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Philip Pullman one of the most acclaimed writers working today.
He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for Northern Lights (and the reader-voted ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’ for the best children’s book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honour of his body of work. The first volume of Philip Pullman’s long-awaited trilogy The Book of Dust, set in the same world as His Dark Materials, published in 2017, and the second volume followed in 2019.
Author photo © Michael Leckie portrait.
Very hard to believe that this is the 25th anniversary of Philip Pullman’s ground-breaking fantasy, now getting legions of new fans through the BBC adaptation. Northern Lights not only won the Carnegie medal, but in 2007 was voted by the public as the Carnegie of Carnegies to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the medals. Then The Amber Spyglass, part three of His Dark Materials trilogy, of which Northern Lights is of course the first part, became the first ever children’s book to win, what was then, the Whitbread book of the year and so this series has become firmly established in the canon of children’s literature and a new edition like this is indeed a publishing event. Chris Wormell illustrated the covers of the two Book of Dust titles which extend the trilogy and also a recent rejacketing of His Dark Materials and so is a natural choice to undertake this huge challenge. His distinctive style of wood engraving and lino cut and the dark, yet vivid colour palette he employs are perfectly suited to this familiar, yet fantastical world created by Pullman – who has said how much he admires the work. Ranging from decorative chapter headings to full colour and monochrome vignettes to full page bleeds to double page spreads, the breath-taking images add great characterisation and drama to the story, making the reading journey even more immersive. A shared reading with a generation approaching the story for the first time will be an unforgettable reading event in a classroom or family context. I sincerely hope the partnership will extend to the next books in the trilogy- what a collection that would be!
**Don't miss the second series of His Dark Materials on BBC One this November.** A brand new short story set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman. Serpentine is a perfect gift for every Pullman fan, new and old. 'Lyra Silvertongue, you're very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me everything about your exploits' Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of His Dark Materials far behind. In this snapshot of their forever-changed lives they return to the North to visit an old friend, where we will learn that things are not exactly as they seem . . . Illustrated throughout by Tom Duxbury, the perfect re-entry for fans of His Dark Materials and a wonderful companion to The Book of Dust.
December 2020 YA Book of the Month | Imparting wisdom from across two decades, Philip Pullman’s Dæmon Voices shares a generous banquet of thought-provoking insights into the art of story-telling and Pullman’s personal processes and passions. As the book’s editor, Simon Mason, writes in his introduction, Pullman is “interested in, above all, human nature, how we live and love and fight and betray and console one another. How we explain ourselves to ourselves,” and this all-encompassing ethos is reflected here, with essays covering everything from the responsibilities of the storyteller, how stories work, and authors’ intentions, to William Blake, Oliver Twist, and writing fantasy realistically. The tone is lively, ablaze with clear-sighted wit, no matter how complex the subject, with many pieces having been delivered at conferences. One of my personal favourites is “Let’s Write it in Red” which begins with an anecdote about a train journey during which the author witnessed children demonstrating the “two great principles of storytelling”. The first principle is that there are rules - among them stories must begin and have unity, and storytellers mustn’t be afraid of the obvious. Stories must have a destination too, and storytellers “must design the path so that it leads to the destination most surely, and with the maximum effect.” The second principle relates to form: “if the story is a path, then to follow it you have to ignore quite ruthlessly all the things that tempt you away from it. Your business as a storyteller is with the path, not the wood.” To these, Pullman adds a third - knowledge. Storytellers should “become more interested in your subject-matter than in the way you appear to others to be dealing with it.” With each of the 32 essays embodying these astute principles, Dæmon Voices is a trove of enlightenment, and entertaining to boot. Recommended for 16+ readers.
**Don't miss the second series of His Dark Materials on BBC One this November.** From the author of the phenomenal His Dark Materials comes the next chapter in the story of Lyra Silvertongue . . . Lyra is now studying at St Sophia's College, Oxford, with her daemon Pantalaimon. But, for the first time there are serious divisions between the two. Lyra is questioning everything she once held dear. Pan misses the impulsiveness of their youth. When an act of terrible violence breaks the peace of the Oxford night, Lyra and Pan's relationship reaches a crisis and they are drawn, far from home, into the dangerous factions of a world they had no idea existed. The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times; a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself and to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers. *Exclusive to the paperback edition, Chris Wormell's new original illustrations bring Lyra's world vividly to life.*
The second in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done.
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey. It is almost ten years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford's Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence. Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . . The second volume of Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right. Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost - a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust. The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times; a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself, to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers.
