave McKean:

And a back cover with some of the most amazing reviews I've ever received!  When Jacqueline Wilson says "Phoenix is brilliant – a total page-turner" and Frank Cottrell Boyce describes it as "Big, bold, beautiful. Great to read aloud. A wonder to hold in your hand" – you know you must have done something right!

Saturday 8 November 2014

An Epigraph for Phoenix

If you've read Phoenix, you may have noticed that it doesn't have an epigraph.

An epigraph is a quote that goes at the beginning of a book. I'm a big fan of epigraphs, and usually like to use them. In Varjak Paw, I quoted The Wizard Of Oz: "There's no place like home." In The Outlaw Varjak Paw, I quoted Anne Carson's translation of Sappho:

I had many ideas for Phoenix epigraphs. But in the end, I wanted the universe of Phoenix to be its own universe. From the moment you opened the book, I wanted you to be deep in space, among the stars. Any epigraph felt like would take away from that feeling, so I decided not to have one.

If there had been an epigraph, though, there were three possibilities I was seriously considering.  The first was a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The poem is called That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection and you can read it in full here. The part I might have quoted for Phoenix was this:

"Man, how fast his firedint, his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indig nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star, death blots black out; nor mark
Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart's-clarion! Away grief's gasping, joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; world's wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond."
I'll make another blog about the other two possibilities soon!