The much anticipated new novel by Henrietta Rose-Innes, Green Lion, will be launched at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May.
Have a look at the striking cover, designed by publicide:
Read an interview with publicide to find out more about their work, and this cover specifically:
Did you have a theme or a particular style you were aiming at last year? More variety.
Were you at all inspired or influenced by a more continental design outlook in this cover? Not to speak of. The title provides the reveal so the goal is to try cue a lion without fully portraying it.
Were you supplied with an image, or did you start from scratch? No image was supplied, which can often be a good thing.
Do you make a habit of reading the manuscript before designing the cover? Ignore the manuscript at your peril.
What programs and hardware do you use? Mac + Adobe Suite.
Do you think South Africa can keep a unique identity? No, local covers have to compete with the rest of the world.
Do you have any designers that you keep an eye on, or particularly admire? No-one and everyone.
Are there any formulaic design tropes that annoy you? Side-view silhouettes of generic ‘African’ portraits.
Finally, what’s your go-to font – and is it open source? No font in particular. Every typeface has its own personality.
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Rose-Innes spoke to Books LIVE after she won the François Sommer Literary Prize last year, sharing more about Green Lion:
The book is also an exploration of human relationships with the natural world, even more explicitly so than Nineveh. At the heart of the book is the figure of a black-maned lion, one of vanished sub-species that used to be common in the Cape. It’s a book about extinctions, and loss, and the impossibiity of bringing things back from oblivion; and also about the mythic importance of animals in human lives.”
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About Green Lion
Con stared hard into the vegetation, tightening his eyes to sharpen their focus. Come out, he thought. I know you’re in there. Each shadow, each blade of grass was suggestive. But nothing moved: no amber eye between the leaves.
Con, adrift and emotionally numb, is drawn into a fascinating but disturbing new world when Mark, an old school friend, is mauled by a rare lion at the breeding park where he worked. The lion involved has been shot, and the remaining lioness, a disturbed animal rescued from abuse in a safari park, needs a keeper. Jolted out of his lethargy by the animal’s powerful presence and memories of his charismatic friend, Con steps into the role, becoming obsessed with the lioness, the only remaining Cape black-maned lion known to exist.
His obsession is shared by government officials and investors who are concerned about the loss of their flagship breeding project, locals who are terrified by the roars of lions on Table Mountain, and a shadowy group who have adopted the lion as their totem.
When Con is seduced by one of the cultists, the lioness escapes. It roams the streets of Cape Town, charming or terrifying those who encounter it. In his quest to track down the mythic beast, Con must confront dark memories of the accident he and Mark were involved in as boys, as well as his own deepest fears of power and loss.
Rose-lnnes writes fresh, invigorating prose, vividly creating character and evoking the spirit of place. – Witness
There’s only one author who does local landscapes, inside and out, with such absorbing insight and tragicomic skill. Read her right now. – Shape
About the author
Recipient of the 2008 Caine Prize for African Writing and the 2007 African PEN Literary Award, Henrietta Rose-Innes is the author of the novels Shark’s Egg, The Rock Alphabet and Nineveh, and the short story collection Homing. She is currently completing a PhD in creative writing in the UK.