30 June 2011

Introducing... Andrew McGahan!

No, that's not a mistake.

Andrew McGahan.

Yes, the Andrew McGahan.
The Miles Franklin-winning Andrew McGahan.
The Miles Franklin-winning Andrew McGahan, famous for such beloved books as Praise, The White Earth and Wonders of A Godless World.

Why, you ask, are we introducing him to you if:
A) clearly everyone knows him already, and
B) he writes books for adults anyway.



Because Andrew has written a book for young people and...

It is awesome, and we are publishing it.
It is awesome, we are publishing it, and we are so excited we have developed an irritating rhetorical tick of repeating ourselves for emphasis, because did we mention IT IS FREAKING AWESOME.

The Coming of the Whirlpoool
Last of the Ship Kings, Book 1*

It is not drowning your mother fears. What she truly dreads is that if you go to sea then you will come to the attention of the Ship Kings. And that if they discover who you are, they will kill you.
Young Dow Amber is no sailor. But driven by a strange sea-longing he ventures down to a grim fishing village on the shores of the bay known as the Claw. There he finds the people living in dread not only of the mysterious Ship Kings that rule their country, but also of the fury of the ocean itself. And when the Ship Kings sail their tall ships into the Claw, Dow's forbidden longing only grows.
Who are the Ship Kings? Who is the strange and fascinating girl who lives aboard one of their ships? And when the whirlpool rises, will the call of the sea lead Dow to his heart's desire or to certain death?

There is intrigue and adventure, capture and escape, destiny and desire. Andrew's writing sings with the wind in the rigging and thrums with the rush of water under the bow...

You will love Dow - but not without complication.
You will believe utterly in his world - but you won't be sure you want to live there.
You will taste the salt spray and feel the wind on your cheek.
But above all you will fear the coming of the whirlpool...

What's that you say? You want to see the cover? Well, to be honest, we're not sure if you're ready; we're not sure if you can handle the awesome.

So here is the bottom left corner.

Not enough? You want more? You think you can handle more?
We'll think about it...

In the meantime, here is Andrew himself, signing proof copies in the House.

The proof copies are very pretty.**
And the real book is going to be a gorgeous little hardback*** with beautiful endpapers, and little illustrations - an all round fabulous object.

You know what, they're going to look so good we might not let them actually leave the warehouse. We might just cancel all those bookshops' orders and go out to Scoresby and roll around in the gorgeousness.

But no, that wouldn't be fair. We must be unselfish. We will generously share The Coming of the Whirlpool with you because it is just too good to keep for ourselves.

And in that spirit...

So, Andrew... although as a favourite son of The Mothership you need no introduction, we're dipping the ensign; we're stringing bunting between the masts; we're hanging all the shields over the side to welcome you to the House of Onion.

* Okay, we lied. Andrew hasn't written just one book for young people - he is writing a FOUR-BOOK series. We wanted to break it to you gently so you didn't expire on the spot. Breathe. Breathe. You'll get through this. One AWESOME book at a time.
** As is Andrew, obviously.
*** Clearly it needed to be a hardback to contain the awesome.

29 June 2011


Once a year, in the House of Onion, we have to address the BIG DILEMMA. And that time was upon us earlier this week.

The BIG DILEMMA stems from the fact that we can't, in clear conscience, expect the Cake-Maker Virtuoso to make her own birthday cake. So we need another Onion to step into the breach.

This year there was no shortage of volunteers. Happily, we have a clear policy on matters such as these. And so it came to pass that the first person to respond to the call-to-cake was allocated the task of preparing a delicious item to honour the Cake-Maker Virtuoso - and to satisfy all the other Onions who now have rather discerning palates when it comes to cake. No pressure, EM, no pressure at all.*

In her time of need, the Cake-Maker's Understudy turned to Tess Mallos's The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook and produced a most excellent Karithopita,** otherwise known as a Greek Walnut Cake. And this proved to be very pleasing indeed for our star cake-maker and her cake-eating colleagues.

Hip. Hip. Hooray!

* We wouldn't be surprised if you actually heard the sounds of sweet relief from other Onions who volunteered ever slightly more slowly than Ms M.
** For anyone keen to replicate this tasty treat, an approximation of Tess Mallos's recipe can be found here. However, the Cake-Maker's Understudy has an eagle eye for detail and reports that this recipe differs slightly - it notes that hot syrup should be poured on cold cake, whereas Tess's recipe calls for cold syrup to be poured on hot cake. And we are also informed that the delightful dark brown colouring was achieved by using raw sugar, rather than white. Feel free to experiment as you wish.

