A children’s picture book by a Goldsmiths graduate - part-inspired by another Goldsmiths graduate’s ‘90s pop hit - will be published by a Goldsmiths lecturer’s independent publishing house on Monday 25 January.
Park Life by Brixton resident Emmanuelle Smith is a love letter to south London’s Brockwell Park, and takes inspiration from cultural references as diverse as Dylan Thomas, John Donne, and Blur - the band formed after Alex James met Graham Coxon at Goldsmiths in 1989.
Emmanuelle is an editor and journalist who has worked for the Financial Times, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Big Issue. She has previously taught French at secondary school level, and holds an MA in Journalism from Goldsmiths (2008), and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Southampton. She lives in Brixton, South London with her husband and two young children.
Published by Fisherton Press and produced by Emmanuelle with Central St Martins alumna Cally Lathey, Park Life tells the story of a day in the life of a park, its users and its inhabitants, from dawn until dusk.
Although Park Life is clearly set in Brockwell Park, with its views of London in the distance and its recognisable café and lido, it represents every park in every city in the world.
Park Life continues in the 'people-watching' tradition of artists such as Seurat with his painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - as well as Blur's 1994 indie anthem Parklife - by depicting the loves and pastimes that take place in such everyday surroundings.
Emmanuelle said: “It's no exaggeration to say that for ten years, Brockwell Park has been my refuge. A swim in the lido, a trip to the playground, an ice cream at the house on the hill, or a peaceful moment in the secret garden - all leave me inspired and refreshed. Park Life is a homage to Brockwell Park and its people. I hope readers will recognise in it something of their own special park.”
Ellie Levenson, Director of Fisherton Press, is a lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, and author of a number of books for young people and adults, including 2015’s The Election and 2009’s The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism. She launched Fisherton Press in 2013 to produce top-quality children's books that adults also enjoy.
Ellie adds: “All children should be familiar with parks and Park Life seeks to take this everyday setting and start them thinking about the stories behind the other people using the park. Emmanuelle’s love for the area shines through the poetic text of the book and Cally’s beautiful illustrations bring the activities of the park to life in a vibrant and exciting way.”
Illustrator Cally Lathey said: “I produce my artwork using a variety of fine liner pens to create marks and layers of fine detail. I draw inspiration from 1950s advertising for my colour palette and use hundreds of different pens to create lots of colour. I like to hide images within the detail of my work and hope that each time people look at it, they will discover something new.”
Find out more on the Fisherton Press website.