Thursday, 5 April 2012


Novelist, painter, illustrator, poet and musician Catherine Edmunds knows a thing or five about how art can become much more than a mere part of life.

And her multiple talents and passions shine through every page of her third novel, Serpentine, released today (April 6) by BeWrite Books..

She lives by her opening quotation in the book from 19th Century German philosopher, writer and composer Friedrich Nietzsche: ‘Art is the proper task of life.’

But although recognized and recorded human art dates back at least as far as the vibrant finger-daubings of our cave-dwelling ancestors, Catherine embraces new ways of expressing and exposing it. 

Serpentine is not the first of her heart-wrung works to make use traditional publishing skills and standards but also of state-of-the art technology to publish in modern electronic editions rather than print.

   Here’s what Serpentine is all about ...

Victoria defines herself by her art. Painting isn’t a job – it’s an absolute need and the reason for her existence. But how is she to bridge the gap between her ambitions and her yearning for human relationships ... and love?

José gives her the intensity she craves but has no interest in her as an artist. Simon is mature and loving but his gentleness and inability to understand her desires drives her to distraction. John understands exactly who she is, but unnerves her with his piercing perceptiveness and violent nature (she knows who gave her friend Emma the bruises she carries on her face).

And throughout the snaking tangle of burning emotions to decide, she paints: tying down memories in cadmium yellow, burning canvases that reveal too much, whilst trying desperately to pay the bills.

The story is set in London and the North East of England and written by a Londoner who now lives in the North East. Author Catherine Edmunds has haunted the London galleries and seen the works that moved Victoria to tears; she’s shivered on the beach at Alnmouth as the bitter haar mist rolls in from the grey North Sea; she’s been overwhelmed by Durham Cathedral; she’s sat by the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park. And she’s ached to sketch what she felt.

As a gifted artist herself – creating both the cover art and an inside self-portrait for Serpentine – Catherine probes the profound questions faced by Victoria. Why do contemporary artists do what they do? Why are they so seemingly hell-bent on self-destruction? And what does all that stuff in Tate Modern art gallery really mean?

Author Catherine Edmunds
Catherine Edmunds was born in Kent, England and educated at Dartington College of Arts and Goldsmith’s College, London.

After a successful career as a professional musician, she re-invented herself as a portrait artist, illustrator and writer. She still teaches music but also works professionally as an illustrator and author with more than 250 poems and short stories in print.

Her illustrations can be seen in Daniel Abelman’s ALLAKAZZAM! (BeWrite Books), Irene Thompson’s A-Z of Punishment and Torture and her solo poetry collection, wormwood, earth and honey (Circaidy Gregory Press). Her magical realism novel Small Poisons (Circaidy Gregory Press) was published in 2009.

Reviews, competition successes, other publications and examples of her work can be found at her lively website.

She now lives a busier-than-ever life in the north east of England.

A free 37-page mini-book brochure of Serpentine, including cover, book notes, author biography and picture, and a generous extract is available HERE for download, reading on screen or printing out.

Serpentine is now available in all ebook formats from the BeWrite Books Bookstore or from all major online ebook-stores and many second-tier online retailers for reading on any electronic platform from PCs and laptops, through the full range of ebook-dedicated reading devices and tablets, to iPods and smart phones.

For those interested in the details: Author: Catherine Edmunds. Editor: Hugh McCracken. Cover art: Catherine Edmunds. Cover and text design and technical preparation: Tony Szmuk. Distribution: BeWrite Books Independent Distribution Division. Additional input: The BeWrite Books Team.

Happy weekend, folks. Neil, Tony, Hugh, Sam, et al at BeWrite Books

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Catherine! With a cover like that, Serpentine cannot fail. Have always loved that Nietzche quote. Congratulations on your launch.