23 March 2017

The Illustrated Wake

It's been 12 years since I used to send emails out telling folks what I was up to. In those days it was gigs and records, and even though I sometimes miss playing live, I am very happy not to be sticking flyers in the post every week. However, since it's been over a decade I thought blog readers would not mind me writing this post about my first book of drawings for a new edition of Paul Kingsnorth's award winning book 'The Wake'.

I discovered 'The Wake' a couple of years ago and it remains one of the best novels I have ever read. Set in what is now East Anglia, in 1066, it follows Buccmaster and his crew of green men in their attempts to resist the Normans. This is woven in amongst a deep flow of ancient myth and old ways, all rendered in Paul's incredible 'shadow tongue', which when read aloud feels so much like 'Old English' but is its own unique creation. Anyone with and interest in history, English, or a fantastic story would love it. Paul is now with Faber, and his last book 'Beast' is also really great. Over the last 2 years I became friends with the author and he commissioned me to illustrate his book. I have used materials found in 1066 and made everything from scratch: the paints, inks, quills and brushes, leading to an entirely new way of working. I hope you will like the results. You can see some of this recent work at my drawing website www.carolineross.co.uk, which I finally got round to uploading after putting it off for 5 years!

Paul and I are crowdfunding the book with the award-winning publisher, Unbound. They are all about putting power back into the hands of readers. And that means it's up to you to decide if 'The Illustrated Wake' gets to be published. By pledging, you pre-order a beautiful, deluxe cloth bound full-colour illustrated 400pp book (much nicer than the version that will be available in the shops), which you'll also receive much sooner than it reaches the stores. You'll get unique rewards and an insight into the writing, drawing and publishing processes as well. Mark Rylance will write the intro, as he has optioned the book for a film with him as Buccmaster, and has read from it at The Edinburgh Festival.

There are two things you can do to be part of it:

1.Visit the book's page https://unbound.com/books/the-illustrated-wake Check out the great video, which shows my shadow-making-basket of materials, as well as me explaining the project on my boat on The Thames, and please do make a pledge if you can. It really doesn't take long to do it. All supporters get their name published in the back of the book, too; a tribute to all the great folks that helped make this book possible. If you use the offer code maywake before the end of May you'll get £10 off the standard hardback edition.

2. As you know, I don't use social media, apart from this blog. But it would be great if you want to share the book link above on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, your own personal networks, and with anyone who you think might be interested in reading such a book – this really helps to spread the word. I'd be so grateful if you gave your support to help make this book a reality.

If it's not your thing, then no worries. Hope you're having a good day...

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