Hide a Book

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Today is Hide a Book Day organised by the Book Fairies. Books will be left all over the world for readers to find. This year, the books are also hiding to celebrate the 10th birthday of Goodreads, and that celebration goes on all month. My books are hiding in London, Narberth, Bristol and Toulouse over the coming days.

 

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Medieval Wales

2 Welsh fortAbove is an artist’s impression of the Welsh fort at Carew that preceded the Norman stone castle occupying the site today. The sketch is based on findings from archaeology digs in the 1990s. The stone cross at the entrance to the site, inscribed with the name of the 11th century king Maredudd ap Edwin, is testament that Carew was an important centre for the royal family of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth. My novel series, Conquest, is concerned with the surviving members of that royal family, after the Normans invaded and killed the last king, Rhys ap Tewdwr, in 1093, along with two of his sons. Initially, three of the king’s five sons survived but one of those soon died in a Norman prison. The youngest son was born in captivity in Carmarthen castle and was maimed to prevent any claim from him. Another son, Gruffudd ap Rhys, was hidden by his kin in Dublin and returned when he reached manhood to challenge the Normans for his lost kingdom. My novels centre on the king’s daughter, Nest ferch Rhys, whose colourful life led her to be dubbed Helen of Wales.

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I will be at Narberth Book Fair in the Queen’s Hall, Narberth in Pembrokeshire

on Saturday 23 September 10am-4pm,

along with 34 other authors and tons of books.

There will be talks, readings, workshops, children’s corner.

Entry and all events are free.

My new book, The Drowned Court, is set in the 12th century, and will be published by Impress Books on 30 October.

Current status – art writing in Finland

Frontiers bookletI am currently writer in residence at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, on the Finnish island of Suomenlinna, working on a project called Frontiers in Retreat.

Frontiers in Retreat is an art and ecology project I have been involved in for the last four years. A series of exhibitions, titled Edge Effects, has just begun and showcases some of the work produced by the 25 artists and 8 curatorial partners in the project:

June-September, Edge Effects at Skaftfell, Iceland; June-August, Edge Effects at Mustarinda, Finland; July, Edge Effects organised by Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Glasgow; July-September, Edge Effects in Aizpute, Latvia, and opening soon online in July: Edge Effects, Farrera, Spain which includes my work, FORD and my interview series with some of the artists. More Edge Effects exhibitions opening later in the year in Zagreb and Seoul.

HIAP has just produced the beautiful booklet above, designed by NODE in Berlin, and edited by Salla Lahtinen and Jenni Nurmenniemi. You can download a free copy here

https://issuu.com/frontiersinretreat/docs/170605_frontiers_content_web_press

The booklet summarises the work of the Frontiers in Retreat artists and partners and is also available at the Edge Effects exhibition venues. It features the photograph below of my installed text work, MEANDA, from the Exoplanet Lot exhibition organised by Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Cajarc, last year.

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Murder Mystery in France

Villefranche-de-Rouergue_-_Place_de_la_Fontaine_-1My interview with author, Stephen Goldenberg, has just been published on The Displaced Nation website. Goldenberg has written and self-published a murder mystery set in France and thrillers set in Britain. He is now working on a novel about a man who modelled for the artist, Francis Bacon.

Stephen and I are talking about our novels at The English Library in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France, on Friday 21 April, 5.30pm.

The English Library is a lending library for English readers with over 3,000 books. It is open on Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons and situated next to the 14th century Place de la Fontaine and the Urbain Cabrol Municipal Museum.

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Simon Mawer interview

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My interview with acclaimed novelist Simon Mawer was recently published on The Displaced Nation site. Mawer’s fiction has received a slew of prizes: The McKitterick Prize for his first novel, Chimera; The Glass Room was short-listed for the Booker Prize; and Tightrope won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. He has lived in Italy for many years and finds his imagination is fired by the extraordinary and the unfamiliar.

Bull-dancing at Knossos

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A beautiful new edition of Mary Renault’s classic novel, The King Must Die, the story of Theseus in Knossos, has just been published by The Folio Society. The book includes eight exquisite illustrations and cover design by Geoff Grandfield. Grandfield’s dominant black and terracotta palette references Cretan frescos and black-figure Greek pottery, which were, in their turn, inspirations for Renault’s own creativity. Renault surely features in most people’s roll call of significant historical novelists. Her Alexandrian trilogy fired my own imagination as a teenager. Renault’s vivid, sensuous depiction of Hellenic life drew on Arthur Evans’ excavations at Knossos. My review of the book has just been published in the February issue of Historical Novels Review.