The Unwinding

By Jackie Morris

A beautiful new pillow book, from the Kate Greenaway Award winning author Jackie Morris.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Cover story; warning, contains mild jeopardy.

We are nearing the end of the design process for The Unwinding. I't 6 am now, and I have been awake since 5 am messaging Alison, who lives in Australia. 

Last week she sent me an email:

Hi Jackie,
I've just noticed on the cover image scan for The Unwinding of the woman in the red dress, that the scan appears to jump – there's an obscure line running through it which is an issue because I think it will be quite obvious on the cover...
Please can you have a look? Screen grab attached.
Do you have a different version of it where it's been scanned without the jump?
Thank you!


I looked, then looked again, and sure enough there is a jink in the file. Best seen towards the tips of the wren's wings.

Now, I have been away from home for almost three weeks now, but I brought my hard drives and hi res files with me. I searched them. Sure enough the file I have has the jink. Poor scanning. I'd never noticed it before. But this was the cover image! The one with the special hidden story. No time to rescan. No time to paint something like it again. And once you see it it's such an obvious error.


The only course of action.

So I panicked while Alison got on and fixed the jink with her skills as a designer.

Unbeknownst to me she was also having second thoughts on the type. 

So, this was the trade edition of The Unwinding. It looks very elegant. 

Then I get a message on Whatapp saying, 

"Just wondered what you think about this. Something hasn't been sitting quite right with me on the current version. Needed to get this out of my head."


What do I think? Well, I love the elegance of it. I love the thinking process behind it. I love that someone can make something so elegant, but still be bugged by how they can make it better, and despite having done the job required of them, take it that step further. I love the way it curls around the bear's ear. There's a tweak or two to ensure the trees in top right are visible again, but how very lovely.

And I love also the cover below, for the special subscriber edition. I love the peace of it, how it will blanket the book with its quiet dreaming. 


We've had an enquiry from an independent bookshop in USA who want to see if there's a way they can support the book and receive the early special editions. Point Reyes Books in California. Now, wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if that worked out.

And meanwhile Alison has also redesigned another cover for me, for this book that comes out in the autumn with Otter-Barry Books.

I love what she has done with this one too. Take a look at more of her work here. She's a wizard.

I'm still finding comfort in poetry. Absolutely blown away by The Mabinogi by Matthew Frances. I listened to him talk about the book, in conversation with Daniel Hahn at Hay on the Hay Festival Hay Player. It's an astonishing archive of the recordings of all the events at Hay. It costs £10 for a year for unlimited access. Loved hearing him read from this book. Trying to get hold of a hardback copy to draw in. There's such an elegance to the design of it. Hearing him talk of the sylables and structure of the writing is wonderful. I keep stopping to read parts aloud. Really hope some day to travel to Point Reyes and read the whole book aloud from start to finish in the bookshop, like a female version of the Ancient Mariner, but without the albatross death.

The photo above is from last week, when I met up with John who founded Unbound, in Jaffe and Neale in Chipping Norton. Patrick had ordered a copy of the book for me. I read the first page to them in the shop and they ordered more. It's a work of genius. 

I've been painting, tiny pictures.

And I received this little beauty in the post from Raynor Winn's publisher. This comes out in April I think. Wonderful cover again by Angela Harding. I did so love her book The Salt Path, a book about resilience, a long walk to personal freedom, being homeless, love, the Cornish coastpath and much more.

And I have been doodling in a copy of Spellsongs, for a fundraising musical project in Birmingham. Don't forget tickets are selling fast for Spellsongs April tour. I will be painting otters and witching foxes onto paper. The performance will be in the languages of paint, music, English, Gaelic, Welsh, Mandinka and Senegalese. But mostly music. It's soul food. So don't leave it too late to book. We sold out fast last time.

The copy below will be for sale at £250 on the Spellsongs crowdfunder page soon, but you could always email them if you don't want to miss it. It's the cd for Spellsongs, that comes in a package very like a book, luxurious sleeve notes that contain essages from me, the musicians, beautiful photos of the project, and the cd.

And while I have been writing this, Alison has been shifting things around on the cover. She's gone for supper now. It's late where she is. Time for her to have supper, put Max to bed with stories. I am going to get up, have coffee, enter the Mabinogi for half an hour before getting on with my day. 

Below is the new Unwinding cover. May your day be filled with birdsong and your dreams be peaceful enchantments.



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Alison Mold
 Alison Mold says:

I love your updates so fascinating and really looking forward to receiving my copy. Bless you for giving us beautiful worlds to rest in away from things as they are now. Keep well.

posted 26th February 2020

Charlotte Tefft
 Charlotte Tefft says:

My heart took a leap and my mouth became a smile with the mention of Point Reyes. I live fairly close by. It would be a magical tickle to meet you in such a magical place. Thank you and Alison for doing what you love!! And yes Roses have thorns.

posted 26th February 2020

Anne Plowright
 Anne Plowright says:

That g with the unwinding ribbon like ending is perfect! Cant wait for this book!

I read the Salt Path by Raynor Winn after you mentioned it, and how wonderful it was, looking forward to the new one.

Best wishes to all where you are now x

posted 26th February 2020

Jennie Orchard
 Jennie Orchard says:

What a wonderful blog, Jackie. There's so much here to get excited about. I also LOVE Alison's work and the fact that she goes the extra mile. I read 'The Salt Path' before I knew that you were such a fan - and I can't wait for the follow-up. I'm always excited by anything to do with 'The Lost Words' and 'Spell Songs' and only wish I could be in England at the right time for one of the concerts. And, above all, I am beyond excited that you have contributed an essay to 'The GIfts of Reading' and looking forward to being in touch with you again soon.

posted 26th February 2020

Sam Burns
 Sam Burns says:

Always such a joy to read your posts. It's as though I am talking with a friend and hearing about wonderful things that I should delve into. Thank you

posted 27th February 2020

Sue Hudson-Craufurd
 Sue Hudson-Craufurd says:

The book looks beautiful. I'm going to ask if our local bookshop in Portobello in Edinburgh would be interested in supporting it.

posted 27th February 2020

Susan Metcalfe
 Susan Metcalfe says:

If we'd only seen the original version we'd have been happy enough, but to see Alison's update is a real privilege, my she has a creative eye - feel the need to doodle some unwinding 'g's - thanks for sharing so much Jackie, brightening up such dark blinking times!

posted 27th February 2020

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