WALKING BOOK CLUB: Spring 2021
As we are still unable to gather to walk and talk in person, we thought we would make our first 'book club' of the year slightly different, so instead of one title we have curated a mini themed library of three...
To celebrate the Spring Equinox, we invited stained glass artist Tamsin Abbott to write a piece for our online journal. Her work is deeply rooted in folklore and literature, including many titles that she first encountered as a child, whose text and illustrations continue to influence her own unique artwork.
And so, our selection has been inspired by Tamsin, we hope you enjoy escaping within their pages. . .
The Owl Service by Alan Garner
The Mabinogi by Matthew Francis
The Secret Life of the Owl by John Lewis-Stempel
It all begins with the scratching in the ceiling. From the moment Alison discovers the dinner service in the attic, with its curious pattern of floral owls, a chain of events is set in progress that is to effect everybody's lives.
Relentlessly, Alison, her step-brother Roger and Welsh boy Gwyn are drawn into the replay of a tragic Welsh legend - a modern drama played out against a background of ancient jealousies. As the tension mounts, it becomes apparent that only by accepting and facing the situation can it be resolved.
First published in 1967, and inspired by The Mabinogi, The Owl Service is an all-time classic, combining mystery, adventure, history and a complex set of human relationships. Winner of both the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal, this edition features a new introduction by Philip Pullman.
Shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry
‘Here at the turn of the leaf a horseman is riding
through the space between one world and another . . .’
The Mabinogi is the Welsh national epic, a collection of prose tales of war and enchantment, adventure and romance, which have long fascinated readers all over the world. Matthew Francis’s retelling of the first four stories (the Four Branches of the Mabinogi) is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder.
The Mabinogi is an important contribution to the storytelling of the British Isles.
'I have waited a life for this book: our ancient British tales re-told, in English, by a poet, as they were in their original Welsh. This is more than translation. It picks up the harp and sings.' Gillian Clarke
‘Dusk is filling the valley. It is the time of the gloaming, the owl-light.
Out in the wood, the resident tawny has started calling, Hoo-hoo-hoo-h-o-o-o.’
There is something about owls. They feature in every major culture from the Stone Age onwards. They are creatures of the night, and thus of magic. They are the birds of ill-tidings, the avian messengers from the Other Side. But owls – with the sapient flatness of their faces, their big, round eyes, their paternal expressions – are also reassuringly familiar. We see them as wise, like Athena’s owl, and loyal, like Harry Potter's Hedwig. Human-like, in other words.
No other species has so captivated us.
In The Secret Life of the Owl, John Lewis-Stempel explores the legends and history of the owl. And in vivid, lyrical prose, he celebrates all the realities of this magnificent creature, whose natural powers are as fantastic as any myth.
'John Lewis-Stempel is one of the best nature writers of his generation' Country Life
Purchase all three titles at the special Walking Book Price of £25.00 (RRP £27.97) delivery is free within the UK. To place your order e-mail Please include your name and delivery address. We will then send you a secure link invoice via Worldpay to make your payment.
This offer is valid until 31st May 2021
*Delivery overseas at cost, minimum order £40.00 Please do enquire
Full Moon Howl by Tamsin Abbott £195.00 *SOLD