On 16th April we will be celebrating the relaunch of The Seal Children, written and illustrated by me. For more about the book have a look here.
The book will be one of the first titles to be published by Otter-Barry Books. It was one of the very first books I wrote and I am so pleased that Otter-Barry Books are bringing it back into print in this new hardback edition for a new generation of children. So, Anna at Solva Woollen Mill and I thought we should have a very special celebration to launch the book.
The book is about many things, land and sea, love and loss. It is set in the landscape I live in. Sometimes I wonder if it is a true story. You can walk up the hill, and over, to the place of ruins, a magical dreaming place where the stones whisper stories, and I did that on many days when I was working on the book.
Along the way you can see many things and all changes with the light and the seasons. Today celandine starred the banks yellow and gorse flowers were beginning to hang heavy on the bushes. The blackthorn hedges that make a tunnel of the path that leads to the hilltop have the smallest tight pearl buds of blossom. By April these will be gone, maybe. Foxgloves will be growing, the lane will be pink with campion. Today the fields around the old village are alive with the bleats of lambs and buzzards calling from the sky and chough.
What we hope to do to launch the book is to take people out, away from the land and into the selkie’s element. Our plan is to make one or two trips by boat, out to Ramsey Island where seals can be seen all year round and where many of the seabirds threaded through the pages of the book can be found. With luck we might see porpoise, but it’s early in the year for them. We will keep a sharp eye out for peregrine and chough, for Ramsey is where The Queen of the Sky began. The the plan is next to swing around St Davids Head and follow the coast to The Gessail, where the old villagers from Maes Y Mynydd once kept their fishing boats. Places are limited for the boat trips. 11 people per boat.
Now, there’s a lot of magic tied up in this tale, some of which I will talk about during the day of the 16th, but here is a small piece of it: The boat trip will be run by Ffion Rees who has started up her own boat company. So, in a way the book launch will also be a launch for Ffion’s company, Falcon Boats. And Ffion is the wonderful woman who rescued a drowning peregrine from the sea and helped her back to the sky, the story of which is chronicled in Queen of the Sky published by Graffeg ( and Ffi is shortly to publish a book about her life on the water, again with Graffeg who published Queen of the Sky). Ffion is also the name of the selkie’s daughter. I’ve been out on the water so many times with Ffion and there is no one better to take to the water with. She knows the sea so well, well enough to hold a great respect for it.
So, the first part of the book launch will be a very exclusive boat trip, with readings from Queen of the Sky and The Seal Children. The cost for this will be £25 each and when you book you will receive an exclusive signed ‘ticket’. To book contact Anna at Solva Woollen Mill. The trip will depart from St Justinians and you will need to be there approx. 15 mins before, but all details will be confirmed when you book your place. The trip will last about an hour and a half.The only problem with this is that the boat trips are weather dependant. Obviously if the weather is awful we won’t be able to go, but instead we will do a slide show and talk with film, coffee and cake at the mill, with myself and Ffion, talking about both Queen of the Sky and The Seal Children. But given the magic that follows this book it should be calm and warm and beautiful.
In the afternoon there will be a talk and slideshow, again with film, about the story of the book and about Maes y Mynydd, where the book is set and a reading of The Seal Children. After this there will be a supper of cawl and home made bread which will be followed by a talk about some of my work in progress, which includes Robert MacFarlane’s The Lost Words, Found, Fox and The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow. This event will also be ticketted at a cost of £25, and the ticket price includes supper, the talk and a copy of The Seal Children. Again places are limited, so book soon.
All day with boat trip with Falcon Boats and talk and supper: £50 ( includes copy of The Seal Children, signed) Please book before 8th April and pay in full to secure your place.
Afternoon event with supper at Solva Woollen Mill:£25 ( includes copy of The Seal Children, signed)
To book tickets contact Anna at Solva Woollen Mill. Places are limited but if there is a large take-up we may be able to run extra boat trips ( 11 spaces per boat)
The Seal Children inhabits a place of magic, part this world, part faery, between the land and the sea. We are hoping this launch will also inhabit this place and be a wonderful launch for Otter-Barry Books, a new and beautiful voice in the children’s book industry.