Conversations with Richard Fidler

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Richard Fidler on ABC Radio's Conversations program about The Good People and the fairy lore of Ireland. 

Our chat is now up online at ABC Radio, and can also be downloaded here, or as a podcast here. Alternatively, you can listen to it here!

About this Episode:

In pre-famine, rural Ireland, people dwelled within layers of folk and fairy lore connected to every aspect of their lives.

At the milking of cows, in the nurturing of expectant mothers, and in the old women paid to 'keen' after a death, ritual and superstition were ever-present.

Rural Irish folk used the term 'good people', to refer to their fairies, who were nothing like modern iterations.

These fairies could bestow favour or grave misfortune; including abducting people, and transforming them to changelings.

Australian novelist Hannah Kent discovered an account of a crime committed in pre-famine County Kerry which she couldn't forget.

The crime and the accused were steeped in 19th Century folk culture, and the details were shocking.

To imagine how the events unfolded, Hannah immersed herself in the lore and landscape of rural Ireland, and the lives of three women. 

Further information:

The Good People is published by Picador.

Listen to Hannah's 2013 conversation with Richard, about her life and the story behind Burial Rites.

Duration: 52min 15sec
Broadcast: Tue 27 Sep 2016, 11:00am
Published: Wed 21 Sep 2016, 1:51am

Designing the UK Cover

Picador UK recently spoke to Art Director, Rachel Vale, about how the beautiful cover design for the UK edition of The Good People came about. 

'It was an absolute joy working on The Good People. From the very opening pages I was overwhelmed by the rural landscape and how intrinsically it echoed the beauty and fragility of the lives it surrounded. The atmosphere the book created for me was almost a physical one that stayed with me long after I finished reading.

And it was this quiet, rugged beauty that I wanted to convey in the package for The Good People: the wonder of the natural world and its stunning detail. I have long been excited by the idea of using a leaf skeleton on a book cover, and the journey of its decay coupled with the strength it retains is a perfect motif for The Good People.

We have used an uncoated paper stock and printed foil on top of it, emphasising the bareness of the leaf's surroundings.

The foil itself plays over and under the typography, as though almost adapting to the nature of the letterforms. Depending on the time of day, the natural light and how it reflects on the foil, this cover feels new almost every time you look at it.'

For more information about the UK publication of The Good People, please look here.