The University of Arkansas Press is happy to introduce the cover design for Double Toil and Trouble: A New Novel and Short Stories by Donald Harington, edited by Brian Walter.
Liz Lester, press production manager, was in charge of creative direction, including sourcing the art. “Donald Harington was a printmaker, and we used one of his own prints on our previous collection of his work” (The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany), Lester said. “There wasn’t another appropriate piece of Harington’s art for this book, but I wanted to keep the texture of a woodcut or etching for continuity between the two titles.”
Lester discovered the work of Kent Ambler. “I thought his style had some kinship to Harington’s writing and subject matter, and Long December has a bit of sinister quirkiness that reminds me of the title story,” Lester said.
Ambler’s piece is a woodcut of a sassafras tree beside the deck off his woodshop, he said, a scene of the “the winter woods with their late day pinkish glow surrounding it.” The woodcut “portrays a bird on a branch scanning the horizon (future potential) and a bird investigating the thick undergrowth below (forgotten past).
“I live on 12 wooded acres in the foothills of the blue ridge mountains,” Ambler added. “I’ve always created art based on my life and my environment. I take an approach to visual art often given to writers: ‘write about what you know’.”
April Leidig designed the cover. Asked to design something that complimented the design of The Guestroom Novelist, she employed a similar handmade feel for this cover. “The display typeface, Brush Up, was chosen for its folksy, naive quality,” she said. “Its letterforms also mimic the line quality of the illustration. The distressed background, serpentine lines, and horizon line expand the illustration to fill the cover and amplify the eerie quality of the image.”
Double Toil and Trouble is scheduled to be released this August. The 176-page, hardcover book has a list price of $29.95. It features a long-lost suspense novel and four previously unpublished or uncollected stories, adding several new chapters to the saga of Stay More, the fictional Ozarks village that serves as the setting for more than a dozen other Harington novels.