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Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman - new S/C book His Dark Materials , Golden Compass companion

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Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman - new S/C book His Dark Materials , Golden Compass companion

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Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman - new S/C book His Dark Materials , Golden Compass companion

LYRA'S OXFORD

by Philip Pullman

A new episode in the His Dark Materials Trilogy. 

New small softcover book, 64 pages.

An exciting new tale set in the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials saga. Lyra's Oxford is a collectible softcover volume which includes a short story, Lyra and the Birds, plus a fold-out map of Oxford and various "souvenirs" from the past. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence.

Lyra and the Birds opens two years after the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass in the comfort and familiarity of Jordan College, where Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, sit on the sun-drenched roof looking out over all of Oxford. But their peace is shattered when a strange bird - a witch's daemon,on its own - tumbles out of the sky., in search of a healing elixir to cure his witch of a strange new disease. Lyra and Pan decide to help - witches are friends, of course - but the closer their winding walk leads them toward the infamous Oxford alchemist, the stronger Lyra's sense that something is amiss.

 About the Author

Philip Pullman CBE (born October 19, 1946) is an English writer. He is the best-selling author of His Dark Materials, a trilogy of fantasy novels, and a number of other books.

 Biography

Pullman was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England, to RAF pilot Alfred Outram and Audrey Evelyn Merrifield. The family travelled with his father's job, including to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he spent time at school. His father was killed in a plane crash in 1953 when Pullman was seven. His mother remarried and with a move to Australia came Pullman's discovery of comic books including Superman and Batman, a medium which he continues to espouse. From 1957 he was educated at Ysgol Ardudwy school in Harlech, Gwynedd and spent time in Norfolk with his grandfather, a clergyman. Around this time Pullman discovered John Milton's Paradise Lost, which would become a major influence for His Dark Materials.

From 1963 Pullman attended Exeter College, Oxford, receiving a Third class BA in 1968, in an interview with the Oxford Student he stated that "he did not really enjoy the English course" and that "I thought I was doing quite well until I came out with my third class degree and then I realised that I wasn’t — it was the year they stopped giving fourth class degrees otherwise I’d have got one of those". He discovered William Blake's illustrations around 1970, which would also later influence him greatly

Pullman married Judith Speller in 1970 and began teaching children and writing school plays. His first published work was The Haunted Storm, which joint-won the New English Library's Young Writer's Award in 1972. He nevertheless refuses to discuss it. Galatea, an adult fantasy-fiction novel, followed in 1978, but it was his school plays which inspired his first children's book, Count Karlstein, in 1982. He stopped teaching around the publication of The Ruby in the Smoke (1986), his second children's book, whose Victorian setting is indicative of Pullman's interest in that era.

Pullman taught part-time at Westminster College, Oxford between 1988 and 1996, continuing to write children's stories. He began His Dark Materials about 1993. Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in the US) was published in 1996 and won the Carnegie Medal, one of the most prestigious British children's fiction awards, and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award.

Pullman has been writing full-time since 1996, but continues to deliver talks and writes occasionally for The Guardian. He was awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours list in 2004. Pullman also began lecturing at a seminar in English at his alma mater, Exeter College, Oxford, in 2004. He is currently working on The Book of Dust, a sequel to his completed His Dark Materials trilogy.

His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials consists of Northern Lights (titled The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (see also a short companion piece, Lyra's Oxford, containing items of interest and a short story, as well as the yet-unpublished prequel, The Book of Dust ).

The first volume of the trilogy, Northern Lights, won the Carnegie Medal for children's fiction in the UK in 1995. The Amber Spyglass, the last volume, was awarded both 2001 Whitbread Prize for best children's book and the Whitbread Book of the Year prize in January 2002, the first children's book to receive that award. The trilogy won popular acclaim in late 2003, taking third place in the BBC's Big Read poll.

In 2005 Pullman was announced as joint winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children's literature.

 Philosophical and religious perspective

Pullman is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

The His Dark Materials books have been at the heart of controversy, especially with certain Christian groups. Some, including Peter Hitchens, claim that he actively pursues an anti-Christian agenda. Proponents of this view cite the critical articles he has written regarding C. S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia (which Pullman denounces as religious propaganda), and the usually negative portrayal of the "Church" in His Dark Materials.

The two series have some resemblance. Both feature children facing adult moral choices, talking animals, religious allegories, parallel worlds, and concern the ultimate fate of those worlds. The first published Narnia book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, begins with a young girl hiding in a wardrobe, as does the first His Dark Materials book, Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in North America).

Some, including Hitchens again, have seen the His Dark Materials series as a direct rebuttal of C. S. Lewis's series.Pullman has also criticised the way Lewis excludes the character Susan from the final 'heaven' scenes in The Last Battle, saying she is rejected for her growing worldliness. Lewis devotees argue that Pullman has read too deeply into this; Lewis made no statement about Susan's ultimate destiny, and never excluded the possibility of her rejoining her friends in heaven later, as they are dead and she is still alive.

However, Pullman has found support from other Christians, most notably Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. These groups and individuals point out that Pullman's attacks are focused on the constraints of dogmatism and the use of religion to oppress, not on Christianity itself. Dr. Williams has gone so far as to propose that His Dark Materials be taught as part of religious education in schools. Moreover, even authors of works dedicated to critical appraisals of religious themes in his writing have described Pullman as a friendly and generous debating partner.

Screen adaptations

* A film adaptation of The Butterfly Tattoo  is set to film in 2007. It is a Philip Pullman supported project to allow young artists a chance to get film industry experience.
* A co-produced BBC and WGBH Boston television adaptation of The Ruby in the Smoke, starring Billie Piper and Julie Walters, was screened in the UK on BBC One on 27 December 2006 and premiered on PBS Masterpiece Theatre in America on February 4, 2007. The BBC and WGBH have plans to adapt the other three Sally Lockhart novels, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess, for television.
* A film adaptation, titled His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, is to be released in December 2007 by New Line Cinema, starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue Richards.

The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and Lyra's Oxford are all available at The Bookshelf of Oz. His Dark Materials is available as a set of 3 softcover books.

 

To purchase audiobooks in the His Dark Materials Trilogy, click here to visit The House of Oojah

See books in the His Dark Materials trilogy and other Philip Pullman books click here

Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman

 

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