Tuesday 27 October 2020

The Midnight Fair - Guest Author Post

We're thrilled to invite Gideon Sterer onto the Picture Book Party blog to tell us all about the making of his new book, The Midnight Fair, illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio.

Far from the city, but not quite in the countryside, lies a fairground. When night falls, and the fair is empty, something unexpected happens. Wild animals emerge from the trees, a brave raccoon pulls a lever, and the rollercoasters and rides explode back into bright, neon life. Now it’s time for the woodland creatures to have some fun…

Guest Author Post - Gideon Sterer

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by where human civilization bumps up against the natural world and the liminal boundary both share. The edge of a cornfield against the woods. A shed overtaken by vines.  An old stone staircase disappeared by time. Many people share a fondness for this sort of thing but growing up in the last house on a dead-end road at the edge of legitimate wilderness, something about this dynamic really stuck with me.


Couple that with the fact that my parents owned a “wildlife discovery centre” and had all sorts of peculiar animals living with us inside our house and the traditional borders of man and wild were particularly skewed.

Once a year, like so many rural places in the United States, a County Fair came to town. Our fairgrounds more or less did nothing the rest of year, lying dormant until the big spectacle rolled in. I remember always wondering as a kid what the animals thought about this disruption. For them, I imagined, it must have been incomprehensibly bizarre. Naturally, I began wondering if they ever came in at night and checked it out and some 20 years later this book seems the logical conclusion of that curiosity.

It’s important for me to depict animals as curious, loving, intelligent and noble creatures deserving our utmost respect. In both the wild and captivity, animals of all stripes and sizes seek out play, deriving from it the same joys we do. There's no reason to believe their experiences are any less valuable. My dream is that children experiencing this story can empathize with and feel kindred to the animals as they seek wonder, share love, and chase their noses in search of a grand old time. Multiple character storylines and an incredibly virtuous wolf pup will hopefully abet that hope!

To me, what Marichiara Di Gorgio has done with the concept is literally breathtaking. I am legitimately floored every time I open the book and the degree of emotional detail and overall watercolour wizardry is something to truly behold. I am so massively lucky to work with her and I can’t wait for readers to share her world!

- Gideon Sterer

A special thanks to our guest author this week, Gideon Sterer!

The Midnight Fair is now available to buy from all good booksellers.