Harvill Secker snaps up stonemason Beatrice Searle's debut

Harvill Secker snaps up stonemason Beatrice Searle's debut

A book by stonemason Beatrice Searle, billed as “part memoir, part meditation on stone and the transformative power of craft”, will be published by Harvill Secker.

Ellie Steel, senior editor at the Vintage imprint, acquired world English language rights to the debut from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates, for publication in spring 2022.

“Part memoir, part meditation on stone and the transformative power of craft, Stone will Answer by Beatrice Searle reveals the author’s intimate knowledge of stone as a trained stonemason and explores what stone means to her,” Harvill Secker said. “Throughout human history, people and cultures have been on the move, often taking with them objects that define and strengthen them. At 26, Beatrice made a journey of 1,300 miles from Orkney across Norway and back, with a 40-kilo piece of Orkney stone. Stone will Answer is framed around this journey and the people she encounters along the way, as the stone becomes a talisman of sorts, a bedrock of home, inspired by the ancient ‘Kingship’ stone, St Magnus’ Boat.”

The synopsis reads: “Shot through with insights into the language and inner life of stone and stories from Beatrice’s own life and work, Stone will Answer reflects on solidity and transience, drawing together elements of geology and ecology, philosophy and personal enquiry. It will introduce readers to the fascinating craft of stonemasonry, while exploring notions of resilience, belonging, nomadism and knowing where to plant your feet.”

Originally from Wales, Searle now lives and works in Glasgow. She trained in Fine Art and apprenticed in stonemasonry at Lincoln Cathedral. Her multidisciplinary practice draws on ecological and geological research to explore how human beings connect to their landscape and natural environment. She said: “It was very important to me to work with someone who understood all the layers of the story I wanted to tell, and I feel that Ellie and Harvill Secker really do. I’m so happy to be working with them, on a very different kind of journey now.”

Steel added: “I’m thrilled we’ll be publishing Stone will Answer. Bea writes so beautifully on craft and technique, our relationship to landscape, migration, and our longing to set down roots coupled with the desire, and sometimes the need, to be on the move. This is a book of both inner landscapes and deep connection with the material and the outside world.”