This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.
Today we're launching Endlings, by Joanna Lilley, which David Suzuki calls "a frightening reminder that Nature is our Mother and source of life."
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.
It’s a book of poems about extinct animals but it includes species who lived long before we did so it’s not just a rant against humans, and it will probably make you cry.
Describe your ideal reader.
Loves animals, can’t watch films with animals in them because they never end well, not sure if poetry is their thing but will give it a go and then be pleasantly surprised that actually poetry isn’t so bad and even possibly quite good.
What authors/books is your work in conversation with?
Elizabeth Kolbert, Jane Goodall, David Day, George Monbiot, Catherine Owen and Basma Kavanagh.
What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/ your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?
All I want to do now is carry on writing about animals but Laura, the protagonist of the novel I’m working on, isn’t so sure about that because she’s got other things to worry about than animals, thank you very much.
What is something your ideal interviewer would ask you about your book?
How many of your pets have you secretly inserted into the poems?
An important part of any book launch is the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project.
I’m grateful to my friend James Wigmore who gave me the word “endling”, which means the last living member of a species, and thus the title of the book.
What are you reading right now or next?
I’m about to start Laura K McRae’s poetry collection, Were There Gazelle. We did a book swap by mail because the event where we were going to read together at knife fork book in Toronto in April was cancelled. It’s got a gorgeous painting of a gazelle on the cover by Myriam Rousseau.
Endlings takes us across continents and through the long expanse of aeons to give voice to the dead. In poems that are lyrical, exact, and deeply melancholic, Joanna Lilley demands audience for the final moments of animal extinction. From the zebra-horse quagga and chiding dodo, to the giant woolly mammoth and delicate Xerces Blue Butterfly, the haunting, urgent words of these "endlings" cut to the bone to expose the brutality of Nature and the devastating repercussions of human ignorance and intent, while giving hope that our humanity will help save what remains.
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