- Author Bio
From the award-winning author of The Bellwether Revivals, a bewitching novel set on a mysterious island, where artists strive to recover their lost gifts—and where nothing is quite as it seems.
This beautifully haunting novel transfixes us from its first sentence: “He was just seventeen when he came to Portmantle, a runaway like the rest of us, except there was a harrowed quality about this boy that we had not seen before in any of the newcomers.” Situated on a Turkish island, Portmantle might be the strangest, most exclusive artists’ colony around. Its brilliant residents linger for years, all expenses paid and living under assumed names. Relieved of the burdens of time and ego, they are free to create. Cloaked in secrecy, it feels like the end of the world.
Elspeth Conroy (aka “Knell”) is a Scottish painter who has been at Portmantle for a decade, a refugee from the hectic London art scene. Her fellow longtimers include Quickman, a novelist whose sole book became a classic and paralyzed his muse; MacKinney, a playwright who left behind her family; and Pettifer, an architect obsessing over an unfinished cathedral. In his first novel, Benjamin Wood rendered the mysteries of music with unusual power; in The Ecliptic, he masterfully conjures a painter at work—concocting rare luminous pigments, attacking the canvas, conceiving and abandoning projects.
The hermetic world at Portmantle shatters when the 17-year-old Fullerton arrives at the gates, his provenance and talents unknown. As Knell tries to find answers, she delves into her own past, and we see the path that led her to this place: Her intimate bond with her gruff drunk of a mentor; her early successes and crushing failures; a sortie across the Atlantic and into the psychiatrist’s office; and a grand commission of astronomical significance.
What is “the Ecliptic,” and how does it relate to the life Elspeth left behind? This gorgeous puzzle of a novel is as cunningly constructed as it is emotionally piercing, and the effect is nothing short of electrifying.
Story Locale: London, Turkey
Marketing: Shelf Awareness, NetGalley, and Goodreads promotions and giveaways
White Box mailing
Outreach to online and in-store book clubs
Publicity: Tie in with Penguin Press’s plans:
Feature on PRH Audio website and in Audio e-newsletter
National media campaign
Seed early with print and online reviewers
National and regional review coverage
Fiction media and book page print features
Literary fiction blog and podcast campaign
Pitch trade magazine features
Author Website: www.benjamin-wood.com/
Author Social Media: twitter.com/bwoodauthor
Advance praise for Benjamin Wood:
“Here is such an intense evocation of the hell of creativity that one might begin to wonder whether art is even worth it. Well, yes, it is, case in point being the novel itself: whatever debilitating mental toll it must have taken on Benjamin Wood to sustain such vividness and intelligence for its entire length, we can all be grateful for the result. Terrific.” - Ned Beauman, author of The Teleportation Accident and Glow
“A mark of the elegance and conviction of Wood’s writing is that he absorbs the reader entirely in whichever setting he takes you to…Intricate and ambitious, with shades of Kazuo Ishiguro and Eleanor Catton.” - The Bookseller, featured interview
“Exceptional and beguiling, never less than in the ascendance from the first page to the last. The kind of book that will keep revealing its powers for a long time to come.” - David Whitehouse, author of Bed and Mobile Library