With Saturday's centenary of the birth of artist and writer Mervyn Peake (left) fast approaching, BBC Radio 4 today explores the inspirations behind the world of Gormenghast and visits the idiosyncratic Channel Island of Sark where Peake lived, worked and raised a family.
All islands held a fascination for Peake: he wrote about them as well as painting and drawing them – illustrating Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, The Hunting of the Snark and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (in which the becalmed ship is surely a wooden island surrounded by sea) – and, on more than one occasion, he described the vast citadel of Gormenghast as being isolated and insular like an island.
A Hundred Years of Mervyn Peake (Radio 4 11:30) features contributions from Peake's three children, Sebastian, Fabian and Clare along with Joanne Harris, (author of Chocolat) and myself.
If you miss the programme, you can hear it via BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.
And this Sunday (on Radio 4 at 15:00) will see the commencement of my cycle of six one-hour radio plays, The History of Titus Groan...
Lastly, as reminder of Peake's obsessions with islands, here is one of his evocative illustrations for R L Stevenson's Treasure Island...
Visit the BBC's information page (with photos) here
Images: The Estate of Mervyn Peake