A lovely and thoughtful review of (Aurealis shortlistee!) Stray Bats from Charles de Lint in the latest issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
The chapbook is available from Small Beer Press, and even setting aside that I illustrated it, I think it is wonderful — lyrical and, per Charles de Lint, “luminously earthy”, a collection of vignettes that is a delight to read through, but also just the sort of book to dip into, when concentration is in short supply.
First, enormous congratulations to all the works on the Aurealis Awards shortlist. If you need some reading, that is an excellent place to begin.
Second, I’m thrilled to announce that Stray Bats, by Margo Lanagan, published by Small Beer Press and illustrated by me, is on the shortlist for Best Collection:
It is a chapbook of splendid and fantastic vignettes, very much the right length for reading between many tasks, or when concentration is low (as well as in more optimal situations).
You can buy it here: Small Beer Press.
I always endeavour to take some credit for the accolades received by books I have illustrated or, in this case, suggested, but the nomination really is all due to Margo’s splendid writing.
Claire just reminded me of this today: Back in 2018, I sent some fashionable bat sketches to C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez, and people wrote poems about them, which was delightful and hilarious.
Bat-Folk: A Virtual Anthology Based on the Art of Kathleen Jennings
Bats are delightful to draw, and the more bats one draws, the simpler it is to classify people one meets by the variety of bats they would be.
You know you’ve met them.
Here’s a little piece I did a year or two ago for those patrons who get monthly stories. (They are also up on various things in black-and-white on tanaudel.redbubble.com: Bats and stars).
And of course not forgetting all the bats drawn for Stray Bats by Margo Lanagan:
This was another project which at least began fairly spontaneously, although it ended with me spending three days running around London in a heatwave looking for a suitable scanner.
(Also, if you’re in Western Massachusetts, a lot of the original art and sketches for Stray Bats is at Book Moon Books).
Dachshund droids, sinister crones, shapeshifting children, a plethora of witches, dragonstalkers, familiars, slithering eels and, of course, bats, flit and fly through these pages, aided and abetted by Kathleen Jennings’s inspired pencil drawings. Stray Bats is a madcap miscellany consisting of fifty vignettes based on poems by Australian women. Lanagan delights in playing with language, rhyme, and rhythm.
This could be the perfect gift for that slightly otherworldly person in your life—or for yourself, when you need a moment of magic, a dip into darkness, a spark of light.
For the reader who would like to explore further, there are a list of poems that inspired the author and notes on where those poems might be found.
Small Beer Press have just announced this new chapbook, which Margo and I have been secretly working on — it’s so exciting that it will be a real book in the world in November! Pre-orders are open now on Small Beer’s website, and Margo and I will both be at World Fantasy in LA.