Collaborations between an artist and a writer require a natural sense of balance. Each part of the finished book will require lots of revision, yet in the reading they needs must feel as if they both arrived fully-formed, effortlessly. Flight, written by Angela Slatter, illustrated by Kathleen Jennings and published by PS Publishing reads if it simply came into being. Open the lovely cover, turn the pages and disappear into another world, another time beyond world and time. Flight soars beyond the confines of words and images.
Princess Emer may have a tiny problem. Striving to side-step the rules that manage her life without her consent, she’s been pecked in the palm of her hand by a raven. Slowly and secretly, a transformation begins. She may be able to fly, but she finds herself under the control of her bitter aunt. More than one trade has been made, and freedom can be found in the simplest traps. Carve out the time, and luxuriate in Flight. It is in every sense and every arena a triumph.
Angela Slatter’s writing is sublime. She has mastered a contemporary style that preserves the charms and terrors of fairy-tales, by never once flinching from the consequences of her narrative. Magic, subtle and overt, becomes a necessity that needs no explanation. Kathleen Jennings’ illustrations might more properly be termed illuminations; they obviously stem from the same source as the prose and the story. The large format book design eliminates the boundaries between the reader and the story. You are simply there.
Flight is the sort of book that once read, demands to be read again, aloud. Take your time, let it simmer in your soul. You’ll know your audience, as do the author illustrator and publisher. Flight is for everyone, everywhere.
Given the depth and serious artistic passion on display in Flight, one might well assume that a discussion with author and illustrator would be low-key. But as I spoke with Angela Slatter and Kathleen Jennings, we managed to have the sort of time you might expect o see unfold in one of Slatter’s imagined pubs, after more tankards of ale than might be advised. We had a 21st-century online blast, which you can download from this link, or listen to right here – ale suggested, not required.