Friday, July 23, 2010

Parkinson's Talk in Chichester

On July 19th, sixty members of the Chichester Branch of Parkinson's UK braved the heat of one of the year's hottest days, to offer a generous welcome and, following the talk, an almost embarrassingly effusive vote of thanks for my hour-long illustrated lecture.

The last in a series of thirteen talks which began in February, The Life & Work has been given at branches right across the country and was not only one of the best in numbers, but the members attending radiated an almost tangible enthusiasm. In the moving words of the events secretary this showed that there 'was life after Parkinson's', referring to the range of work produced after my father's own diagnosis with the disease.

With the nearby Otter Gallery and magnificent Pallant House Gallery both due to mount exhibitions in the spring of 2011, it will not be a long journey for members of the Parkinson's branch to visit these Chichester galleries.

Joanne Harris in The Times

Writing in her regular My Hot Tickets column in The Times today, Joanne Harris suggests as her exhibition choice, Mervyn Peake's Alice, at the Western Bank Library, Sheffield University, showing until 29th September.

'I know the work is marvellous' she writes, 'because the prints line the staircase in my house'. 'Peake had such enormous versatility' she continues, 'his illustrations of his own poetry are so different from his pencil work for Treasure Island or Bleak House. His style is so distinctive'.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mervyn Peake Awards, 9th July 2010

In the spacious surroundings of Westminster Cathedral Hall the 9th Mervyn Peake Awards took place, attended by a large number of people who in several cases had travelled from many parts of the country.

Steve Ford, the chief executive, gave a warm welcome to the guests and speakers alike, and introduced Joanne Harris, the well-known novelist who had travelled from Yorkshire especially for the event.

Joanne spoke both eloquently and from the heart when she briefly outlined her life as a writer before, in fine voice, she read out to an attentive audience the winning poem, A Constant Boarding by Glynis Buckham.

A diploma was presented to Ann Galloway the only winner within the three categories able to attend, for her painting The Healing Stream while many others in the commended category received their diplomas from Joanne and Sebastian who stood with the recipients in front of one of the new Parkinson's banners to be photographed. Elizabeth Gabriel who won in the photography category for her American with Great Grandmother, was unable to travel up from the West Country, but her diploma will be presented later at a special ceremony.

At the rear of the hall the winning and commended entries in photography, poetry and art were displayed for all to see while the food provided was professionally served by the caterers who made sure everyone was happy and well provided for.

Mervyn Peake Awards

Friday, July 09, 2010

Titus Awakes - an audiobook

ISIS, the leading British audiobook company, have just announced that they will shortly be producing an unabridged, single voice adaptation of Titus Awakes. This will add to the current availability of the other three novels in the Titus series.

Nancy Mattoon on the Alice Exhibition

Nancy Mattoon of Booktryst writes in response to the current Sheffield University exhibition

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Opening of the Alice Exhibition in Sheffield

Organised within such a short space of time that one could hardly believe it, the Alice exhibition opened at the Western Bank Library Gallery at Sheffield University on Tuesday evening, 29th June. The curator of the show, Professor Vanessa Toulmin was instrumental in bringing about one of the most attractively displayed collections of the original illustrations ever mounted.

Safe within the latest ultra secure display cabinets, the original illustrations were lit by tiny, discreet lighting pods which highlighted the intricate cross hatching of the drawings, while a ceiling mounted projector above a display screen ran the Swiss-made biographical film which has proved so popular in both Switzerland and France recently. As in both the previous exhibitions, visitors were very moved by the beautiful film.

As well as other specially invited guests, those opening the show included Dr Jamie Andrews, (Head of Modern British Manuscripts at the British Library), Professor Keith Burnett (Vice chancellor of Sheffield University), the Curator Vanessa Toulmin and myself as representative of the Mervyn Peake Estate. It was a wonderful evening in which Alice cakes were served, an exotic performer read our Alice invitation cards and played tricks with playing cards that left the audience gasping. Pimms was served throughout. The exhibition was featured during the day on Radio Sheffield by a well known local presenter, while The Yorkshire Post and the Sheffield Star both ran extensive articles.