Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Moffat suddenly seems to have become the place to be. Thursdays at the Black Bull are a must for music lovers. A recent concert sold out in hours. Brodies, the restaurant/cafe/bistro whose cakes and dishes I've been posting shots of for a while now, is constantly packed with friendly munchers and sippers (they already have only two tables left for Hogmanay!). And now a major new Alaskan author is coming here as part of her five day UK book launch tour.

Eowyn Ivey's book has been selected by Oprah Magazine as among 10 titles to "Pick Up Now" in the February issue; by Waterstones as a UK Waterstones prestigious "11" award; as a book to watch by all number of newspapers including The Independent and The Times; will be Radio 4's Book at Bedtime in April, and is already a bestseller in Norway.

This is what her website says about the book:

In The Snow Child, a couple creates a child out of snow. When she appears on their doorstep as a little girl, wild and secretive, their lives are changed forever.

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for a couple who have never been able to conceive. Jack and Mabel are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone, but they catch sight of an elusive, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever.

Eowyn was inspired to write the novel after she discovered the classic Russian fairy tale of the snow maiden. She was shelving books in the children's section of Fireside Books when she happened across a copy of Freya Littledale's retelling of the fairy tale with illustrations by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee. The story haunted Eowyn with its loneliness and magic in a landscape so similar to the one she grew up in. She spent the next few months researching the original tale, and depictions of it in Russian art work, before she began writing.

The Snow Child has been described as a "remarkable achievement", "stunningly conceived" and "enchanting from beginning to end."

How fab does that sound?

The event takes place at Moffat House Hotel on Saturday 18th February, from 6pm. Tickets are a mere seven quid. I'll be there with fellow members of the new Moffat Writing Group (name yet to be decided) whose inaugural meeting is this Thursday, 7pm at the school.*

So, musician or music lover, writer or book lover: rather wonderfully I seem to find myself living in a town full of fellow tribesmen.

*This group follows on from the classes I've been teaching.


Scarlet Blue said...

I will have to get myself up there for a visit one day... especially to visit Brodies!

Eryl said...

You will, and, in fact, another blogger is coming tomorrow. Very excited! X

The Weaver of Grass said...

Wish I lived nearer Eryl. That sounds a most exquisite story - I shall look for the book and let you know what I think of it.

angryparsnip said...

Can I say the first thing I noticed was the cover art and after much searching found out the illustration was indeed by Alessandro Gottardo (in many country there are different cover art)
His cover art is so striking and reminds me of the art by Charley Harper.

Rambling side note...
So funny that when looking at/for a book the reason we pick it up first is the cover.... but when looking up on the computer no mention is every made of the art work.

I like when a smaller venue is planned sometimes in a bigger city the size takes over. Moffet seems perfect for this.... I am not explaining this well.
I looked up your town and it does look like It is indeed the place to be.
Lucky you.

cheers, parsnip

Sharon Longworth said...

Well, next time you're job-seeking, I suggest you pitch to the Moffat tourist board. On the strength of this post, I googled the local web pages, and now know that Moffat is "an attractive town, a coaching stop and 19th century spa town."
so thank you for broadening my understanding and giving me a reason to have South Scotland on my list of places to visit one day!
Oh - and the book cover is gorgeous - enough in itself to make me want to go and hunt out the book.

Eryl said...

Weaver ~ very much look forward to that.

Parsnip ~ thank you for two new names to look out for. The cover is wonderful, I agree, and hope this is the one being sold here. If not I'll probably just get it on my Kindle.

I have been known to buy books purely for their cover, and have never yet been disappointed by the contents.

I now exactly what you mean about small venues, there's a lovely intimacy about them that works well for this kind of event.

Sharon ~ ha! As I was writing this I did think it read rather like an advert for Moffat.

Let me know if you do plan to visit and I'll bake a cake.

rochambeau said...

Howdy Lovely!!
The event at Moffat's sounds sublime. Wish I could come via the computer!
The book sounds spectacular! I just finished reading the Snow Queen last week for the first time. Is that the same story as the Snow Maiden you mention above? I The Snow Child sounds great as it forces the reader to suspend from reality to magical thinking.
How's your work coming along?
10 minute post? YOU are such a great writer Erly, it blow me mind!
Happy Valentines Day!


Eryl said...

Not sure about the Snow Queen, I'll have to google.

You and I think the same, Constance, suspend reality and allow a little magic in: nothing to beat it!

Most of this post is a cut and paste job from Eowyn Ivey's website, I only actually wrote about half-a-dozen sentences.

My work is slightly frustrating at the moment, trying to organise participant interviews; the rest of life is joyful, though, so can't complain!

Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day, XXXXX

Kim Ayres said...

Well, between you and Mary, Moffat has had no choice to become the place to be :)

The Unbearable Banishment said...

That's a killer jacket design, too. Which counts quite a lot for sales, believe it or not.

Eryl said...

You do talk charming bollocks, Kim! Thank you, though :)

UB ~ It does, and I actually didn't buy a copy at the event last night because the UK cover is nowhere near as appealing.