Monday, January 30, 2012

Congratulations to Brian Sibley

At the 2011 BBC Radio Awards ceremony, held this evening, 29th January, Brian Sibley's wonderful adaptation, The History of Titus Groan was voted the winner.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Michael Wood in The London Review of Books

In the current edition of The London Review of Books, Michael Wood reviews several new editions which have appeared recently. These include The Illustrated Gormenghast, Peake's Progress, A Book of Nonsense and others. The reviewer seems particularly struck by Boy in Darkness which he sees as anticipating much of what will be later inhabit the world of Gormenghast.

'Although the boy (in the story) is not named', Wood writes, 'it is normally assumed to be Titus Groan because he has run away from a castle, the site of much senseless and ancient ritual'. In a highly perceptive article, Wood brings the disparate artistic canvas that is now accepted as the wider art of Mervyn Peake, into as near to homogeneity as is possible in a review of three thousand words. In his section of my mother's Titus Awakes; not so much 'a continuation' more a homage to both the eponymous magnum opus and the man she loved, Wood writes glowingly and with real insight. 'A childhood in Gormenghast will render a person incapable of distinguishing freedom from anarchy. This is precisely what (Gilmore) captures so well in Titus Awakes.'

A L Kennedy in The Scotman

In Writer's Choice, a subsection of the books page of the The Scotsman, A L Kennedy suggests that '(Peake) brings together all his comic, fantastic and nonsensical verse. The pieces are full of a fastidious author's joy in the sheer music of language, shot through with the sensitivity, melancholy and savage realism that sings in all his work...'

Poems by Fabian Peake

Poetry online written by Fabian Peake sees the modern world very much from a painter's point of view, as the accompanying text makes clear. Following in his father's footsteps, Fabian articulates the inarticulate brilliantly, while he takes the reader on a visual journey through a maze of mirages that make up our lives.

From Five poems over five days (23–27 January 2012) courtesy of Akerman Daly

That Light
it took time for the green

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Swiss edition of Captain Slaughterboard

From the influential French literature review, Le Telegramme, high praise for the Swiss edition of Captain Slaughterboard

À tous les petits (et nombreux!) amateurs d'aventures de pirates, les éditions La Joie de Lire offre l'occasion de découvrir l'oeuvre de l'Anglais Mervyn Peake (1911-1968): «Capitaine Massacrabord». Un récit fantaisiste qui fait défiler une galerie de personnages plus ou moins terrifiants mais toujours farfelus, fidèle aux contes absurdes qu'affectionnait l'illustrateur. C'est aussi l'histoire d'une rencontre avec l'inconnu, d'un exemple d'ouverture à l'autre, de partage et finalement, sous un voile d'étrange, une belle histoire d'amour.

Mervyn Peake, éditions La Joie de Lire. Dès 6 ans. 56 pages. 17 €.

* Catherine Richard

The British Library, two new publications

The British Library has just published two extremely attractive books, in December 2011 and January 2012.

The first, entitled, Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance, invites the reader into an intimate realm, reminding us of the importance of the written word. From pre-Roman times to the 1970's, numerous examples make for fascinating reading. The letter included in the collection written by my father to my mother in the early 1940's is accompanied by a beautiful frieze at the bottom of the last page, which depicts various horses. On the front cover of the book is his angelic little archer who has just released an arrow from its bow. This arrives at the very epicentre of the aim a heart-shaped target, shown beneath the text on the back cover of this lovely book.

In the forward to the second book, a beautifully-produced edition of Grimm's Household Tales, the writer Sarah Waters tells of how she first came across this famous collection of short stories in 1977. 'I knew them through sanitised re-tellings', she writes, 'but this edition (with my father's illustrations) was something altogether different. For me the Grimms' tales will always be at their best when accompanied by the pictures of Mervyn Peake. It's wonderful to see them brought together again in this glorious edition'. The front cover itself, attracting the viewer by the ravishing beauty of Snow White, voluminous hair spreading out across her shoulders, and her tiny, white, and delicate hand resting on the small branch of a tree, is enough to turn both heads and the pages of this alluring book.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Three nominations for BBC Awards

In being nominated for not one, two, but three categories in the BBC's first ever annual Audio awards, Brian Sibley's brilliant adaptation The History of Titus Groan, has surely been recognised. I mean, for a start how does one take four books and make them into a unforgettable series? it is certainly beyond me. If Brian wins in even one of the three to be announced on 29th January then all Mervyn Peake fans should shout aloud from the rooftops. The CD's are available online, via Amazon or direct from the BBC itself. Well done Brian.

More details of the nominations on Brian's own blog.

Complete Nonsense, in The Scotsman

Over Christmas, Mervyn Peake's Complete Nonsense was chosen as a 2011 Writer's Choice in The Scotsman by the novelist A L Kennedy.

Fish or Fowl

Fish or fowl, it's all the same
To me, all's one - and two
And three
For I am now
Proclaimed and sworn
The sorriest cow
Of Capricorn

My scales are pink
My eyes are black
My feathers flutter
Down my back -
The firelight fails
To comfort me
All's one - all's two
And sometimes

(After 1957)

Complete Nonsense is available from Amazon.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The History of Titus Groan

From the TV and radio blog in The Guardian of 30th December 2011

"... this six-hour adaptation of Mervyn Peake's book matched and even embellished the brilliant, strange original. Luke Treadaway was just right as Titus; Peter Ringrose's ingenious sound production brought Peake's dazzling vision to life on radio."