The Slipstream

A degree of the surreal,

The not-entirely-real,

And the markedly anti-real.

The Journey Ends…Or Does It?

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Tomorrow, this Greylands Launch site in all its depth and complexity, will self-destruct. I know it is wonderful – so much more than I imagined when Min and I devised it in theory- and I am touched how many emails and posts asked that it be left up, but in general, beautiful things do not last forever- indeed it may be part of their beauty that they are destined to fall.

Greylands, old and new.

What I would like to announce today, the penultimate announcement, is that one of the amazing things that has happened during the creation and the month and a bit during which the site had been live, is how much interest my eBook experiment stirred up in a very practical way, around my out of print books.

Greylands is now on the verge of being optioned as a movie and being remade as an audio book. And as a direct result of this site, the book also to be released again, re-edited with an accompanying essay, in traditional print form as a paperback from Ford Street Publishers. Indeed the book will be officially launched in its newest incarnation by Maureen McCarthy at the Victorian RACV club on October 1, as part of the aptly named Keeping Books Alive Conference ( for further details).

The conference is open only to delegates, but we will have a public event afterwards to celebrate, details to be announced on the Ford Street website.

I can tell you my delight upon receiving my advance copy of this incarnation of the book was no less keen than when the book was first published by Penguin, and I got that in the mail! The cover is lovely!

And it is not just Greylands.

When Peter Mounsey, to whom you have been introduced on this site, suggested the possibility of enhancing an existing out of print picture book, I was interested. It seemed a very logical extension of my eBook experiment. I wrote to the publishers to formally require a reversion of rights to both Journey from the Centre of the Earth and Dreamwalker, both of which seemed as if they might be enhanced to good effect. I had also spoken to Marc Mc Bride, who illustrated Journey, and was as delighted as I was when Hachette asked if they could republish the book, and in fact, I have already received my advance copies. I had agreed on our behalf, that Hachette could reprint and create an eBook, but we retained the right to create an enhanced version. This is currently in process and down the track, I will certainly write and talk about our journey to turn the book into an enhanced eBook.

As for Dreamwalker, which is a picture book I had created in tandem with the late and wonderfully talented Steven Woolman, after the rights had reverted, a conversation with Helen Chamberlin led to Windy Hollow offering to reproduce the book in print form, reformatted as a graphic novel.

This was an exciting idea because I am working on a graphic novel, which Windy Hollow will publish. And while I have loved Dreamwalker, there were things both Steve and I had thought we might have done differently. Thus began the long route to tracking down artwork, which involved numerous emails, some to the Lu Rees Archive, where, as it turned out, the majority of the art resided, having been donated. It was agreed that Windy Hollow would produce a print version of the novel, re edited and reformatted as a graphic novel, and that they would be able to produce an eBook of this novel, but once again, I retained the right to create an enhanced form of the book with Peter.

The fact that Steve had died was tragic for he was a bright, gentle, wonderfully talented and quiet young man, and of course it meant we were unable to consult. But Steve’s agent came to me after I had spoken at the CBC conference in Adelaide earlier this year, to explain she was retiring and that Steve’s parents had decided to assign me the right to deal with his artwork in these new projects, so this considerably simplified matters. I was deeply touched, too, for I knew Steve had been very close to his parents and I look forward to one day giving them several new versions of their son’s artwork.

These enhanced books will be available down the track, to be bought, if all goes well. I promise to keep you posted!


To find the answer to this question, check out the final announcement on the site tomorrow…

5 Responses

  1. Caroline Niegsch says:

    I am delighted – and grateful to Isobelle of course – for being part of the next step to take her wonderful novel „Greylands“ to yet another level by making this amazing book available to German readers. Having met Isobelle a couple of years ago at a small book fair in Prague I truely fell in love with her books which till then were sadly unkown to me.
    Having previously translated „Dreamwalker“ and „The Journey from the Centre of the Earth“ into German, I found „Greylands“ even more complex and deep, and like many other readers have said so on this site, it is definitely one of my favourite books ever!

    But it is not only the beauty of her language and the intensity with which Isobelle tackles this difficult subject of death in her unique poetic style which makes this book so compelling to me, but also the parallels with the story which I see in my life right now.

    As we are in the process of taking the giant leap from being expats for over twelve years in different countries of Europe and Turkey to going back to our home country, there is a feeling of fear, of letting go for good or, as Hermann Hesse put it so aptly in his poem „My Life“, the realisation that the last phase of one’s period of life carries the tint of wilting and dying.
    Also not having lived in my home country for more than a decade means that my home country doesn’t feel like an authentic place to me right now, but rather a collection of unrelated reflections, not quite colourless, but definitely not real either.
    Very much like Jack I find that the story of our journey cannot be told chronologically, but everything is interwoven, which makes it sometimes difficult to move beyond the description of facts and to share those inner stories, too.
    Last but not least, the same as Jack is deeply moved first by meeting the laughing beast and then the Monster Man, I have found myself in a similar situation where I cannot free those who are suffering, but can only give them the gift of my compassion and love.

    As „Greylands“ has become such an intricate part of my life it is my sincere wish that I will find the right words to convey Isobelle’s images in such a way that the pictures she paints in her magnificient language will enchant the German readers as much as her English spoken ones!

  2. Maureen says:

    Greylands a movie? Wonderful news, Isobelle!

    I am also really intrigued by the ways graphic novels can be enhanced by etechnology so I am interested to read about the process when you do so on your new blog.

    Before I vanish from the comments thread, I’d just like to say one last thing: it’s things like this website that make you such a wonderful role model for young writers. Pushing at the edges of what’s known is exciting, and the only other writer I can think of who does the same is Neil Gaiman. Thanks for being an inspiration to me. I am sure you will continue to be one in the future for myself and others.

  3. Steve Levakisw says:

    What a great idea to create a forum on the battle (?) between the electronic and hard-copy form of the book. There’s so much here to read and think about. My own thoughts?

    I look at my bookshelves spilling over with stories that I have promised dearly that I will read one day. They are spilling over, I have no more room. But I look at them in expectation that I will get through them, eventually. So I read but also look forward to having more time to complete the journey. Space is an issue. Part of me enjoys looking at the books that I will one day read (hoping to hell that I will long enough to get through them), part of me wishes to load them into a swag, an electronic swag so that I can carry them with me wherever I am. To mull over a thought, to return to a piece of prose or a story. To show others what inspires me.

    Having said that, I feel fortunate that Ihave a hard copy library. It enables me to look at the wall of ideas, a mirrorred abstract reflection of who I am, where I have come from, where I hope to be, all along fed and nurtured by the thoughts of others.

    • Steve turns out there is a word for it: tsundoku which means piling up books and not reading them or letting books pile up unread on shelves, the floor and nightstands. 🙂 I suffer from it too, but like you I look at the tottering piles and relish the day when I am going to be able to read them- a binge of reading – yum. I manage about one each time I am in Australia, and if unread, they come back with me to Prague- this time it was Russel Hoban’s Soonchild.

  4. Emily Craven says:

    Dreamwalker is one of my favourite books of yours Isobelle. I truly cannot wait to see what it can become.