Between the lines

18th March 2005 at 00:00
"I want to tell the story again," says Jeanette Winterson, picking up the weighty tale of Atlas and Heracles for Canongate's series The Myths.

The series is to be launched in October, with writers including Margaret Atwood commissioned for the first wave, and Karen Armstrong's Short History of Myth the foundation title, previewed at the London Book Fair.

Meanwhile, there was a whistle-stop tour of Narnia, shot in Lord of the Rings country in time for Christmas. The first seven minutes of Andrew "Shrek" Adamson's film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (opening December 9) lures bookphobes with bomber-filled skies. The eternal winter of Narnia was filmed in New Zealand, with so far no sign of C. S. Lewis's Oxford. HarperCollins are planning a "Read it before you see it" campaign to get children reading the Narnia series through the summer holidays. See www.narnia.com.

Geraldine McCaughrean has promised to finish her sequel to Peter Pan by the end of the year. Mariella Frostrup, one of the judges who picked the winner from 100 submissions to a competition set up by the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, said McCaughrean's outline hinted at "the most captivating and quirky story... about children desperate to grow up and adults behaving like children". Expect the book next year from Oxford University Press.

Eoin Colfer would approve of this week's School Librarian of the Year cover story; his rather fierce librarian in The Legend of Spud Murphy (Puffin) shows her softer side, although her book stamps are still her secret weapons. Colfer's book in praise of reading picked up one of the National Literary Association's (wow!) awards at the Education Show yesterday (March 17).

The NLA's panel selected seven other books: The Ultimate Book Guide (A C Black), with reading recommendations for 8 to 12-year-olds; The Whisperer by Nick Butterworth; Clarice Bean Spells Trouble by Lauren Child (Orchard Books); Na'ima bint Robert and Diana Mayo's Journey Through Islamic Art, in 22 bilingual editions (Mantra); Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (Bloomsbury), Michael Rosen and Herve Tullet's Alphabet Poem (Milet); and Martin Jenkins' retelling of Gulliver's Travels with Chris Riddell's intricate and arresting illustrations (Walker Books).

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