16 June 2011

Corpus Libris - in the House of Onion

Inspired by Corpus Libris, herewith we present a photo essay for your enjoyments - featuring assorted Onions and a selection of items we happened to have lying around the House...

* * *

*** Particular kudos to supergirl SB for maintaining Setu Bandha Sarvangasana for many minutes while we tried to wrangle a shot!

09 June 2011

An Onion in London

What manner of sights do you suppose an Onion in London might choose to seek out? Bookshops, of course!

Herewith a photo essay of a selection of bookstores that can be found in the busy streets of London town:

Lovely stores all.

Daunt Books in Marylebone is particularly wonderful with its wooden shelves and staircase, its books categorised by country - and its welcoming warmth when the weather turned wet. Those of you who have been following the fortunes of the humble bookstore around the world may well be aware that James Daunt, the founder of Daunt Books, is taking the helm as managing director at Waterstones. Clearly we Onions are quite the fans of bookstores - and we wish him all the best in his endeavours.

And I was especially enamoured of Persephone Books, who reprint neglected classics by twentieth-century writers, with a focus on women writers. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women.* And they are elegantly packaged with particular attention to endpapers that match the date and mood of the book. And their design aesthetic is beautifully showcased by the book displays in their gorgeous store.** Despite my bulging suitcase, I may have been tempted into a purchase. Reader, I dare you to walk into Persephone and not be tempted too.

* I wonder if we can find any of those around here?
** Thanks so much to Clare in the London Office for introducing me to the wonderful publishing venture that is Persephone.

08 June 2011

Baby, it's cold outside

How cold and wet it is. There may be hail, and even snow not very far away.

The House is full of semi-folded umbrellas, and newspapers soaking up the rain from the umbrellas, and people wearing fingerless gloves circumnavigating the umbrellas and newspapers.

But there are heartwarming glimmers amid the gloom.

Some are in the shape of Troubletwisters e-cards,

... an Onion's special warming winter wardrobe*,

... and some brand new winter reading.

Look at the glow cast on that table! There's nothing like a special finish to brighten up a winter's day in lieu of actual sunshine**.

POD, by Stephen Wallenfels
The Paradise Trap, by Catherine Jinks
The Shattering, by Karen Healey
Sensitive Creatures, by Mandy Ord

Meanwhile, certain peripatetic Onions enjoy a very different view.

*The Onion would like to dedicate her new unicorn jumper to Margo Lanagan.
**Pleasingly, but somewhat inconveniently for
the integrity of this post, the sun has just decided to appear over the House. But it's still cold.

06 June 2011

Monday stuff and items

1) This Oliver Jeffers app is one of the most beautiful specimens of its kind we've seen in a long time, and Helena Bonham-Carter thinks so too.

2) This is Shyness author and recent insideadog.com resident Leanne Hall caught our eye at Reading Matters last weekend, not only as a most dazzling panellist, but because she planked onstage! And this interview with David Levithan shows she has even more talents ...

3) Also pleasingly eye-catching at Reading Matters was a shiny Ena Noel IBBY medallion, awarded to Lili Wilkinson for her Scatterheart and because she is an under-35 writer of note. We agree! Congratulations, Lili!

4) And it seems ours were not the only eyes caught at Reading Matters, nor were we the only ones to take inspiration from the tweetings - here is a very amusing poem.

5) With a novel and several e-readers in hand, Mandy Brett spoke recently at the Wheeler Centre about the place of editors in a rapidly changing world:

A full transcript can be found here.

6) And the Wheeler Centre also points us to some very unlikely book covers.

03 June 2011

From our correspondent in Rome

It is rather quiet in the House at the moment, with no fewer than two Onions wining, dining and cycling about in sunny Italy.*

One travelling Onion seems to be visiting a great many bookshops (how surprising!), some of which have bars incorporated within them (how eminently civilised and also convenient!).

*brrrrgrumble much travel envy in the House.

02 June 2011


Here is the collective mind of the fabulous Reading Matters 2011 conference last weekend, compiled* from all the energetic tweeting that was going on:
...and also the mind of one note-taking Onion:Authors charmed the crowd and signed their books...

...while Onions mingled with other bookish types and also ate cake.

* Thanks to Zoe Sadokierski for pointing us towards the fabulous Wordle site - hours of fun!