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We’re back…with the social distancing Ransome book

Edit 01.09.20: The audio version of Picts and Martyrs was available until the end of August, 2020 when our special lockdown copyright commitment expired. We are grateful to the Arthur Ransome Trust and the Arthur Ransome Literary Estate for their advice and generosity.

Watch this space for more Ransome readings in the future.

Further adventures from the stories of Arthur Ransome are to be read in a literary marathon during lockdown.

A team of 30 Ransome fans will read a chapter each of his book The Picts and the Martyrs, which is in the Swallows and Amazons series of children’s stories, set in the Lake District.

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The readers will record their own chapters, and the entire book will be published – chapter by chapter – online. The broadcasts will start during May; watch this space for further updates.

The project comes from the group who have already staged two marathon readings of Ransome’s work. They read Swallows and Amazons from a makeshift tent on the shores of Coniston Water. And last autumn they spent a day at Coppermines Youth Hostel reading Pigeon Post, which is set in the valley there.

pigeon post

Pigeon Post, read last year at the Coppermines valley

It’s being organised by writer and photographer Chris Routledge and will include other writers, actors, broadcasters and Ransome fans old and young.

Among them are Christina Hardyment, who wrote a memorable tale of a search for Ransome’s locations in the Lakes, Arthur Ransome and Captain Flint’s Trunk*; and Sophie Neville, who starred in the original 1974 film of Swallows and Amazons, and has written her account of The Making of Swallows and Amazons*.

Becky Heaton Cooper, of Grasmere’s Heaton Cooper Studio, will be taking part, along with BBC broadcaster Caz Graham and her daughter Lucy; actor Matt Addis; adventurer Jen Scotney; and the “Cumbrian Rambler” Beth Pipe.

The Picts and the Martyrs tells of how Dick and Dorothea are unwelcome visitors at the home of the Amazons when the Great Aunt comes to stay, and they have to live in an old hut in the woods.

Said Chris Routledge: “It seemed a very appropriate story for a time of social isolation. The sub-title is Not welcome at all. Nancy and Peggy desperately wanted their friends to stay in the house with them, but they weren’t allowed. We know now how they felt.

He added: “It’s another of Ransome’s wonderfully imaginative stories, with great characters and a terrific plot, although the Swallows don’t appear in this one.”

If you’d like to read the book for yourself, it’s here https://bit.ly/2Yj5fAL

at the webshop of Grasmere bookseller Sam Read:  https://samread1887.square.site/

* Also available via Sam Read’s webshop.