Hamish Hamilton will publish The Lost Spells, a new collaboration from Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, the bestselling duo behind The Lost Words, later this year.
The publisher said: "For the hundreds of thousands of readers around the world who love The Lost Words [published by Hamish Hamilton in 2017] –– now comes its sequel, The Lost Spells; a book that is kindred in spirit, tone and magic, but distinct in form."
"Shortly after finishing work on The Lost Words, Macfarlane was sitting at the bedside of his 101-year-old grandmother in what turned out to be the last days of her long, long life," the publisher said. "Reflecting on what she had seen in the course of her century – and thinking about hope and despair, light and darkness – he began writing a ‘Goldfinch’ spell in a notebook while she slept."
"God knows this world needs all the good it can get right now and – Out in the woods, the fields, goldfinches are gilding the land for free...", it began. He sent Morris a handwritten version of the finished spell and she painted a goldfinch – the Irish name for which is An Lasair Choille, meaning ‘Flame of the Forest’, ‘Light of the Woods’ – perched on a teasel, set against glowing gold-leaf.
Simon Prosser, publishing director at Hamish Hamilton bought world rights excluding North America from Jessica Woollard at David Higham Associates. The Lost Spells will be published on 1st October 2020 in the UK as a small-format hardback.
"The Lost Spells is a pocket-sized treasure that introduces a beautiful new set of natural ‘spell-poems’ and artwork by Macfarlane and Morris," Hamish Hamilton said. "As in The Lost Words, these spells take their subjects from relatively common – and yet often underappreciated – animals, birds, trees and flowers; from Barn Owl to Red Fox, Grey Seal to Silver Birch, Jay to Jackdaw. But these new spells break out of the triptych format of The Lost Words, finding new shapes, new spaces and new voices with which to conjure."
Hamish Hamilton said the book was written "to be read aloud or set to music and sung, painted in brushstrokes that call to the forest, field, riverbank and also to the heart... summmons back what is often lost from sight and care, and inspires protection and action on behalf of the natural world".
The Lost Words was a bestseller, selling 138,655 copies for £2.14m according to Nielsen BookScan, and sparked dozens of fundraising campaigns. A two-year grassroots movement to donate a copy of the book to every primary school in England, Wales and Scotland is apparently now nearing completion. It has shipped around a quarter of a million hardback copies in just over two years, Hamish Hamilton said, and won the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book of the Year Awards, the Books Are My Bag Beautiful Book Award, the Hay Festival Book of the Year, and the Kate Greenaway Medal. It has been translated into German, French, Dutch, Swedish and Welsh and been adapted for film, drama, dance, radio, classical music, folksong, jigsaws, board games and puppet-theatre.