An evocative podcast by English YA writer Beth Webb, author of the Star Dancer series of historical Iron Age fantasies. http://download.guardian.co.uk/sys-audio/Books/Books/2007/06/20/BethWebb1.mp3
I've never read anything by Webb, and I tend to reach for my lignum vitae whenever I hear the word "star" used in a book title, but I was intrigued anyway and listened. I'm glad I did — it's perfect for the summer solstice (tomorrow, June 21, 2.06 PM EDT). The podcast (21 minutes) was recorded at an archaeological site that's a recreation of an Iron Age village (the Peat Moors Iron Age Centre) near Glastonbury Tor, where Webb's series is set. She talks about holding writing exercises with children inside the round huts, which sounds magical to me — can Clarion try this?
Fans of Alan Garner, M. John Harrison and Peter Ackroyd might want to give this a listen, as it's a nice bit of aural English landscape. I looked for the books online but while a May 2007 reprint of Star Dancer is listed, it doesn't seem to be available yet in the US, so I'll see if I can find it while I'm in London next month. As an aside — I spend as much time in the UK as I can (not enough) and am always struck by the lack of crossover between UK and US YA fantasy titles. Some of the more successful ones, like works by Philip Reeve and Jonathan Stroud, eventually make their way over here; others, like Webb's, seem to be slower in arriving. Thankfully Harry Potter has changed some of that ...
Which reminds me, gotta go order The Deathly Hallows!