Queen of the Compost

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

... and so it was that First Light was launched at the Oxford Literary Festival on Monday. As the storytellers say, I wish you all had been there: and yet, of course, you were, because without your support this extraordinary book would never have come into being. And it is an extraordinary book: yes, I'm the editor, but looking down the list of contributors, and seeing so many of them in the Weston Library in Oxford that evening, there's nothing else to say. How often will you get to have a chat with Philip Pullman, Rowan Williams, Helen Dunmore & Michael Wood in a single evening? Not often, I reckon. And look -- here's a very good blog about the event from Annabel's House of Books -- thanks, Annabel! As for the title of this blog? Well -- when Alan got up and spoke, he described his works as being like compost, made from this and that, bedding down, slowly, wonderfully, turning into something rich and deep. And so... I was crowned Queen of the Compost. And I blushed, I really did. Here's a picture of the moment!

It was truly joyous to be able to celebrate Alan in this way -- and Griselda, too, without whom, well, nothing! And also to celebrate The Blackden Trust -- it's thanks to TBT that Alan and Griselda's work will continue to broaden its reach while staying firmly rooted in Cheshire, for years and decades to come, even as his books continue to work their magic.

And it is magic -- that's what came across from all the contributors as I spoke to them, and from Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian, and Neel Mukherjee, when we discussed his work just before the party in a terrific event at the Festival. You all know the kind of magic I mean: the kind that real literature works. As Neel said, he felt that Alan's books had chosen him, and not the other way round... a perfect expression, I think, of what we all feel.

As for the books -- well, the trade copies I saw at the Festival looked beautiful: but you will get your copies in a few weeks, and they will be even lovelier, though that's hard to imagine. I can't wait for you to hold them in your hands. Let me know what you think when you do.

So once again, my friends -- a huge thank you. Hurrah for us. First Light is shining, now!


Get updates via email

Join 816 other awesome people who subscribe to new posts on this blog.


Annabel Gaskell
Annabel Gaskell says:

Thank you so much for linking to my blog post. It was a very special event, and I felt privileged to be there in such illustrious company.

April 08, 2016

Roz DeKett
Roz DeKett says:

Thanks for posting about this. I so wanted to be there but by the time I learned of the book and the different options, it was sold out. I can't wait to get my book (signed first edition).

April 08, 2016

Steven French
Steven French says:

Just wanted to say Thankyou, for posting, for organising, for everything!!!

April 08, 2016

Kieron Smith
Kieron Smith says:

Thanks for the update - I assume backers will receive their books before the trade titles are available?

April 09, 2016

Hazel McDowell
Hazel McDowell says:

Hello Erica, do you know when the guided walk will be happening?

April 21, 2016

Caitlin Harvey
Caitlin Harvey says:

HI Hazel,

We sent a save the date round a few months ago, but in case you missed it the guided walk will be taking place on Saturday 18th June.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community & Events Manager

April 21, 2016

Norman Goodman
Norman Goodman says:

Thanks, Erica. I am so looking forward to opening my copy. Thanks, too, for heading up the whole project. The launch sounds to have been a "Wow" ! Norman Goodman

April 22, 2016

Hazel McDowell
Hazel McDowell says:

Hello Caitlin, thank you for your reply confirming the date for the guided walk. Will I receive my tickets in the post or by email?
Best wishes, Hazel McDowell

May 01, 2016

Join in the conversation

Sign in to comment
Publication date: May 2017
127% funded
846 backers