It’s out on October 9th! Have a peek at the book page here.
Focus on a planet revolving in space:
Focus in on a small country in the northern hemisphere – Great Britain.
Closer, closer… and on the western edge of London you can see the county of Buckinghamshire. Small villages and winding country roads.
And if you could go back in time to the mid 1960s, you might spot a young lad on a motorbike coming down one such lane, notebook and pen in his jacket pocket.
Read the full story over on Guardian Books.
Tickets can be bought from the Southbank Centre box office.
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It is a collaboration which has fantasy and sci-fi fans salivating – and here is a picture of the amazing cast preparing to dramatise Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 novel Good Omens.
Adapted for Radio 4 by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy director Dirk Maggs, how many of the star-studded cast in this picture of the read-through can you spot?
There is a lot to choose from with Mark Heap, Patterson Joseph, Peter Serafinowicz, Colin Morgan, Clive Russell, and Phil Davis all featuring in the six part series, plus Louise Brealey and the novel’s writer Terry Pratchett who are both absent from this first photo.
Read the full story over on Radio Times’ website.
BBC Radio 4 has today confirmed that the station will be collaborating with acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to create the first ever dramatisation of their co-penned cult-classic, Good Omens.
The audio drama, which begins recording today in a secret London location, has a cast including Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Fall) as Newton Pulsifer, Josie Lawrence (Skins, EastEnders) as Agnes Nutter and Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Green Wing) as Famine, as well as a host of delightful cameos, from the Gardeners’ Question Time team to Neil and Terry themselves. Other cameos are set to delight listeners, but they are under wraps for now. Probably in a dusty occult bookshop in Covent Garden, but no one is quite sure.
Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing, Stardust) and Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Shaun Of The Dead) will be taking the central roles as angel and demon, Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively. The star-studded cast will also include Clive Russell (Game Of Thrones, Ripper Street), Julia Deakin (Spaced, Hot Fuzz), Louise Brealey (Sherlock), Simon Jones (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy), Arsher Ali (Four Lions, Complicit, Beaver Falls), Phil Davis (Silk, Whitechapel, Being Human) and Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Land Girls) to name but a few.
According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Just after Any Answers on Radio 4.
Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. Atlantis is rising, fish are falling from the sky, the Four Horsepersons are assembling; everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan.
Everything that is, but for the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who are not all that keen on the prospect of the forthcoming Rapture. In fact the prospect of Armageddon is all really rather inconvenient for them actually. But if they are to stop it taking place they’ve got to find and kill the one who will bring about the Apocalypse: the Antichrist himself. There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him.
Released in 1990 and listed among the BBC’s Big Read Nation’s 100 favourite books, incredibly Good Omens has never been dramatised – until now.
The team behind Radio 4 and 4 Extra’s Neverwhere – which received a phenomenal critical and audience response last year – has reunited for this special six-part dramatisation of Good Omens. With Dirk Maggs, best known for Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, once again back in the director’s and adaptor’s chair, joined by producer Heather Larmour and ably assisted by Neil Gaiman. Neverwhere starred James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Natalie Dormer and Sir Christopher Lee, to name but a few of the illustrious cast.
Fans will have to wait excitedly to hear the final drama as it is currently scheduled to air in December. It will broadcast across a week in five half-hour episodes and culminate in an hour-long final apocalyptic showdown, on a Saturday, shortly before Woman’s Hour, should the world not actually end.
Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4, says: “I’m delighted to have Neil Gaiman back on Radio 4 – and this time with Terry Pratchett. I can’t wait to hear what they will do with the Apocalypse. The Radio 4 audience loved Neverwhere and Good Omens will be a splendid Christmas treat.”
Listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top 10 living postmodern writers, Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Stardust, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, the ‘Sandman’ comics) has a huge following, even guesting on an episode of The Simpsons. His episode of Doctor Who was one of the most highly anticipated of recent years and he has nearly two million followers on Twitter.
Sir Terry Pratchett is best known for his epic comic fantasy Discworld series. Since his first Discworld novel (The Colour of Magic) was published in 1983, he has written two books a year on average. His 2011 Discworld novel, Snuff, was at the time of its release, the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-audience novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days.
Read the full story over on BBC Radio 4′s Media Centre.
Sell us on your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer.
G. K. Chesterton. These days recognized — that is if he is recognized at all — as the man who wrote the Father Brown stories. My grandmother actually knew him quite well and pointed out that she herself lived on Chesterton Green in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, here in the U.K. And the man was so well venerated that on one memorable occasion, he was late in sending a piece to The Strand Magazine and a railway train actually waited at the local station until Mr. Chesterton had finished writing his piece. When she told me that, I thought, Blimey, now that is celebrity.
Who are your favorite fantasy novelists?
O.K., I give in. J. R. R. Tolkien. I wrote a letter to him once and got a very nice reply. Just think how busy he would have been, and yet he took the time out to write to a fan.
What makes for a good fantasy novel?
The kind that isn’t fantastic. It’s just creating a new reality. Really, a good fantasy is just a mirror of our own world, but one whose reflection is subtly distorted.
