Congratulations to Kathleen Jamie, who has just won the Poetry Costa 2012 for The Overhaul, described by the Costa judges as ‘the collection that will convert you to poetry’. We wish it all luck for the Costa Book of the Year Award on 29th January. Kathleen publishes her non fiction with Sort Of – most recently her book Sightlines.
A new documentary, Moominland Tales: The Life of Tove Jansson, directed by Eleanor Yule, was broadcast on BBC Four on Boxing Day. The film spanned the life of Tove Jansson, showing how her parents were the models for Moominmama and the melancholic Moominpapa, following her career in fine art and satirical illustration during the Second World War to the creation of the Moomins, and then her turn to adult fiction. It includes footage from several of the 8mm home movies shot by Tove’s long-term partner, Tuulikki Pietilä, with whom she lived on her ‘summer island’ in the Gulf of FInland. The film has several more screenings due and will then be available on the BBC iPlayer. See the BBC page for details (and a clip from the film).
For the first time, UK fans can buy the original Moomin story; The Moomins and Great Flood, in a stunning deluxe edition. See how Moomintroll and Moominmamma evolve from tiny long-snouted creatures to the hippopotamus-like beings known and loved throughout the world. See how their character – calm, philosophical, inclusive – was set from the start. And meet Moomins’s first ever friend, a prototype Sniff!
To celebrate Midsummer’s Day we are offering the very first Moomin app at half price, Only for one day – June 20th 2012. ‘Like’ and post a review on the MoominBooks Facebook site and you could win one of ten Moomin mugs to help you celebrate.
The first ever Moomins app has been launched by Sort Of Books, in association with Finnish developers, Spinfy. The app is a beautifully simple adaptation of Tove Jansson’s original picture book, The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My. Jansson wrote and designed the book in 1952, using cut-outs on each page to guide the reader through the story – Moomin’s journey through the forest. The approach works perfectly as a structure for the app and young children will delight in reading it over and over. Or listening over and over, as the app is also a talking book, with the story read by actor and long-term Moomin fan, Sam West. The app is available through the Apple app store and can be used on any iPad, iPhone or iTouch. It will, we hope, soon be available for other platforms.
The first reviews are in for Kathleen Jamie’s new book, Sightlines – and they surpass even the enthusiasm for her previous book, Findings. Here is a selection:
The Literary Review: Diana Athill
“A profoundly satisfying book. It is not often that the prose of a poet is as powerful as her verse, but Jamie’s is. There are people uninterested in books about remote places and wild creatures; but to the rest of us Sightlines will be a treasure.”
The Sunday Times: Helen Davies
“Immensely beguiling . . . The richness of her observations creeps up on the reader. There are piquant descriptions that stop you in your tracks but the real power of the writing derives from the steady increment of detail and the honesty of her responses to the natural world.”
The Sunday Telegraph: Philip Hoare
“Kathleen Jamie, the Scottish poet, has written a book that transcends the defitnition of nature study … Sightlines is a work of intense purity and quiet genius and we’re lucky to have it.”
The Saturday Telegraph: Adam Nicholson
“Written in a way that nature-and-travel books are rarely written; coming to moments of poetic precision and acuity, but always set in a frame of ordinariness; repeatedly able, as she says of herself, to relish “the sense of carefully revealing something authentic . . . The whole book is an experiment in honesty.”
The Scotsman: Stuart Kelly
“Exquisite . . . There is such a precision, of both thinking and seeing, displayed in these works that you would have to be a very obtuse kind of reader not to realise that Jamie is a poet.”
Eve’s Alexandria (blog)
What a wonderful writer she is, whether the subject is Artic tourism or gannet colonies or the special February light that heralds spring. I can’t get enough of her reflective, poetic style; poetic but still muscular and toned, not whimsical at all. ”
“Sightlines is an act of seeing: not just of observation, of looking and noticing – though Jamie is an accomplished noticer – but of intellectual and imaginative seeing, of chasing down connections, teasing out similarities and slowly, patiently, allowing each subject to come into view. To call it ‘nature writing’ is to tell only part of the story; these are meditations on the world and our place in it: on what we’ve done, who we’ve been and where we can go from here.
In Findings and Sightlines Kathleen Jamie has carved out a niche that’s both deeply personal and broadly philosophical, in prose that seems to move naturally from sparse to lyrical and back. These essays ask the big questions quietly, and are all the more powerful for it.
Jasper Winn is on the road again, talking about his book, Paddle, about kayaking around Ireland in the worst summer in living memory (see below for a nice video clip of him meeting a shark). He will promoting ‘Slow Adventure’ at Stuckeridge Literary and Music Festival, Devon, on 24 March. Then on home ground at Dingle’s Féile Na Bealtaine arts festival (3–6 May), and West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry on 11th July, where he will be joined by fellow Sort Of author, Chris Stewart.
The Guardian has selected Kathleen Jamie as their featured author for ‘My Life in Writing’ on Easter Saturday – and The Observer will be serialising her new book, Sightlines, the following day. She will also be appearing on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour on April 11th. Sightlines has been selected by Waterstones as their ‘Book of the Month’ in Scotland.