Gallic Books to Publish B: A Year in Plagues and Pencils by Edward Carey

Gallic Books has acquired a collection of ‘lockdown drawings’ by Edward Carey, author and illustrator of Little and The Swallowed Man.


Entitled B: A Year in Plagues and Pencils after the author’s favourite grade of pencil, the book will bring together the line drawings Carey has produced and posted on social media every day since the first lockdown in March 2020 from his home in Austin, Texas, along with essays reflecting on the project as it progressed. It will include a foreword by Max Porter, who says Edward has, with his lockdown drawings, ‘singlehandedly made Twitter a better place’.

Learn more about Edward Carey’s A Drawing a Day in Lockdown project here

The drawings include figures involved in the pandemic itself – such as Anthony Fauci and Margaret Keenan, the first person to receive the Pfizer vaccine outside of trials – and reactions to the other tumultuous events of 2020, including the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the American election.

Birthdays and deaths of prominent figures are marked, with captions including quotations which resonate with the world we are living in now. Other drawings are more intimate – requests from friends or family, works of Carey’s vivid imagination, and images that conjure memories and dreams of the world beyond the four walls of Carey’s family home.

The book will be published in B format hardback in November 2021 and will be accompanied by an exhibition of the drawings at Belgravia Books, the bookshop of Gallic Books.


Edward Carey said: ‘I am so thrilled that Gallic will publish this whole year’s worth of quarantine drawings. It’s very typical of the wonderful and ever inventive Gallic to come up with this idea and I’m so delighted that this journal in pencil will be a book. I am hoping, most of all, that by November, it will all be over and we can all see each other again.’

Emily Boyce said: ‘When we signed Edward’s previous book, The Swallowed Man, none of us could have imagined how prescient the story of Pinocchio’s father Geppetto, making art to save his mind while trapped inside a giant sea creature, would prove to be. Each of us trapped “inside the whale” has had to find ways to keep going, to find connection and stave off isolation and despair – for Edward, this came through his pencil. His lockdown project is a magnificent achievement, reflecting both personal and collective experience, finding beauty amid the horror of these extraordinary times.’

Isobel Dixon said: ‘Edward Carey’s artistry – and empathy – has never been more apt and immediate than in his commitment to making and sharing a drawing a day in what became a very long time of crisis. An inspired and truly social gift, daily, on social media, now to be shared further afield by Gallic Books. All power to publisher, artist and (B) pencil.’


Posted on February 4, 2021 by Isabelle Flynn in

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