Dromedary Press plans to raise funds to help print 1,000 copies of its fifth and most ambitious book to date—Pirate & Hoopoe—a 240-page hardcover adventure novel illustrated by Karima Cammell and written by her father, Diarmid Cammell.
“Wall Street meets The Jungle Book” is how some people describe Pirate & Hoopoe. The talking animals of Spring Valley have lived in peace for centuries, but change is afoot when a rapacious band of land developers arrives to exploit this enchanted place. Through good sense, wits, and a bit of magic, the animals show the men how to discover life’s true treasures.
Illustrator Karima Cammell says: Pirate & Hoopoe was conceived during the 1990s, a time when society’s desires seemed split between environmentalism and quick-fix convenience. As I watched the dot-com bubble grow, then burst, I had concerns that an inspirational story of good will trumping corporate greed was no longer relevant. But this longstanding battle is sadly back in the news in a big way, so it feels like the right time for Pirate & Hoopoe to join the fray and spark some discussion.
Pirate & Hoopoe is written by my late father Diarmid Cammell, and is based on a concept and a collection of my illustrations I shared with him many years ago. Those of you who knew us then might remember that our relationship was never easy. When I told him I had an idea for a book that I had no idea how to write, Diarmid—himself a second-generation author—surprised me with his excited interest and his immediate offer to help.
I took a chance, and it was as if my sheaf of curling watercolor paintings was an olive branch of peace. Diarmid responded in kind, crafting chapter after chapter of lively, heartfelt escapades for a marauding CEO named Pirate, his loyal cronies, and the talking animals of Spring Valley. For as much turmoil as there had been between us, no one could have guessed what a rich and joyous adventure lay before us as we populated the pages of Pirate & Hoopoe. We plotted the book over dinners and wide-ranging conversations at a Berkeley café, and there was something about embarking on this vast creative project that, despite our differences otherwise, helped us grow closer together.
Our adventure filled me with enough confidence that within a few years, I found myself in New York City, pitching Pirate & Hoopoe to fiction editors at a handful of major book publishers. One editor after another told me the same thing, that they loved the story, adored the paintings, but couldn’t take on the book for publication. “It’s just not commercial enough,” I was told again and again.
Crestfallen but burning with a desire to keep my dreams of artistic success alive I returned to Berkeley, where I traded my painter’s smock for a shopkeeper’s apron and opened a little storefront, studio, and art classroom. I wanted to create a place for imagination to come to life, so I christened the shop “Castle in the Air,” a phrase describing creative daydreaming and a nod to a book with the same title written by Diarmid’s father. When I wasn’t paying bills and doing the thousand other tasks required to run the shop, I started publishing greeting cards and prints of my own artwork under the name of Dromedary Press.
Castle in the Air has grown beyond all expectation in the intervening 10 years, and I’ve learned a thing or two about what is and isn’t “commercial.” But more importantly, the shop has introduced me to countless other artists working hard to make their dreams a reality. Every day I’m reminded of the dedication it takes, and this has served as measureless inspiration to me.
Dromedary Press has thrived too, branching out into book publishing. After testing the waters with books including a letterpressed love-story I sold exclusively through the shop (Castle in the Air, 2008) and a commercially printed children’s storybook available through the regular book trade (Commonplace Mouse, 2009), I now feel ready to present Pirate & Hoopoe to the world myself. I hope you’ll join me in bringing to life this magnificent rendition of a long-held dream.
Step into the World of Pirate & Hoopoe
Pirate & Hoopoe will be a grand illustrated hardcover book in the style of classic adventure novels such as Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe. The book is 240 pages long, features 23 full-page watercolor illustrations, and comes with a special envelope containing two surprises inset into the back cover.
To celebrate the publication of Pirate & Hoopoe, Dromedary Press has created a series of gift packs featuring artwork from the book including postcards, prints, expressly commissioned stoneware mugs made in the USA, and other Dromedary books. One of the gift packs has been made extra special with the inclusion of calligraphy supplies identical to those used by the dastardly Pirate, and a few of the packs contain exclusive artwork such as an original watercolor from Pirate & Hoopoe and one-of-a-kind hand-painted bookplates. If you've got a favorite image from the book, don't wait to claim the original!
Details for each of the gift packs are given in the pledge levels sidebar.
How Your Funding Helps
A pledge of any amount defrays the cost of publishing the beautiful book we’ve dreamed of for many years. Each person who gives what they can to support Pirate & Hoopoe is making a tangible statement of support for those dreams. Thank you in advance for believing in us.
A pledge of $50 or more is exciting in that it actually achieves two important aspects of any book publishing project:
1. PRINTINGPirate & Hoopoe has already been professionally edited and typeset. It looks beautiful, and it is now ready for press. The book will be printed and bound in the San Francisco Bay Area at a cost of about $30,000.
Your pledge of $50 or more helps foot the massive printing bill that is part and parcel of publishing quality hardcover books.
One of the absolute worst things to happen to a publisher is to spend all the time and money it takes to produce a print run of 1,000+ copies of a book, only to have it gather dust in the warehouse. That is definitely not part of the publishing dream!
When you pledge $50 or more, you ensure that you will be one of the first to read Pirate & Hoopoe, and that your autographed copy won’t even touch the warehouse shelf. Thank you!
While we will be thrilled beyond words to have half of the printing cost funded through Kickstarter, what we truly want is to make sure people know about Pirate & Hoopoe and the dreams behind it, and that everyone who wants to own a piece of that dream can.
For each giving level, we’ve assembled an arrangement of Pirate & Hoopoe books and merchandise we think you’ll like. And we’re open to creative new assortments! If you’re interested in a different combination (e.g. you’d like a dozen copies of the book, you want two additional coffee mugs instead of a framed print, or something else), let us know by clicking the “Ask a Question” button. If you pledge for a gift pack which includes prints or original art, we will contact you to find out which one you would like. Books and gift packs will ship in January 2012.
Readers of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine will recognize the “vegan taxidermy” of sculptor Aimée Baldwin, featured in this year’s October issue. When Aimée heard we were taking Pirate & Hoopoe to Kickstarter, she jumped in with an offer to create a life-sized Hoopoe bird sculpture for each funder at the $5,000 level (to ship in March 2012). We’re floored by your generosity, Aimée!
Karima Cammell (b.1974) is a painter and book publisher. In 2001 she opened Castle in the Air, a celebrated shop, studio, classroom, and gallery which recognizes the internal life of the artist and all those who dare to live their dreams. Karima lives with her husband and two daughters in her native Berkeley, California.
Diarmid Cammell (b.1945, d.2009) was a storyteller, mystic, acclaimed translator, and scholar. The youngest son of Scottish poet Charles Richard Cammell, he was a renowned actor as a child and an accomplished photographer as an adult. Following a youth in 1960s London, Diarmid spent his later life in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.
More information about Pirate & Hoopoe can be found at the Dromedary Press website, www.dromedarypress.com - For Birds, By Birds.
Video by Michael Ogata
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