Special measures for Picador's Station Eleven

Special measures for Picador's Station Eleven

Picador is to insert a loose-sheet, single-page comic in all first edition copies of Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

As well as the comic insert, Picador is also planning a series of activities around the 10th September release of the novel, including a competition with Goldsboro Books.

Station Eleven, Mandel’s first book in the UK, is a post-apocalyptic novel set in a world where more than 99% of the population has been wiped out by flu. The comic, also called "Station Eleven", forms a central part of the novel. The comic insert is designed by Nathan Burton, who also designed the cover for the book.

Sophie Jonathan, assistant editor at Picador, said: “Throughout the novel, Station Eleven [the comic] is this intriguing artefact, something that we know intimately on both sides of the novel’s narrative divide: from the pre-collapse era when Miranda is writing it, finding solace in her drawings (it’s a real passion project), and 20 years on from the collapse when Kirsten treasures these comics as one of the few things she was able to save from her childhood, aware too that she’s never seen anything like them.

“At various points in the novel Emily describes certain sections of the comic so vividly and so for the reader they become incredibly real as the artefact that ties so many characters together.

“There’s a moment in Station Eleven when a single page from the comic drops from between the pages of another book, and so we decided to echo that experience for the reader. By that point in the novel the reader knows a lot about the comic, so I hope it feels like a really thrilling discovery.”

Picador is also planning a series of events post-publication to promote the book.

Sam Eades, head of publicity (crime and genre) at Pan Macmillan, said: “Due to amazing early response to the book from authors, booksellers and bloggers, we have decided to bring Emily over to the UK around publication for a week of press interviews, signings and events.”

Events include the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club at Waterstones Piccadilly on 29th September, a lunchtime signing at Waterstones Stratford Upon Avon (30th September), Meet the Authors: Pizza, Picador and Proofs at Dulwich Books (2nd October), and an event at Toppings in Ely (3rd October).

On 30th September Mandel will also be doing a Grazia magazine salon with Jessie Burton and Laura Bates, discussing ambition and what success means today.

Goldsboro Books, which swiftly sold out of its 250 numbered editions of the novel, is working with Picador to ask readers for their suggestions of items which would go in a Museum of Civilisation, another concept from the novel in which a character creates a museum showcasing items from before the flu. Suggestions so far include a number of books, a Swiss Army knife, and a copy of Hello magazine so “survivors know how not to rebuild civilisation”.

Harry Illingworth from Goldsboro Books said: “It’s nice to see people are supporting the idea and getting involved with an independent bookshop.”

The museum will be displayed in the window of Goldsboro Books, and all those who suggest an item will be put into a prize draw to win the contents of the window.

Readers can suggest items by tweeting “I would save” and their object @GoldsboroBooks using the hashtag #Station11 or by emailing Station11@goldsborobooks.com before Friday 29th August.