[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
His Dark Materials fans who visit Oxford’s Botanic Garden can now enjoy an audio guide from author Phillip Pullman. The Garden has special importance to fans of the series due its role in the heartbreaking conclusion of The Amber Spyglass. As a result, Pullman has been asked to record part of a voice guide for the garden, in which he talks about its significance to Will and Lyra, in particular a bench which plays a key role in the young couple’s story. Pullman told the Oxford Mail that he thought the audio guide was a great idea, and that he was particularly keen to contribute due to ‘the bench’, as it is known to fans: “It’s a nice bench in a very nice place – the Botanic Garden is such a lovely thing to have in Oxford.” Pullman also offered a brief update on the much-anticipated His Dark Materials companion work The Book of Dust, insisting that it was proceeding well and would be finished just as soon as: “I write the words: ‘the end’”.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman is set to speak at a a day conference for library user groups in October, hosted by The Library Campaign in association with Voices for the Library.

The day will be “a chance for users to compare notes, find out more about the issues confronting them and produce some proposals for future action both locally and nationally”; according to organisers.

The event will at the University of London Union on Malet Street, London. Registration is £15. (email:librarycam@aol.com).


[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Last month, we gave YOU a chance to put your questions to Philip Pullman! We got so many questions in, and below are the few that we liked the best, along with Pullman’s answers. Congratulations if your question was asked!

When you were writing His Dark Materials, did you randomly take objects from your environment and make them meaningful, or did you take places that meant something and make them stand out? I have tried to write a novel myself and it just sounded incredibly stilted. - Craig

PP: I don’t think there was anything random about it. Either I chose things because they were meaningful already (such as Iorek Byrnison’s name – it had to be Nordic, of course) or things that just appeared to me turned out to be full of meaningful connections later one (such as the idea of dæmons).

As for finding your writing stilted, don’t worry about that. Just keep going. Your own style will develop the more you write.

Do you have extensive experience in dealing with adolescents/ teens? The ability to connect with that age group is singular and really only found in the best authors. Do you use your own children/ grandchildren as a model or do you actually drop back into that feeling yourself? - Craig

PP: I did teach children of Lyra’s age for twelve years, so I suppose I was familiar with the sort of thing they were interested in. it’s not so easy using your own children for that sort of research, because they grow up so quickly. Teaching is better, because every year there’s a new lot of twelve-year-olds or whatever. And there’s my own memory, which as I grow older becomes more and more important to me.

Why is the name of Lyra’s dæmon “Pantalaimon”? I know, that “Pan” means “all” in greek and “Eleimon” means “merciful”. So is it correct, that the name should be “Allways merciful” – if so, why? It doesn’t seem to me, that Pan is more merciful than the others. Or is it just because you liked the name of St. Panteleimon? – Alex

PP: I didn’t know anything about St Pantaleimon. I just knew that that would be his name. I suppose I just liked the sound of it. Perhaps that’s one of those things that turn out to be meaningful later on (like the answer to the question above).

Clearly parents name a child, but who names the child’s daemon? – Lincoln

PP: The parents’ dæmons, of course.

Exeter College in Oxford is the basis for Jordan College, in Lyra’s Oxford. Exeter has its own logo, does Jordan College have its own logo/coat of arms? If not, what would you consider its logo should represent? – nanaki

PP: Well, firstly, it wouldn’t be called a logo. It would be a coat of arms. If I had to design a coat of arms for Jordan College, I suppose one element of it might be a representation of a river (for the river Jordan). Then I’d have to think about who founded the college, and when, and in what circumstances, and work out how to represent those things, if they were important.

Do you watch Doctor Who, and if so how would you go about writing an episode for it? – Peter

PP: I do sometimes, but I don’t know enough about it to write an episode. Anyway I prefer to work with my own characters than with someone else’s.

Are there any plans for an adaptation of The Tiger in the Well? – Ronni

PP: Not at the moment. There was a script that someone wrote to follow the BBC productions of The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, but I wasn’t happy with it. Nor did I like the first two enough to be very keen to see them do a third. All in all, I was disappointed. But there we are.

Stay tuned for our October contest, coming soon!

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Pullman is the guest this week on the BBC’s “Five Minutes With” show. In the video he speaks about the importance of storytelling, whether he believes in God, why he doesn’t think about his audience and his favourite book.
[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Smart Pop Books is running a series of essays, 'Navigating the Golden Compass', on all aspects of Philip Pullman's trilogy. The latest, 'Dismembered Starlings and Neutered Minds' by Naomi Wood, looks at Pullman's treatment of notions of innocence and experience, especially as these concepts relate to our understanding of childhood.

