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).