Thursday, January 31, 2008

June 22nd at 3pm and 7.30 at The Blue Elephant Theatre, Bethwin Road, London SE5

I will be appearing twice on one day at the above location, during the Camberwell Arts Week. The first talk, which will feature a Powerpoint presentation/reading of Captain Slaughterboard, is aimed at a younger audience while the later talk continues my series on The Life & Work of Mervyn Peake. Mervyn Peake taught art at the then Camberwell School of Arts for a while.

The Worlds of Fantasy, BBC4

The BBC4 Television series The Worlds of Fantasy begins on 27th February at 9pm with the programme concentrating of the work of Mervyn Peake to be broadcast on Wednesday, 5th March, also at 9pm.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Poetry Collection

I am very pleased to see that the long-awaited Carcanet Press edition of The CollectedPoems of Mervyn Peake will be published in June this year, so just in time for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, the following month. (For more information about Ledbury, see under Talks.)
Brilliantly edited by Rob Maslen, the book will also include all known drawings Mervyn Peake produced to accompany various poems written over the years.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Shapes and Sounds

Sold very recently by Bloomsbury Auctions, this previously unknown drawing was produced though not used for Shapes and Sounds, a collection of poems published in 1941 by Chatto & Windus. It was brought to our attention by a fan of Mervyn Peake's work who noticed that it was coming up for auction.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Times 50 Best Authors - more

The Times follows up last week's 50 Greatest Novelists list with a photograph and a small piece entitled:


"If Peake's sole achievement was his Gormenghast trilogy (1946-59), the novelist would still be worth commemorating. But aside from producing these works of surreal imagination and wit, the man born in China to missionary parents in 1911 was an acclaimed poet and artist and, after serving with the Army in the Second World War, was among the first civilians to sketch the horrors of the concentration camps. Parkinson's disease cut short his career and he died aged 57."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Times 50 Best Authors

In a list just published of the 50 best authors published since 1945 The Times of London includes Mervyn Peake. Among other well-known novelists on the list is Anthony Burgess who enthused, after reading the novels . .'it is, (Gormenghast) if you like, a rich wine of fancy chilled by the intellect to just the right temperature. There is no really close relative to it in all our prose literature. It is uniquely brilliant, and we are right to call it a modern classic'.

This is how The Times describes Peake:
The fantastical English Bildungsroman with crossover appeal is nothing new: long before Harry and Hogwarts, Peake gave us Titus Groan and Gormenghast. He also gave us paintings, illustrations (including of Alice in Wonderland) poems, plays and photographs. Peake grew up in China, and Beijing’s stone bestiary and the Yangtze’s hidden gorges are as much progenitors of Gormenghast as Arundel Castle, in whose shadow he lived, and his life-changing experiences as a war artist at Belsen. The story of Gormenghast, that impossible, ritualised castle, was to have been the beginning of a much longer series, but Parkinson’s disease denied it to us. Peake’s legacy lives on not only in the Parkinson’s Society’s Mervyn Peake Award, but in his grandson, the rising musical star Jack Peñate, equally at home as an illustrator and writer.