Swallow the Moon

One of the ground-breaking aspects of Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is the fact that so many of the stories are collaborations between people from different countries who but for this anthology, would never have met nor had the chance to work together. 

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Priya Kuriyan is the Indian artist responsible for the cover illustration of the anthology. When we were trying to choose which image to use from the many beautiful ones produced by the six graphic artists featured in the book, Priya’s drawing of a group of girls standing on a cliff overlooking a raging ocean just seemed to be the one that perfectly captured our themes. Allen & Unwin’s designer, Sandra Nobes, took the image from the first story in the anthology, Swallow the Moon, and added colour, the title and authors’ names to transform it into the stunning cover.

Swallow the Moon is a sixteen page graphically illustrated tale set in a future world written by the Australian fantasy author, Kate Constable. Kate’s original story was long and dark, set in an environmentally damaged future world. But once Priya began working on the illustrations the story began to transform into something quite different. Together they shaped a rites of passage story that was so beautiful and full of hope that all the editors felt a shiver of excitement when the pages arrived in our email inboxes.

In India, Priya is a much loved illustrator, comic book artist, animator, filmmaker and presenter at children’s literary festivals. To get an idea of how much she’s loved in India, check out Kareena N. Gianani’s interview with her on the Duckbill Blog. It’s crazy that we don’t have access to her work here in Australia. Priya will be visiting Australia in May to participate in the Centre for Youth Literature’s ‘Reading Matters’ conference thanks to the Creative Partnerships with Asia grant that made Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean possible.

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Kate Constable’s work has won and been shortlisted for many awards. Her time travel novels Crow Country and Cicada Summer perfectly capture the sort of speculative mood we were looking to feature in the anthology.

Kate and Priya grew up in very different worlds but that doesn’t mean they can’t share an understanding of what it means to be young and facing an uncertain future.

Some people think that cross-collaboration between different cultures is a difficult process but if you have imagination and think creatively there are very few barriers.

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One of Priya Kuriyan’s illustrations from Swallow the Moon

 

The sunken city - one of Priya's illustrations that we also considered for the cover of the book

The sunken city – one of Priya’s illustrations that we also considered for the cover of the book

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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