Welcome to the Line of Fire website and the Line of Fire blog! We’re almost ready; waiting for the off, as our soldier might say.
We’ve created a designated website for the Line of Fire Project because we are passionate about books reaching readers. We wanted to build a 'one-stop-shop' for everyone with an interest in any and every aspect of this extraordinary book, with a particular focus on the teaching resources and translation resources for UK secondary teachers and students.
Here, we'll be blogging about Line of Fire school and public events, Barroux’s famous illustration workshops and translation events, plus lots of other fun things to do with this book and WWI. We'll also be inviting guest blogs from those involved in all aspects of the creation and publication of Line of Fire and, more importantly, readers, teachers, students, librarians and booksellers. (If you fancy writing a blog for us – in English or French – please do get in touch!)
We are phenomenally excited to be running the Line of Fire Project, and yet, still pinching ourselves. Phoenix Yard Books is a small, independent children's publisher, who did not, under any circumstances, expect to be publishing a graphic novel adaption of an unknown soldier's WWI diary. Usually, at the very least, you know who wrote the book you are publishing. And the chances of a WWI diary being found in a skip, by an-award winning illustrator, well…
I’ve known French artist Stéphane Barroux (who goes by the one word name of Barroux) since Phoenix Yard published his popular picturebook, Mr Leon’s Paris, in April 2012 (also translated by Sarah Ardizzone). In fact, the first time I met Barroux in person was shortly after the publication of Mr Leon’s Paris, at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where he showed me, guarded in its polythene bag, the soldier’s original diary, and the French edition of his book, published the year before as On Les Aura! On that day in Bologna, I sensed I would be eternally grateful to have an illustrator on my list who rummages through other people's rubbish.
Whilst publishing this book was a matter of responsibility as much as choice, the Line of Fire Project has been a long time in the making and is only possible thanks to the generous support of the Arts Council England and Wales. I’d also like to personally say a huge thank you to Barroux, Sarah Ardizzone and Michael Morpurgo, and everyone else who has made and will continue to make (and shape) the Line of Fire Project. And thank you in advance to all our schools, festivals, event and educational partners – we look forward to working with you over the coming year!
Finally, a big nod to Éditions du Seuil, the French publisher of On Les Aura! It will probably not have escaped your notice that you are reading this blog, this website and the book itself, in English. Neither the soldier's diary nor the first edition of Barroux’s book were written in English. It is my hope that the Line of Fire Project can serve as an example of everything that is possible in translation. Phoenix Yard is committed to supporting and promoting literary translation in the UK. In consultation with Barroux and Éditions du Seuil, we very much hope to run bilingual content on this website in the near future.
And that’s it. Into the world our soldier goes.
Emma Langley, Publisher, Phoenix Yard Books, 28th January 2014