This Mary Stewart bulletin contains a reminder about a free book giveaway, some Mary and the Witch’s Flower news, a closing date for the open Mary Stewart poll, and info on how to access a full radio programme featuring Mary Stewart.

Book Giveaway

Let me start by reminding you that Hachette Children’s Books have kindly sent me a copy of  The Little Broomstick so that I can offer a free giveaway. This enchanting book is Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s classic that has just been re-issued in the UK and it is the basis of the animated film Mary and the Witch’s Flower. This competition is open to UK residents (apologies but I’m happy to pay postage within the UK only) and YOU HAVE UNTIL NOON TOMORROW TO TAKE PART! More details, including how to enter, are in Giveaway! The Little Broomstick

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the Japanese animated film adaptation of The Little Broomstick. The film, by Studio Ponoc, is finally released in the UK on 4 May 2018, having come out in Japan in July 2017 and in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US at the start of this year. I have watched a preview screening and you can read my short review here: Review of Mary and the Witch’s Flower – this is a hugely enjoyable film, do watch it if you can!

I have updated the blog sidebar (under ‘Newspaper/Magazine Articles’) with some articles about the film and I recommend a browse through these: until I read the Shropshire Star, I didn’t know that Disney had bought film rights to The Little Broomstick.

In other film news, did you see that there was a Mary and the Witch’s Flower themed cafe in Tokyo last year? I would love to have visited this Garden Sand Cafe and I’m sure I would have bought some merchandise in the shop. I really love these Tib and Gib characters with grumpy faces!

Read all about the cafe here: Studio Ponoc: Mary and the Witch’s Flower Garden Sand Cafe.

Mary Stewart Favourite Heroine poll

In 2017 I ran a few polls to see who is our favourite heroine from the Mary Stewart suspense novels, culminating in an ‘all-time favourite’ poll begun on Mary Stewart Day last September. Now, to be honest, I had forgotten about this poll (oops!) until I spotted in my stats that the page was accessed a few days ago. It is great that some of you are even now voting for your favourite heroine but if *you* haven’t voted, please do so soon: I am – finally! – going to close this poll on 30 April.  You can read the background to this poll and vote here. Will Charity Selborne from Madam, Will You Talk? maintain her lead?

Illustrators Francis Phillipps, N/K and William Rose. More details at the end of this post.

Radio Interview with Mary Stewart

Last month, I shared Lucy C’s news that there is audio footage of Mary Stewart online, in a BBC Radio 4 obituary programme called The Last Word – the episode featuring Mary Stewart first aired in 2014 but you can still listen to it today: the link is in my post BBC Audio of Mary Stewart.

I was intrigued by the programme and I contacted The Last Word to find out more about the interview from which the Mary Stewart audio clips had been taken. To my delight, I quickly received an answer: the interview is from Bookshelf, a BBC Radio 4 ‘literary series which ran from 1978-1993, in which writers are interviewed about their work and ideas.’ The Mary Stewart episode is from 1991.

Even better, those lovely people at BBC Radio 4 sent me, without charge, a soundfile of the programme itself so that I was able to listen to the entire half hour programme! It is wonderful to listen to Mary Stewart reading extracts from her poetry and novels; discussing suspense and whodunnits, her Merlin books, and writing for children; and mentioning Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey. There is a fascinating discussion of faith too.

I cannot share this soundfile with you because it is under copyright but I urge you to contact The Last Word as I did so that you can listen to the entire Bookshelf interview. Here is The Last Word contact page.

As always, please get in touch with any questions or comments on anything in this post, I’d love to hear from you.

Our heroines pictured above from left to right are:

Charity (from Hutchinson Bulls-Eye, 1981, of Madam, Will You Talk?, cover illustrator Francis Phillipps);

Vanessa (from Fawcett paperback, 1966, of Airs Above the Ground, illustrator unknown); and

Perdita (from Woman’s Journal, Fleetway Publications Ltd, June 1960, ‘The Lost One’ , illustrated by William Rose)