This week’s Inheritance Books are from lovely Kate Lord Brown.Hi Kate, welcome to the Inheritance Books sofa. (Yes, we have a sofa now! And cushions. Did you see the cushions?) Anyway, biscuit?
Please, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m the desert living author of ‘The Perfume Garden’ and ‘The Beauty Chorus’. When I was four, my mother put a yellow cloth bound copy of the 1001 nights on the top shelf of my wardrobe because it was ‘too advanced’. Naturally, I was captivated, and clambered up the wardrobe at every opportunity for a spot of clandestine reading, (this is a good trick if you desperately want your children to learn, say, Shakespeare or algebra). I have no idea what happened to that copy, or if it influenced me working and living in the Middle East. My family and I have lived in the only true desert country in the world for five years, which sounds rather exotic and ‘English Patient’ but we have just had the worst sandstorms in fifty years which was – frankly – like a gritty apocalypse.
It must feel awfully cold and clammy for you on the sofa then. Let me shut the window. There.
Where were we? Oh yes. Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?
One book I have tucked safely away in storage in the UK (along with a library which fills half a container), is the treasured germolene pink copy of ‘A Puffin Book of Verse’ inscribed wonkily by Katy Lord in felt tip, and given to me by my parents at a time when I still pronounced ‘Anonymous’ as ‘Anymouse’. It was required reading at prep school, and from its pages we learnt a poem each week off by heart. I had the great good fortune to have teachers who genuinely loved literature. It instilled in me a love of the rhythm and beauty of language, and along with battered copies of the Observer’s books of Wild Flowers, Horses and Dogs it transports me back to early childhood growing up in a wild and beautiful part of the West Country.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
Both my children were given their own copies of ‘The Little Prince’ – it was a book we read over and over again when they were small (those lovely, cosy tea/bath/bedtime story times), and we wore out the BBC audio cassette on the school runs to and fro along the Meon Valley from Petersfield. It’s a children’s book, but in a very gentle, magical way teaches important lessons, which I hope sunk in, about living a good life and the importance of trusting your heart. The children gleefully rescued a French rag doll Little Prince from a yard sale here for me, and he sits tucked in among my notebooks – we’re past bedtime story times now, but every time I catch a peek of him he reminds me of a lovely period of our lives, (and I love his yellow ‘fro). He also sits above the files for the new book I’ve written about the artists’ Schindler, which features Consuelo de St Exupery, wife of Antoine who wrote ‘The Little Prince’. She was the inspiration for the Little Prince’s ‘Rose’, and I like the idea that they are together.
Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Kate. All the best with your new book. I just love the cover!
Kate’s book The Perfume Garden is available to buy now. You can find out more about Kate on her website, or chat to her on Twitter (@katelordbrown).