Jay Griffiths

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Kith

Introduction and Reviews

 

KITH
The Riddle of the Childscape

Jay Griffiths

Published by Hamish Hamilton in hardback on May 2nd 2013, priced £20

In a UNICEF study released in 2007, the UK came bottom of a list ranking industrialised nations in terms of child wellbeing. In Kith Jay Griffiths asks why that is, and through her examination of the very nature of childhood, exposes how contemporary society is denying children the time, space and place to enact their child nature, with serious consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Griffiths has the same visionary understanding of childhood that we find in Blake and Wordsworth, and John Clare would have read her with delight. Her work isn't just good - it's necessary'

Philip Pullman

While travelling the world in order to write her award-winning book Wild, Jay Griffiths became increasingly aware of the huge differences in how childhood is experienced in indigenous cultures. From communities in West Papua and the Arctic to the ostracised young people of contemporary Britain, she asks why we have enclosed our children in a consumerist cornucopia but denied them the freedoms of space, time and deep play. She uses anthropology, history, philosophy, language and literature to illustrate children’s affinity for the natural world, for animals and woodlands, and examines the quest element of childhood. Arguing that the risk-averse society enfeebles children, robbing them of the physical freedom they both want and need, Griffiths illustrates how the stress of overscheduled lives denies children their hours of unclocked reverie.

Kith examines the history of breaking the will of the child and explores issues of childhood privacy, contemporary surveillance, the importance of folk tales, children’s relationship with pets and the profound politics of childhood. It looks at the extraordinary psycho-drama played out when Settler children, taken by Native Americans, refused to be rescued, and includes the way children have seized power over their own lives. A book of stories, it includes the one real-life Lord of the Flies situation – with the result the reverse of Golding’s bleak vision.

In its urgent defence of the rights and needs of every child, Kith is an impassioned, illuminating analysis of the heart of human experience.

Jay Griffiths previous books include Wild: An Elemental Journey which won the inaugural Orion Book Award and was shortlisted for the Orwell prize; Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time which won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award for best new non-fiction writer in 2003; Anarchipelago and A Love Letter To A Stray Moon, a fictionalised biography of Frida Khalo. www.jaygriffiths.com

For more information please contact: Anna Ridley +44 207 010 3278    anna.ridley@uk.penguingroup.com

 

Advance praise for Kith

‘Kith could have been written by no-one but Jay Griffiths. It is ablaze with her love of the physical world and her passionate moral sense that goodness and a true relation with nature are intimately connected. She has the same visionary understanding of childhood that we find in Blake and Wordsworth, and John Clare would have read her with delight. Her work isn't just good - it's necessary’ Philip Pullman

'Jay Griffiths writes with such richness and mischief about the one thing that could truly save the world: its children' KT Tunstall

‘An impassioned, visionary plea to restore to our children the spirit of adventure, freedom and closeness to nature that is their birthright. We must hear it and act on it before it is too late’
Iain McGilchrist

‘Kith is a call to live life intensely and authentically, vividly, and with grace, humour and passion.  Griffiths has politised awe and wonder and play’ Niall Griffiths

'Jay Griffiths is one of our most poetic and passionate critics of the ways of civilisation, provocative, illuminating and shamelessly romantic' Theodore Zeldin

‘Kith is a subterranean book.  We excavate it to refind the secrets of childhood, our own, and many other childhoods in times and places far from ours.  We join an underground resistance to the capital of grown-up greed, accountancy and profit.  We rejoin the Bears.’ John Berger

 

 

Praise for Wild: An Elemental Journey

‘Wild is a profound and extraordinary piece of work’ Observer

‘Wild is an astonishing piece of writing, truly medicinal, beautiful, passionate and raw’
Ed O’Brien, Radiohead

‘Jay Griffiths’ works are original, inspiring and dare you to search beyond the accepted norm’
Nikolai Fraiture, The Strokes

‘Wild is a breathtaking book, in its range and in its shameless passion: it reads like an entirely new genre’ Don Paterson

‘With Joycean word-play, meticulous scholarship, ironic wit, crafted cadences, Wild is a profoundly important contribution, a raging oratorio’
Richard Mabey, The Times

‘Passionate, rigorous and utterly honest, Griffiths’ remarkable book is written in a style as wild and exciting as its subject’ Robert Macfarlane

‘If bravery itself could write, it would write like she does’ John Berger

 

Praise for Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time

‘This is smart, edgy work, from an original and exciting mind. Jay Griffiths’ voice is a light beam in the fog of twenty-first century debate’ Barry Lopez

‘A wonderful, delightfully humourous polemic against everything that’s wrong with the way we deal with time today’ Independent, Books of the Year

 

Praise for A Love Letter from a Stray Moon

‘Jay Griffiths is a fearless adventurer with words and images. I salute her courage and the splendour of this vision’ Philip Pullman

 

For more information please contact: Anna Ridley +44 207 010 3278    anna.ridley@uk.penguingroup.com

 

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