In The Golden Compass, Pullman subverts our notions of innocence by first showing children’s innocence not as guiltless, but rather as uncouth, even feral—as the absence of knowledge and of culture rather than the presence of purity, love, or virtue. Lyra, the spirited heroine, is described initially as “a coarse and greedy little savage,” a “half-wild cat.” [...] And although adults may see children’s play as “pleasant,” “innocent and charming,” children are actually just as political as their elders: Lyra is part of a “rich seething stew of alliances and enmities and feuds and treaties”; as leader of her own gang of children affiliated with Jordan College, she leads the others in “deadly warfare,” delighting in physical combat and tactical victories. In her leadership ability, her physical courage, and her rhetorical power, Lyra possesses the same qualities as her parents, Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter, and has similar power to influence the people around her for good and ill. Being a child makes her no more inherently moral or immoral than any of the other individuals in the series.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman has signed a call for a ‘public jury’ in Britain, which would take away the power from the ‘feral’ elite who seem to run the country. The call blames three significant crises of recent times - the MPs’ expenses, the bankers’ bonuses and the phone hacking scandal – on politicians, bankers and media moguls, who, left to their own devices, “could not regulate themselves.”

The group, whose signatories include Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, says that 1,000 citizens should be selected at random to sit on a public jury that will propose reforms to banking, politics. The jury, to be funded from the public purse, would examine:

* Media ownership.
* The financial sector’s role in the crash.
* MP selections and accountability.
* Policing and public interest.
* How to apply a “public interest first” test more generally to British political and corporate life.

To support the call for a People’s Jury for the British Public Interest go to www.compassonline.org.uk


[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman will be speaking at an event to raise funds for the Libraries of Brent, North London, on Wednesday the 20th of July. He will be reading from The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, talking to novelist Maggie McGee and answering questions from the audience.

The event will be at 7pm at the Queen’s Park Community School hall and tickets are £10 and can be found at the following:

* The Lexi Cinema, Chamberlayne Road, NW10
* Queens Park Books, 87 Salusbury Road, NW6 (tel. 0207 625 1008)
* L’Angolos deli, College Rd, NW10

For more information, go here.
[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
The London Literature Festival was opened on Thursday the 30th of June, by Philip Pullman. He spoke about his early life, his love of public libraries (calling them ‘a fantastic treasure chest‘), and his thoughts on current politics. He also spoke about his newest work, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

He said a few things sraffies would find surprising, such as his dislike for fantasy as a genre. “I realised that His Dark Materials would have to be fantasy – realised with a heavy heart, because I don’t really like fantasy.”

On the subject of storytelling and how long it can take, he said, “time spent telling a great story is never time wasted.“

But Pullman reveals he never writes a first draft when he sets about telling his stories: “I never write first drafts: I write the last draft fourteen times.”

To listen to his hour-long speech, go here. You can read more about his opening speech at the Festival’s official blog, here.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman will be launching the London Literature Festival this year, on Thursday the 30th of June. The festival, which will be running for two weeks until the 14th of July, will feature other famous faces such as Alan Hollinghurst, Iain Sinclair, Liz Lochhead, Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Zaha Hadid and many others.

At his event at the festival, Pullman will be reading from and discussing some of his novels, including his newest work, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. Ticket prices range from £10 to £14 and are available to purchase here.


[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman was given an award for services to Humanism at the British Humanist Association’s annual conference in Manchester on Saturday. He has been a long-time supporter of the BHA.

Since the publication of His Dark Materials, Pullman has become known as a public commentator on religion, education and literature. He was chosen by The Independent for its ‘Good List 2006′ of ’50 campaigners, thinkers and givers’.


[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman has contributed to this week’s issue of The New Statesman, a British political and cultural magazine. It is guest-edited this week by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Pullman will, in this issue, be explaining why he is a ‘Church of England atheist’.

Other contributors this week include, Terry Eagleton on secularism, Richard Curtis on the scourge of malaria; and Victoria Coren on the question of faith versus poker.

The issue, cover-dated 13 June, will go on sale in London on Thursday 9 June and in the rest of the country from Friday 10 June. International buyers can obtain copies through their website.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman is one of the fifty-nine finalists selected for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards, which is the highest international recognition a writer or illustrator of children’s books can be awarded. Other finalists include Peter Sís, Chris Raschka, John Burningham, and Paul Fleischman.

The award is presented every two years by the International Board on Books for Young People and has existed since 1956 (1966 for illustrators.)

The chair of the International Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury, Maria Jesus Gil and Jury members from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, France, Greece, Iran, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States will meet on the 10th and 11th of March, 2012. The winners will be announced on the 19th of March, 2012 at the IBBY Press Conference at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Click here for more information on the Hans Christian Andersen Awards.


[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman will be appearing at HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, in Hay-on-Wye on Sunday the 5th of June. The festival brings together over 200 philosophers, writers, musicians, politicians, artists and commentators for ten days of rigorous debate, incisive solo talks, film screenings, live performance, and late-night parties.

