Former member of The Maccabees, Orlando Weeks, has created an illustrated children’s book about a gritterman for Penguin Press.
The “beautifully illustrated story” is about a “seasonal hero and the work he loves” and will be published by the publisher's imprint, Particular Books, on 7th September, priced at £17.99, with an accompanying album featuring narration from comedian Paul Whitehouse (pictured with Weeks).
Helen Conford, publishing director at Penguin Press acquired world English rights for Particular Books, from Annabel Merullo at PFD.
The Gritterman combines “original storytelling, illustration and music” telling the story of a man saying goodbye to the job that he loves. The protaganist uses his vehicle as an ice-cream van in summer but “has no passion for ice-cream” and it is in the winter when he is a gritterman that “he comes into his own” until the council insists his services are no longer required.
A PRH spokesperson said: “Told over the course of a night the reader is given an insight into the pleasures of night work and the comfort that comes from having a sense of purpose. Stoic and unfussy, our seasonal hero goes about business trying to ignore the inevitable sunrise and with it his retirement.”
Weeks studied illustration at Brighton University before spending a decade as a frontman in the indie group The Maccabees providing vocals, guitar, keyboards. Last year when the group decided to disband he began writing the book. The band played their last gig at London’s Alexandra Palace last month.
The album is a companion to the book and stars Whitehouse as The Gritterman. His narration of the text is accompanied by music and songs written by Weeks "with nods to Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Bill Fay" and produced Grammy-winning producer Markus Dravs (Björk, Arcade Fire, Florence & The Machine) and pianist David O’Dowda.
Weeks said: “I had written a song about the idea of a seasonal hero. My hero in the song was a man that gritted roads and as I worked on the song, The Gritterman’s character began to form. The more I worked on the song the more I got attached to the character and it was that attachment that was the starting point for the book.”
Although best known for music, Weeks was first drawn to art. He studied Fine Arts at the Camberwell College of Arts before pursuing a degree in Illustration at the University of Brighton.
For more information, visit orlandoweeks.co.uk.