This Sunday would have been Mary Stewart’s 101st birthday: she was born on 17 September 1916, and died on 9 May 2014.
I think her birthday ought to be a day of celebration in honour of her exquisite writing and storytelling skills. I am going to celebrate by writing about her here – so far, I have a couple of quizzes (including one on animals in her books!), a giveaway and guest reviews lined up. And there is still time to vote for your favourite Mary Stewart heroines before voting closes on Sunday and we begin the ‘All-Time Favourite’ vote. You can vote via the sidebar or here, here and here.
But what else can we do to celebrate and commemorate Mary Stewart Day? Here are ten ideas:
- Perhaps this is a good day to introduce a friend to the writing of Mary Stewart? Share your love of her books with one other person and lend them your copy of one of her novels.
- Already surrounded by others who love Mary Stewart’s writing as much as you do? Why not read aloud favourite excerpts to one another?
- Better still, record yourself reading from a Mary Stewart novel, send it to me and I’ll find a way to post it so that we can listen to Mary Stewart excerpts in a variety of accents! (My techie knowhow is minimal but so far I’ve found WordPress can help me do pretty much anything – no pressure, WordPress people!)
- Help Mary Stewart’s writing stay in print, talked about and appreciated – request one of her books from your local library, buy an ebook for your kindle, or splash out on one of the gorgeous new UK Hodder paperbacks like this one:
- If you can, watch Hayley Mills in the 1964 film The Moon-Spinners – Mary Stewart herself was disappointed with the filming of her novel, and I can’t help but wish it had been a Hitchcock rather than Disney film, but it does possess a certain bonkers charm (I’d love to know when and how it was decided to add a real live leopard to the cast). One way to borrow or buy the film, or just watch the trailer for free, is here on amazon UK.
- Find a quiet corner and get reading – and I’d love to hear which book you choose to read.
- It’s a good time to be a book fairy! Did you know that there is a celebration of ten years of Goodreads on 18 September and throughout the month? That’s right, the website’s big day is just one day after Mary Stewart Day. The Book Fairies are holding an international ‘Hide a Book Day’, leaving books behind for people to find, read and pass on. I am planning to take part in this on the 18th, and I hope to leave a Mary Stewart book somewhere on the 17th. I have bought official stickers in readiness but I am sure it would work just as well with a hand-written note. I’d love to know if you decide to be a book fairy, or if you find a book fairy offering.
— Allison M (@QueenOfPlots) September 12, 2017
- Spread the word – go on social media to talk about Mary Stewart or share a Mary Stewart quote. On twitter, I’ll be using the hashtag #MaryStewartDay.
- Listen to Mussorgsky’s ‘A Night on the Bare Mountain’ (sometimes called ‘Night on Bald Mountain’). Why? – an early working title for Mary Stewart’s early novel Thunder on the Right was Death on the Bare Mountain and chapter 26 is called Night on the Bare Mountain; in fact each of the chapter headings has a musical theme. I think Mussorgsky was Mary Stewart’s soundtrack for the novel, and I can certainly imagine the race in the mountains accompanied by his music. There is a link to the music and more information on Thunder in my blogpost here.
- Raise a glass to Mary Stewart on the day/evening, whether your choice is champagne or a cuppa – and if you send me a photo of your drink, I’ll post it to the blog!
Do you have any other ideas as to how we can commemorate the day? However you decide to celebrate on Sunday, I wish you a Happy Mary Stewart Day!