This page will alert you to newly added material on this site – as well as any new editions of Jan Mark’s work. Please note that you are more than welcome to contribute content to this site. email jonappletonsbooks (@) gmail.com
Just back from a wonderful weekend in Aldeburgh, at the Penguin Collectors Society conference – thanks to Enid Stephenson, a long-time friend (along with her late husband Chris) of Jan and of mine. I spoke about Puffin Books’ influence on the British children’s publishing world – via Kestrel and Viking – and its burgeoning in Australia from the 70s onwards (especially after Kaye Webb visited in 1977 and launched the Australian Puffin Club). I found Jan through Puffin Australia’s star Robin Klein … the Puffin footprints padded consistently and fervently across the waters. And still do.
So welcome to any new visitors to the site. (There’s lots to explore …) And for old friends – and new – the weekend has made me galvanised to find a way to bring back into print Jan’s ‘older’ short stories, in the wonderful collections Feet, Enough Is Too Much Already, Frankie’s Hat and (one of my all-time favourites) A Can of Worms.
Please watch this space as we approach what would have been Jan’s 80th birthday in 2023 …
It was through reading the work of Australian writer Robin Klein that I was introduced to Jan’s work more than 30 years ago. I’d love if it Jan’s fans visited my new website, lettersfromrobin.com to discover more about my journey through children’s literature from childhood to the present day. Hope to see you there!
For #janMARKuary this year, the wonderful Ben Harris is rereading Handles and commenting on it on ‘One to Read’, his excellent blog.
Just a quick hello to all the new (and returning) visitors to this website. There’s little new to report … but such a lot of visit on this website and of course there’s the books themselves. Such wonderful books. Which of them have you read? Have you read Jan’s collected stories? Anyway … please do get in touch with any thoughts or questions. And feel free to contribute. And do take the Jan Mark Walk if you’re in Norfolk.
16 January 2021
It’s 15 years today since Jan died but her fans are as fervent as ever. Our Flemish colleagues are closing their loving website and we’ve been honoured to host their posts and material here and here – with more to come.
@one_to_read is powering through a second #janMARKuary on Twitter, focusing on Jan’s short stories for older readers. Here is a list of the stories Ben Harris is discussing – everyone is welcome to join in. And here is a complete list of Jan’s published short stories. (I would love to publish a collection of ‘older stories’ to complement The One That Got Away. One day, perhaps …)
My favourite feature of the site is hearing readers’ enduring adoration of Jan’s books. Here, Phillip Rhodes records the significance of Thunder and Lightnings to him and his thoughts about how it could be adapted for cinema. And here, @WaywardRhymes offers a powerful, reflective photographic essay following in Andrew’s and Victor’s footsteps forty-five years on. It’s the perfect tribute to Jan’s art and I’m thrilled and honoured to publish it on this anniversary day.
In this terrible year where nothing seems to have gone right, it’s wonderful to see the Jan Mark Walk information board was successfully installed at Stalham Library in late November. This photo depicts Phil Hanton, who has passionately masterminded the walk, and Sally Kirwan (Stalham Library Friends Chair). To find out more about the brilliant Jan Mark walk, visit the dedicated pages.
Also, for anyone looking for a fabulous Christmas gift, how about the collected stories of Jan Mark, published earlier this year? It even includes some wintry, Christmassy tales perfect for the season.
I loved watching the 1987 TV adaptation of Trouble Half-Way, which included a gorgeous behind-the-scenes documentary – read about it here.
Two terrific new additions to the ‘Working with Jan’ element of the website – Mary Sutcliffe remembers Jan’s work in the classroom and I introduce photographer Andrew Rafferty who describes his collaboration with Jan which illuminates so many of her preoccupations as a writer.
Inspired by Stratford Boys, I’ve taken a look at the way the art of performance features often in Jan’s work.
An update on the Jan Mark Walk in Norfolk, and …
A wonderful reading guide based on the stories in The One That Got Away, prepared by Ben Harris …
… and here’s another fab review of the collection, from award-winning author Linda Newbery. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)
Three wonderful reviews of The One That Got Away:
A Few to Read: Ben Harris
Calmgrove: Chris Lovegrove
The Impossible Library: Nick Campbell
It’s 14 years this month since Jan died – so a fitting time to welcome a new essay on the Remembering Jan section of this website, by Jan’s colleague and friend, the writer Adèle Geras.
A new book page, for God’s Story.
In the January edition of Books for Keeps magazine, I’ve written about Jan’s legacy and the publication of The One That Got Away. Here’s a link to the magazine.
NEW BOOK! If you don’t know about it already, please click here to find out about The One That Got Away, my new collection of 30 Jan Mark short stories, available through the website, which has already attracted acclaim from readers old and new.
If you’re on Twitter, follow the hashtag #janMARKuary – where writing teacher Ben Harris (@one_to_read) is leading a month-long celebration of Jan’s writing, focusing each day on a different story from The One That Got Away.
2 February 2020 – join award-winning author Christopher Edge for the inaugural Classic Children’s Book Club discussion on Twitter. Thunder and Lightnings will be the first title discussed and I’m delighted to be involved. Follow: @ClassicChBkClub. And there’s a copy of the book plus The One That Got Away to WIN. Enter now!
11 February 2020 – I’ll be introducing a panel discussion at Oxford Brookes University called ‘Boxes of Delight: A Discussion on the Relationship Between the Writer and Reader’, with a short talk about Jan Mark. It’s free, so do book your place.
Thrilled to add a brand-new essay by Terry Farish, recounting her friendship with Jan from her days at Oxford Polytechnic.
And delighted to announce the imminent publication of the first new edition of Jan’s short stories for over 15 years. The One That Got Away contains 30 classic stories – some old favourites and others you may not have read.
Neil Philip writes about Jan’s long short story for adults, ‘Childermas’, here.
On the Working with Jan page, Linda Newbery, Narinder Dhami and Jan Sprenger share their experiences of working with Jan, the tutor – while Derek Paice talks about The Storyboat, to which Jan was a regular visitor in the 80s.
The Thunder and Lightnings page now includes an account of how the book is still being celebrated in and around the village of Ingham, where Jan began her writing career. Click here to read on …
Nick Tucker wrote a wonderful tribute to Jan for Carousel magazine, which offers a fine introduction to a variety of her books.
A link to the Jan Mark archive at Seven Stories in Newcastle – with wonderful photos from the collection.
The deeper I delve into the world of Jan Mark fandom, the more lasting connections are revealed. As an artist herself, Jan was very interested in the illustration of her work. David Parkins collaborated on five books with Jan and his account of working together is illuminating. David and Jan eventually met at Jan’s first book launch in Norwich (for Out of the Oven), at The Hungate Bookshop, owned by Chris and Enid Stephenson, and I’m pleased to add Chris‘s memories of Jan to the site. The launch was in 1986 – the year Maurice Lyon joined Penguin Books and became Jan’s editor for many years. So it’s wonderful to add his memories to the Working With Jan page.
And finally, to celebrate National Poetry Day, Mick Gowar has written an insightful and enlightening essay about Jan’s only poetry collection, Momma Travels Light.
New to Remembering Jan are not-to-be-missed recollections of two of her school friends, Bernadette Watts and Jane Sherman.
22.06.19 – Jan Mark’s birthday
Here’s a wonderfully wide-ranging interview conducted by Neil Philip that covers so many of Jan’s interests and views, perfect for dipping into.
Added to Remembering Jan is Julia Eccleshare’s eulogy, delivered at the memorial service held in April 2006. It’s a beautiful, insightful piece that perfectly capture’s Jan’s personality.
29.05.19 – SITE LAUNCHES.