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.
At last I have discovered what social rank I am. Not that I ever wondered very hard about that, but still. I am a yeoman. We recently bought seven acres of rough land right next to our house. It hadn’t been looked after for 25 years or more, and it was full of chest-high thistles and nettles and hogweed, and the ground was ankle-twistingly covered in hummocks and tussocks and anthills and molehills and rabbit holes.
Naturally, I had to have a tractor, and very fine I feel sitting on it, bumping and lurching over the ground as I slice off the weeds with a topper, which is what an agricultural mower is called, apparently, because it takes the top off.
When I read this beginning of a recent piece by Philip Pullman I smiled as he’d written to me a few months back about this new venture and with particular glee about that tractor — he sounded like a young boy in his enthusiasm and made me desperate to give it a try! The rest of the piece is delightful too as he touches upon a number of highly varied subjects, everything from traditional markets to swallows to something Einstein said to his recent conversation with Neil Gaiman.
My great thanks to Judith Ridge for pointing me to this report of the conversation that happened between these two in Oxford last week. They were meant to have had the conversation last fall, but circumstances kept it from happening. So happy the two finally got together and do so so wish I could have been there (especially as I was just in Oxford a few weeks before).
I was delighted to find a podcast of it and now, having finished listening to it I can say that it is brilliant — you can just sense how much these two incredibly smart and creative men enjoyed the time they had together. There is lovely talk of classical children’s books (say the bizarre chapter “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” in The Wind and the Willows), comics, mystical belief, dreams, and much more. Just wonderful and highly, highly recommended.
“Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm,” then, is effectively an album in which a gifted contemporary composer covers classic songs. As Mr. Pullman notes, an enormous relief and pleasure “comes over the writer who realizes that it’s not necessary to invent: the substance of the tale is there already, just as the sequence of chords in a song is there ready for the jazz musician.” And his repertory is undeniably first-rate. These stories, honed through generations of tellers, are the survivors of literary evolution. They are here because they work.
Recognizing this, Mr. Pullman keeps his touch light, lending the stories a plain-spoken, casual voice and respecting the strange transformations, reversals of fortune and patterns of three that give them their power. He concludes each tale with a brief analytical note — praising or criticizing the story, pulling out a piquant detail, sometimes suggesting improvements. This is shoptalk, essentially — an expert narrator pointing out the storytelling triumphs or missteps of his forebears — and it is fascinating.
From an excellent New York Times piece on Philip Pullman’s new fairy tale collection. Highly recommended.