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | Author of the Year, British Book Awards 2018 | | More than two decades after Northern Lights the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages comes, La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in his 'The Book of Dust' series.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2018 | | Master story-teller Philip Pullman is as brilliantly creative in this gripping, multi-narrative graphic novel story as ever. In an adventure which both pays homage to the best-traditions of the past and dashes into the future so enabling it to give an interesting commentary on our own time, Pullman’s lively cast of characters travel through time and place. At the centre of the adventure is a mysterious ghost ship, the Mary Alice, crewed by men from all times including ancient Rome, the seventeenth century and the present. But someone in the present is desperate to get their hands on the boat and will stop at nothing to do so. When contemporary teenager Serena falls from the family yacht she is rescued by crew member John Blake. How can he evade the present day evil and return her safely to her family? Pullman’s brevity and storytelling power are superbly realised in Fred Fordham’s atmospheric and equally taut illustrations. With the sea at the heart of them all, they conjure up the different times and places of the several narratives and define the characters in them. The result is a delight of a book for readers of all ages.
Acclaimed author Philip Pullman turns his hand to a stunning and original story for younger readers. Who is Roger? He says he was a rat - and some of the time he behaves like a rat. But, he is also a small boy. Or, he could be the Monster of the sewers…Everyone has a view – including The Daily Scourge – who tells their own version in screaming newspaper headlines. There is just one person who really knows who Roger is. And she’s the princess…Cleverly, Pullman weaves together strands of story from different sources creating a fast-paced and multi-layered adventure.
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | November 2017 Book of the Month More than two decades after Northern Lights the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages comes, La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in his 'The Book of Dust' series. #BookofDust will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centres on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, dæmons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part. Since the ‘equel’ (as Pullman likes it to be known) to His Dark Materials was announced, fans around the globe have cheered the return of Lyra Belacqua, heroine of His Dark Materials. In a short film released by his publisher, Pullman revealed the ingredient for success behind His Dark Materials: Lyra’s ordinariness. He says: “When I wrote the first book of His Dark Materials - Northern Lights - I certainly didn't anticipate that so many people would find Lyra as interesting a character as I did.” “The thing about Lyra is that she's not a special child. She's not especially gifted or talented - she's a very ordinary child. When I was a teacher, I taught many girls who were like Lyra. They were brave, inquisitive, curious, disobedient: all those interesting things for storytellers. I think the reason that people have read this long and complicated story is because they're with Lyra. She doesn't know the things that are threatening her and she's in the same position as the reader, because the reader shares her sense of danger and excitement and curiosity about what's going to happen next. I hope the same thing will be true of Malcolm in La Belle Sauvage.” A Piece of Passion from Francesca Dow, Managing Director, Penguin Random House Children’s (UK): “La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One is a story for our time, with themes that resonate with our world today. It is a story for everybody: a much longed-for treat for established fans of His Dark Materials as they meet Lyra Belacqua again and the chance for new readers to step into the magical world of Philip Pullman for the first time. Pullman is a master storyteller, and Lyra has established herself firmly as one of the most-loved characters in literature, a worthy contemporary of the likes of Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series), Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games). In this book, she is joined by a new hero readers will love: an ordinary boy who steps up to the challenge of a lifetime.” Photo credit: Philip Pullman at a press conference held in Convocation House to launch his new novel La Belle Sauvage. © Ant Upton_Photocall Productions.
Graphic novel version of Pullman's His Dark Materials with stunning visual interpretation - will appeal to those who struggled with th length of Northern Lights.
June 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2017 Master story-teller Philip Pullman is as brilliantly creative in this gripping, multi-narrative graphic novel story as ever. In an adventure which both pays homage to the best-traditions of the past and dashes into the future so enabling it to give an interesting commentary on our own time, Pullman’s lively cast of characters travel through time and place. At the centre of the adventure is a mysterious ghost ship, the Mary Alice, crewed by men from all times including ancient Rome, the seventeenth century and the present. But someone in the present is desperate to get their hands on the boat and will stop at nothing to do so. When contemporary teenager Serena falls from the family yacht she is rescued by crew member John Blake. How can he evade the present day evil and return her safely to her family? Pullman’s brevity and storytelling power are superbly realised in Fred Fordham’s atmospheric and equally taut illustrations. With the sea at the heart of them all, they conjure up the different times and places of the several narratives and define the characters in them. The result is a delight of a book for readers of all ages. ~ Julia Eccleshare Philip Pullman says: “I wanted to do this because I love the comic form. You can do things in comics with great economy, swiftness, force and effect, and I just wanted to use those potentialities.” Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for June 2017 Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds by Horatio Clare Adventures of John Blake, The: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Ocean by Axel Scheffler Maisy Goes to the Bookshop by Lucy Cousins Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari Old Hat by Emily Gravett The Cow Who Fell to Earth by Nadia Shireen