The Great Escape – Sunday 5th June 2011 – 4pm

From Narnia to Ankh-Morpork to Hogwarts, our exposure to the fantastical is soaring to new heights. Is fantasy simply an escape from a hostile world or a triumphant way of dealing with the realities of every day? Award-winning novelists Gwyneth Jones and Philip Pullman, stage and screen actress Emilia Fox and film director Mike Figgis join Andrew Copson for a journey beyond reality. In association with the British Humanist Association.

Advance price tickets cost £6.00, Full Price tickets are £10.00. To find out more about the festival, go here. If you’re planning on attending, let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Last Friday, Philip Pullman opened an outdoor learning centre at an Oxford Primary school. The garden was designed and made by BA (Hons) Furniture: Design & Craft students at Buckinghamshire New University, volunteers and artists; and was once just an unnused stretch of land by the school’s bike shed.

Andrew Shenton, Senior Lecturer of Furniture at BNU, said about the project: “The garden is a unique environment where children can walk along different paths and use question posts and other outdoor learning materials, like sentence builders, character blocks and drawing walls, to help develop their ideas. [...] Each phase of the process is represented by question and character posts, sentence builders and drawing walls. It is an exciting project which the students have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in and which will provide enjoyment and wonder for generations to come.”

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman has made it onto the finalist list of the Man Booker International Prize. The list was presented at a press conference at the University of Sydney on the 30th of March.

The judges of this year’s Man Booker International are, writer, academic and rare-book dealer Dr. Rick Gekoski, publisher, writer and critic Carmen Callil, and award-winning novelist Justin Cartwright.

When he announced the list, the judges’ chair Dr. Gekoski said, “The 2011 List of Finalists honours thirteen great writers from around the world. It is, we think, diverse, fresh and thought-provoking, and serves to remind us anew of the importance of fiction in defining both ourselves and the world in which we live. Each of these writers is a delight, and any of them would make a worthy winner.”

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman is set to be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival event alongside HRH the Princess Royal, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Eoin Colfer. The festival will run from Saturday the 2nd till Sunday the 8th of April.

Pullman’s event, about the construction of an author’s voice in fiction and poetry, will be at 10 AM on Saturday the 2nd of April. Tickets are £10 each and are available to buy here.

If you’re attending this event – please let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
Philip Pullman has revealed to BridgeToTheStars his new project: a retelling of some of the tales of the Brothers Grimm. “This isn’t a book for children only,” he shared with us. “I’m telling the best of the tales in my own voice, and I’m finding it a great purifier of narrative thinking, rather as a pianist relishes playing Bach’s preludes and fugues as a sort of palate-cleansing discipline.”

In the past Pullman has mentioned the Grimm’s Fairy Tales as one of the books that have made the most difference to his life.

[identity profile] thelxiepia.livejournal.com
Tonight is World Book Night, and last night’s even in Trafalgar Square was a rousing success. Philip Pullman was one of many authors, actors and musicians who attended the event. He read out a passage from Northern Lights/The Golden Compass, which co-webmistress Jaya recorded.

In an interview he gave to the BBC, he described the event as a “wonderful idea.”

And good news for Canadian Sraffies! At the event, Margaret Atwood said that she hoped a similar event would be held in Toronto next year, providing there’s enough interest in it.
[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
To celebrate the Guardian’s new children’s books website, Philip Pullman answered some questions asked by his fans. He spoke about his atheism, his books, his influences, and he gave some advice to aspiring writers. To read the full interview, click here.

[identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
The first World Book Night is taking place this year, on the 5th of March. One million books are being given away for free across the UK and Ireland by book-loving members of the public. With 40,000 copies of Northern Lights being distributed, we hope to have a lot of new readers to the trilogy. It would be great if we could tell them about Bridge To The Stars.

So how can you help support BttS?

If you’re a giver
If you’re giving out Northern Lights, we’d love to hear from you! You could help us by spreading the word about BridgeToTheStars.net – whether it’s telling people about us, or by putting our web address onto a slip of paper inside the books you’re giving. We’d love to hear about your World Book Night experiences, and why you chose Northern Lights to give out.

For everyone else
Even if you’re not a giver, you can still do the above if you find someone giving out Northern Lights! Just because you’re not giving doesn’t mean you can’t attend one of the many World Book Night events being hosted all over the UK and Ireland, so find out if one is happening near you. The biggest will be happening in London on Friday the 4th of March, which Philip Pullman will be attending, and there are 5000 spaces up for grabs for anyone who turns up (doors open at 5pm). [livejournal.com profile] angelofboox will be attending, so I hope to see some of you there!

You can discuss World Book Night on our forum here.


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