Home / Events / ‘In the Deserts Wild’: William Blake and Maurice Sendak
Wednesday 8 May 2024, 19:30 - 21:00
Free, Online
On the anniversary of Sendak's death in 2012, this conversation between writer and academic Jason Whittaker and illustrator Tamsin Rosewell will explore some of the ways in which Sendak drew inspiration from Blake up until his final work.

‘In the Deserts Wild’: William Blake and Maurice Sendak

In 1967, following a promotional tour for the UK publication of Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak produced a Christmas keepsake of seven illustrations to poems from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence. Published as a limited print run of 275 copies by The Bodley Head, no copies of it were sold but it was given away to friends of the publisher and artist. Sendak had described Blake as ‘from the first, my great and abiding love . . . my teacher in all things’. As his fame following the publication of Where the Wild Things Are grew, so he collected Blake originals, including copies of the Illustrations to the Book of Job and the Ballads written by William Hayley and illustrated by Blake.

On the anniversary of his death in 2012, this conversation between writer and academic Jason Whittaker and illustrator Tamsin Rosewell will explore some of the ways in which Sendak drew inspiration from Blake up until his final work, My Brother’s Book, and how, despite the atheism of the former and the Christianity of the latter, both of them shared a view of the nature of childhood as a time of profound imagination.

Jason Whittaker is an author and academic at the University of Lincoln. He has been writing about the reception of William Blake for more than twenty years, and his most recent books include Divine Images: The Life and Work of William Blake (Reaktion Books, 2021) and Jerusalem: Blake, Parry and the Fight for Englishness (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Tamsin Rosewell was a bookseller for 17 years, but now works full time as an illustrator; her work includes four books with double Carnegie Medal-winning author, Berlie Doherty. She also contributes art regularly to VALA, the journal of the Blake Society. Tamsin is a regular book industry panel speaker, as well as book prize judge. Tamsin has also worked as a broadcaster, a speech writer, and for Spitting Image.