Which books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Right now I am looking at a very good book called “Feeding Nelson’s Navy,” having just browsed through another on the usage of arsenic through the ages. Mostly, my shelves are full of nonfiction with interesting titles such as “The World of Snot.” A writer never knows where he’s going to find those little gems.
What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?
I barely read a book for pleasure when I was at junior school and got into reading only because my mother promised me a penny for every page I read to her properly. That cost her some money in the beginning, and then I found a book called “The Wind in the Willows,” by Kenneth Grahame, and I just exploded. There were rats and moles and badgers and they were all acting like humans, and I thought to myself, This is a lie, but what a fabulous lie! After that I scoured the local library and read everything. I even got myself a part-time job there so I could legitimately have multiple library cards.
Whom would you consider your literary heroes?
I would have to say that Mark Twain is up there with the gods and probably cursing it. “Life on the Mississippi” blew my mind. And, of course, reading him meant that I got to read “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” I hope it’s still read and that people read the book he wanted people to see, because I know that some editions leave out the fact that the Yankee boy killed most of the famous Knights of the Round Table using electricity. Now that is fantasy.
Which novels have had the most impact on you as a writer? Is there a particular book that made you want to write?
It has to be “The Wind in the Willows.” It fascinated me. He had toads living in great country houses and badgers and moles acting like British gentlemen. I read the pages so often they fell apart, and God bless him for leaving in the pieces called “Wayfarers All” and “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” I am sorry to say that certain publishers, who really should know better, have produced editions with those pieces cut from that wonderful book, stating they were simply too heavy for children. I scream at stuff like that. After all, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” was a book written for children. A good book, no matter its intended audience, should get people reading, and that’s what started me writing. And once I started, I never stopped.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? And the prime minister?
Well, it would have to be “The Man Who Was Thursday.” It’s a damn good read that I believe should be read by everyone in politics.
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
Mark Twain, G. K. Chesterton and Neil Gaiman, because he’s a mate who knows how to order the most excellent sushi.
And if you could bring only three books to a desert island, which would you choose?
“Boatbuilding for Beginners,” “Poisonous Plants of the South Pacific” and a very good seafood cookery book.
What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Probably the first draft of the first one I ever wrote, but I think I’ve got better since then.
Read the full article on The New York Times.
The Great British Book Shop is proud to sponsor Paul’s bench, which depicts the orangutan Librarian character from Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and was commissioned as part of the Books about Town campaign by the National Literacy Trust, in association with Wild in Art.
The Great British Book Shop is excited to announce that Paul Kidby has kindly agreed to visit the Librarian BookBench for a signing event on Saturday 9th August 2014, between 11am and 3pm. Join us at the bench – which is located in a prominent spot on the Thames Riverbank overlooking HMS Belfast – for an opportunity to receive an exclusive signed print of the bench artwork, only available on the day. The Great British Book Shop team will be giving away 100 FREE copies at 11.30am and a further 100 at 1.30pm. Paul will also, time permitting, sign copies of books brought to the event.
Lisa Bass, Retail Manager of The Great British Book Shop, said:
‘We’re really looking forward to a day on the Riverside with Paul and his fans. We would like to thank Paul and More London Estates for making this event possible, and we’re delighted to be working with them and the National Literacy Trust on such a worthy and imaginative campaign.’
Drumroll please…… The book will be called: The Shepherd’s Crown!
More news will be published here as soon as we have it. In the meantime, have a look at I Shall Wear Midnight if you’d like to mentally prepare yourself.
The e-short, titled The Abominable Snowman, which will be published on 7th August and priced at £1.49, is about Captain the Honourable Sir Herbert Stephen Ernest Boring-Tristram-Boring (known to his friends as Bill). Sir Herbert is very bored but life gets more interesting when the famous explorer Amos Tence shows up at his front door and takes him of to the mountains of Chilistan to look for the abominable snowman.
The story is being published ahead of the September release of Dragons at Crumbling Castle (hardback, £12.99), Pratchett’s first collection of children’s short stories, illustrated by Mark Beech.
Kirsten Armstrong, fiction editor at RHCP UK, bought the world rights for Dragons… from Pratchett’s agent Colin Smythe, and said: “These stories are full of Pratchett’s trademark wit and imagination and will be adored by anyone aged eight to 108… they are a joy to read and share with young readers.”
A spokesperson said RHCP hopes the book will connect the author with younger audiences but confirmed there are no events with Pratchett planned.
Read the full story on The Bookseller’s website.
Preserving the ‘real’ orangutans
As part of our activities around the Librarian bench, we are really pleased to be supporting the Orangutan Foundation.
Until the 15th September 2014, by using the checkout code Discworld5, customers will activate a donation of 5% of the sale price of their order from The Great British Book Shop to the Orangutan Foundation, and receive 5% off the price of their order too. The code may be used as many times as customers wish, for the duration of the offer.
The Oranguatan Foundation is supported by Sir Terry Pratchett and works to conserve the threatened orangutan and its globally important habitat , the tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra.
Visit The Great British Book Shop’s website for more details.