Biting Dog Press is pleased to announce the release of The Playwright, a limited edition print by writer Kealan Patrick Burke and xylographer George A. Walker.
This limited edition print was inspired by the novellas The Timmy Quinn Series by Kealan Patrick Burke who won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award in 2004 for Turtle Boy.
THE PLAYWRIGHT is a new hand printed broadsheet written by Kealan Patrick Burke and printed with woodcuts and art by George A. Walker. Published by Biting Dog Press there are only 200 copies of this collectable work. Each broadsheet has been signed by the author and artist. This fine press edition of Kealan’s poem is printed on Arches Velin 100% neutral ph rag paper so that it is archival and will provide years of enjoyment. The whole project was printed on a Vandercook SP15 letterpress with each sheet fed into the press by hand one at a time.
Kealan’s text was prepared for the press by setting the type on a 1910 Royal Barlock typewriter. The runes were set using a newly designed Irish Runes font that we used to replace the roman letters that the Iliad text was set in. The woodcut was made on a piece of birch faced plywood. All the text was printed from polymer plates made at Boxcar press.
The runes when translated reveal a quote from Homer’s Iliad. Here’s the quote:
“Come, Friend, you too must die. Why moan about it so? Even Patroclus died, a far, far better man than you. And look, you see how handsome and powerful I am? The son of a great man, the mother who gave me life — A deathless goddess. But even for me, I tell you, Death and the strong force of fate are waiting. There will come a dawn or sunset or high noon when a man will take my life in battle too—flinging a spear perhaps or whipping a deadly arrow off his bow.”
On the beautiful summer day in which 11-year-old Timmy Quinn encounters an odd boy on the banks of a local pond, his life changes forever. Over the next thirty years, he will be tasked with facilitating the vengeance of murderous revenants, reuniting them with those responsible for their deaths. In the process he becomes aware of the existence of The Stage, a parallel dimension where the dead impatiently await their chance to return and The Curtain, the veil that separates their world from ours.
Throughout the series, Tim battles all manner of creatures in his struggle, not only to survive, but to protect those he loves from being contaminated or killed due to their closeness to him.
Ultimately, Tim discovers that The Stage and The Curtain are only one of myriad realities, and that this one was man-made, accidentally, by The Four, a group of creatives who messed with powers they didn’t truly understand in an effort to fashion a “creative Heaven”. The process condemned one of them—William Godwin, a failed playwright—to The Stage, essentially making him its god. The play he writes “Nemesis”, is Tim’s story (the whole Timmy Quinn series of books, in other words), but whether he created Tim or just documents his life is unclear.
In the end, the only way Tim can save those he loves, and the very world itself, is to sacrifice himself by taking The Playwright’s place and writing the ending himself.
The poem is the voice of the PLAYWRIGHT!
Born and raised in Dungarvan, Ireland, Kealan Patrick Burke is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of five novels (Master of the Moors, Currency of Souls, Kin, The Living, and Nemesis: The Death of Timmy Quinn), over a hundred short stories, four collections (Ravenous Ghosts, The Number 121 to Pennsylvania & Others, Theater Macabre, and The Novellas), and editor of four acclaimed anthologies (Taverns of the Dead, Quietly Now: A Tribute to Charles L. Grant, Brimstone Turnpike, and Tales from the Gorezone, proceeds from which were donated to children's charity PROTECT.)
When not writing, Kealan designs covers for print and digital books through his company Elderlemon Design. To date he has designed covers for books by Richard Laymon, Brian Keene, Scott Nicholson, Bentley Little, J. Carson Black, and Hugh Howey, to name a few.
A movie based on his short story "Peekers" is currently in development through Lionsgate Entertainment.
George A. Walker is a letterpress printer and book artist. He holds an MA in Communication and Culture from Ryerson and York University. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) in 2002 in recognition of his achievements in Canadian Book Arts. He is an Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University where he teaches book related arts in the Printmaking program. He is the graphic novel acquisitions editor for the Porcupine's Quill and has six titles in print with them. He is the author of the popular how-to book, The Woodcut Artists' Handbook (Firefly 2005) now in its second revised edition (Firefly 2010), and he is recognized for his art history book on wordless novels, Graphic Witness (Firefly 2007) which has sold over 16,000 copies and an anthology of his own wordless books titled, Written In Wood (Firefly 2015) Since 1984 his letterpress printed artists' books have been collected internationally by institutions such as the University of Toronto, Morgan Library and Museum N.Y., Columbia University, N.Y. and Princeton University N.J. and the Victoria and Albert museum in London England.