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I am SO looking forward to this book coming out! Every since lockdown first began, I've been craving all things sea-related (which you might have noticed in the nautical art and cards I was selling). So this wonderfully atmospheric tale of a wild windswept island with its deep sea mysteries absolutely hit the spot. I got to read it when Philip Reeve first called it At Sundown Watch, featuring a girl named Utterly Dark, and as you can see, she's taken over the title, and illustrator Paddy Donnelly has put her right in the centre of the cover:

Cover artwork by Paddy Donnelly, photo by Philip Reeve

I was so taken with it last winter that, right after I read it, I made a linocut print as fan art. And it's fun to see how linoprints come together, so here's a short video about the process:

Earlier that autumn, I'd been hiking with the Reeve family in Cornwall and loved the bended and folded-up lines of the stratified layers in the cliff faces. So I was trying to capture a bit of that with the pattterning. One thing I always have to remember about linocut is that the picture will come out backward to how I cut it, which possibly doesn't matter so much with the picture but absolutely matters when there's lettering! I get a huge kick from peeling the first print off the carved block and seeing how it turns out.

Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep launches on September 2nd with David Fickling Books (edited by Liz Cross, who's worked on so many of our joint books when she was at Oxford University Press). If you can pre-order it from an independent bookshop, that really helps them out! (They can gauge their stock better, and it contributes to the author's first week sales, which makes publishers more keen to publish more books.) Our joint book, Kevin vs The Unicorns, launches the same day, so consider pre-ordering both! Here are a few bookshop online options:

The Bookery, Crediton
The Rocketship Bookshop, Salisbury
Bookbugs & Dragon Tales, Norwich
The Alligator's Mouth, Richmond



Sarah McIntyre

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March 2023


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