Acclaimed artist and author Jackie Morris and Award-winning author Robert McFarlane have been shortlisted for this year’s Publishing and Writing Award. The duo are most known for their collaboration on ‘The Lost Words’. Published in October 2017, the beautifully illustrated book focuses on bringing words - bluebell, dandelion, otter and kingfisher - that were slipping out of common usage back into our everyday lives.
Jackie explains that their hope for the book was to shift readers into the nearby wild and to reconnect people with nature. She highlights how nowadays culture gives more importance to the urban than the wild and so at the heart of their book is a celebration of wild. This book manages to conjure lost words and species back into our everyday lives, Katharine Norbury in her Review for the Guardian mentions that the book ‘gently, firmly and meticulously restores the missing words’.
Passionate about the availability of books in schools, Jackie says ‘this was my access to books when I was young. We had few books at home and the first time I met books in number was in the school library.”
Following on from the publication of the book, Jackie and Robert decided that there needed to be a copy of the book in every school in Scotland so that all children would have access to it. Their ambition was achieved through a crowdfunded platform and the help of Rob Bushby from The John Muir Trust. With the success of this crowdfunding platform others are now helping to deliver books all over the country and links with schools, bookshops and families are being formed. “There’s a reason that I am passionate about the book being used in schools.... as a child I was not happy in school, especially in summer. Confined within walls, I wanted to be outside. Our book has become a portal for whole classes of children to escape, to be drawn outside.” Jackie added.
Within the publishing industry Jackie and Robert have received a great deal of recognition for bringing this book into people’s lives, the book has been shortlisted for and has won awards. They have however said that the greatest reward for them are the stories they hear about someone finding a moment of respite in the pages. The book is described as a message of home, and their hope is to rewild the child and awaken that childlike sense of awe that lives inside us all.
Read more here.