Saturday, 2 November 2013

Alphabetical Sydney

One of the things I love about working in a small Independent Bookshop is that we often get special moments with authors and illustrators.

On Thursday, the author of Alphabetical Sydney, Hilary Bell, happened to be in the area, happened to see that I had done a display of her book in our front window, so she popped in to say 'hi' and 'thank you'. We had a quick chat about how well the book was selling (very well!) & how I changed which page the book in the window was open on every few days.

A few minutes later, Hilary came running back into the shop with a card in her hand which she gave to me, saying, "I had one of these left in the car, it's for our book launch on Saturday, would you like to come?"

As you will see from the photos below, my answer was "yes". 



Display case of the illustrator, Antonia Pesenti's work (with my invitation card in front).








Antonia came up with the early idea of creating a Sydney alphabet collage book when she moved back to Australia with her husband and small children. 

She mentioned it to her friend, Hilary, who is a playwright by trade. 

Hilary jumped at the chance to create the rhyming text to match Antonia's beautiful, iconic images.

"The alphabet provided a structure that would allow us to roam freely around the city, highlighting its features both mundane and wondrous. We wanted to evoke a Sydney that was personal, somewhat nostalgic, and a far cry from the tourist-guide version. There are a couple of icons we couldn’t go past – the Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo – but we were keen to communicate a personal, specific view of the urban fabric that incorporated more than Bondi and The Rocks. We were struck by how strong the presence of nature is in the city: after a few letters we had to actively resist animals, birds and flowers and refocus on the built fabric of the city. 

We were also keen to show the city’s eclecticism – jasmine, ibises and delicatessens aren’t native, but what would Sydney be without them? We wanted to incorporate the west and south, buildings and roads, the beautiful and beautifully ugly – they all contribute to our sense of the city. Thus, L for Lawn Bowls and P for Parramatta Road."

Extract from NewSouth Publishing website (for the full article click here).



This post is part of Saturday Snapshot and AusReading Month.

14 comments:

  1. What great displays! Independent bookstores are the best!

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  2. What a great idea for a book. You did a great job with the display. How exciting that you had a chance to be part of the book launch. Have a great weekend, Brona!

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  3. How fantastic! What great luck, that the author spotted your display, and then invinted you to the launch. I'm so glad you were able to go. The book looks fabulous too, I will certainly keep an eye out for it. I love the bold illustrations. It will sell forever more to tourists too. A great idea. I hope they do a board book version too.

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  4. Super book idea and a great display. Bet it was fun to attend the launch too.

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  5. That's a great idea for a book - maybe it'll catch on for other places.

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    1. It would be lovely to see homespun versions of this book idea pop up all over the world.
      An intrepid traveller could make it their mission to find them all!!

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  6. Oh, thanks for the reminder of how we can see a familiar place in new and creative ways. Here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST

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  7. What a cleaver idea!! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. What an interesting idea for a book! Thanks for all the photos!

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  9. I'd love to work in a bookstore!! Love your display, and how neat that the author stopped by to talk to you!

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    1. Yes Vicki, Deb and Ripple I count my blessings every day that I go to work in a bookshop :-)
      I was a preschool teacher for 18 years but burnt out completely at the end. The bookshop saved me!

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  10. How exciting for you, and I too rather envy you your job. Must be lovely to be so creative at work.

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