I am going to try to pierce one veil right now. What can you tell us about The Book of Dust?
I will tell you … that I am writing it. OK, I’ll tell you it’s about Lyra—Lyra at a different stage in her life. It’s not a prequel or sequel. It will be a companion novel, if you will, to His Dark Materials, though that story is finished. As I go, I’m discovering things all the time about Lyra, about daemons, about dust, about the whole universe. It’s exciting for me.
From this comprehensive and fascinating Slate interview.
A few weeks back I was in touch with Philip Pullman about something (possibly taking a sabbatical in Oxford if you must know:) and he ended by saying there would soon be some “interesting” news. Well that news is out and it is more than interesting, it is thrilling. The BBC has green-lighted a new mini-series of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, starting with the first one; in the US it is known as The Golden Compass. I’ve long felt that a mini-series was ideal for a screen adaptation, especially after the disappointing movie. I loved the National Theater’s version, the full-cast audio production (my go-to comfort listening), and the first graphic novel version that recently came out. What with all the other wonderful recent fantasy mini-series, it seemed overdue for the right people to do this one. And now they will! From the Variety piece:
“His Dark Materials” is the first commission from Bad Wolf, a U.K./U.S. production company founded by former BBC executives Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, and co-sited in South Wales and Los Angeles. The show is New Line’s first move into British television. The series will be executive produced by Pullman, Tranter and Gardner for Bad Wolf, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema, and Deborah Forte for Scholastic.
Pullman said: “It’s been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media. It’s been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel — and now comes this version for television.”
He added: “In recent years we’ve seen how long stories on television, whether adaptations (‘Game of Thrones’) or original (‘The Sopranos,’ ‘The Wire’), can reach depths of characterization and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel. And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable.
“For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of ‘His Dark Materials.’ I’m especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter, whose experience, imagination, and drive are second to none. As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news.”
I first heard about The Golden Compass being turned into a graphic novel months back when Philip Pullman tweeted that the first volume had won a French prize. Finding more information, I wrote the post, “Philip Pullman Said Yes”; soon thereafter got an ARC and was blown away by it. Now the book is out and everyone should get a chance to be equally blown away. It is the work of Clément Oubrerie, a French graphic novelist and a fabulous comic adaptation of a remarkable story. Looking at his blog, I see the second volume is due out this June — in France and in French — not sure when the English version will be out. You can see some of his sketches for this second volume here, here, and here, They are spectacular (especially Lyra and Iorek Byrnison) and I can’t wait to see the finished work.
I love comics, and I have considered at least three proposals to turn HDM into a graphic novel. I haven’t said yes yet because I wasn’t happy with some aspect of what was being suggested – the length, or the writer, or the artist, or something else. If the right combination of writer (because I haven’t got time to do it myself) and artist comes along, backed by a publisher who will give the project enough space, then I’d be delighted to say yes. (In answer to a 2010 question about when and if there might be a graphic novel.)
Well, it seems Philip Pullman finally said yes. There’s a graphic novel coming, the first volume out in the US this September. So, so excited and happy.
I was a bit peeved a few weeks ago to learn that there was a new short story by Philip Pullman set in the world of The Golden Compass out from Audible in the UK. Happily, it is available starting today in the US as well. You can get a taste of it here.
I was very excited to read about a new short story by Philip Pullman, featuring the nefarious and fabulous Mrs. Colter, that is being released today in the UK as an Audible.uk exclusive. Audible US has informed me that “The Collectors”will be available for those of us on the other side of the pond on January 12th. Until then we will have to make do with the below tantalizing excerpt read by Bill Nighy.
But wait, Pullman fans, there’s more; this in the Guardian article about The Book of Dust:
He said today: “It’s three pages longer this morning than it was this time yesterday, and … I’ll do another three pages today. It’s going steadily. But it’s a big book and it’s spreading out in the way I discussed, and I keep having to discover which ways are fruitful for the story to go in, and which are not. It’s a long process.”
Pullman promised: “I’m aiming to finish this next year. Then it’s a fairly lengthy process of editing. But I’m well on my way and proceeding steadily.”
Be still my heart!
Last summer, at a wonderful international children’s literature conference, I met Klaus Humann of Aladin Verlag at which time, among other things, we chatted about his publishing a German edition of Philip Pullman’s Grimm fairy tales retellings. It was interesting to talk to him and later to Philip about the interesting situation of translating a British retelling of what was, after all, originally a collection of stories written and published in German.
I think I also did vaguely know, but forgot until now that Shaun Tan was to do the cover. But now I just learned that he did much more than that, he did illustrations too, small sculptures for each of the stories, no less! Of course, I ordered it immediately. You can see a few of them and read about Shaun’s thinking about the creation of them here.