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Blake lends talent to Hoban classic Riddley Walker

By Joe Nerssessian

Sir Quentin Blake has illustrated a limited-edition release of the late writer Russell Hoban's genre-defying novel, Riddley Walker.

Just 1,000 copies will be released. Sir Quentin, who worked with Hoban for more than four decades until the American-born writer's death in 2011, wrote an essay for the book called Draw Is A Intersting Word (sic).

Its title is taken from Hoban's dedication to Sir Quentin in an original copy of the novel.

The new book will cost £295 and also includes a postscript from the former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. First released in 1980, Riddley Walker tells the tale of post-apocalyptic Kent after nuclear catastrophe plunged England back into a second Iron Age.

Of his 39 watercolour illustrations in the special edition novel, Sir Quentin said: "In some ways, I am reluctant to talk about the illustrations.

"But the process is of great interest to me, and not least here, where the invitation was to create images which on the one hand were my drawings and on the other, would be near Riddley's primitive text."

Dr Williams said: "If all good fiction has the effect of making us strange in our own eyes and ears, Hoban's books are very good fiction indeed."

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