By profession a writer and editor herself, Hilary Phillips has found Rosemary Sutcliff’s books again, and has posted about the experience at the You Write tab. Thank you!
I rediscovered Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels this winter, having watched the film The Eagle. I remembered how much I had enjoyed reading a number of her books as a teenager, so launched in with The Lantern Bearers, as the first one that I came across on my eldest son’s rather disorganised bookshelves. I then read The Silver Branch and just for completeness, reverted to The Eagle of the Ninth which I had read repeatedly as a child and young teen, so it definitely felt like rediscovering an old friend. If you know the series you’ll realise this is completely reverse order, which just seemed to add to the charm. And I honestly thought that was it for the series. Although I knew there were plenty of other books, I didn’t realise that she had continued the story over so many generations, and in fact that, in many ways the climax was still to come. So how wonderful when my caring husband produced A Sword at Sunset as a Christmas present. Genuinely, the book I really wanted to exist, but had no knowledge of! I escaped into the dark ages for the Christmas holidays and thoroughly enjoyed the epic tale, the battles, the adventuring, the sad realness of the love story and the freshness of the storytelling, despite its roots in the Arthur legend.
Now, Dawn Wind came along at Easter, just republished and a very fine piece of writing. I really have no memory of reading this as a teenager and although the book may have been aimed at young adults, either that’s still the stage I’m at (I wish) or there’s really a great deal more there for the taking. The characterisation is convincing, the story enthralling as each new stage of Owain’s life opens up. The descriptions of place, of time, of conflict, of dogs and horses, loyalty, love and commitment are as engaging as ever. In case you’ve not read it, I’ll not spoil the ending, but go on the adventure and discover what happens in Owain’s long journey across dark age Britain for yourself!
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in Hampshire, UK, a self-decscribed book-collector, book-dealer, publisher and writer has featured childrens’ author Rosemary Sutcliff a number of times on his blog
, most recently speaking of the illustrations in Outcast
(The illustrator) Richard Pitt Kennedy … worked as a publisher’s apprentice at the Hogarth Press under Virginia and Leonard Woolf. He was a prolific illustrator and from what I can see, these illustrations for Sutcliff, which look like crayon on textured board are somewhat unusual for a man whose main illustration work was done in pen and ink wash. He was a great admirer of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, one of the founders of the Vorticist movement; there is little sign of that in these images. But he was prolific and clearly, someone who illustrates such a quantity of material is going to demonstrate a certain variety over time.
Posted in Illustrators and Illustration, Richard Kennedy | Tagged illustration | 1 Comment »
… Everything in the garden bursting while you look at it …
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Slightly Foxed is, in their own words, “a rather unusual quarterly book review”, as I posted last year. It professes to be “unaffected by the winds of fashion and the hype of the big publishers” as it introduces readers to “some of the thousands of good books that long ago disappeared from the review pages and often from bookshop shelve.” ”Companionable and unstuffy”, its contributors – some well-known, others not – all write “personally and entertainingly about the books they choose”. It appeals to me that it is “not so much a review magazine as a magazine of enthusiasms – some of them quite quirky”.
In the autumn of 2011 they launched a new paperback series, putting into paperback those Slightly Foxed Editions that have now sold out. I remain delighted that Rosemary Sutcliff’s autobiography Blue Remembered Hills was released. It is pocket-sized and very elegantly produced.
Posted in Autobiography & Biography | Tagged children's literature, historical fiction, young adult fiction | 8 Comments »