Pennywise: 4 Unlikely King Novels that Reference the Clown

By September 9, 2017Adaptations, Authors

Fans of Stephen King’s work will know how interconnected many of his novels are. The author has created an entire world through his novels and each novel is a part of this Kingverse. With IT back in the cinema this weekend, we’re going to take a look at Pennywise and the other King novels that have nodded to the character.

Pennywise is described as a shapeshifting monster that preys on Derry’s children and humans every three decades, feeding off human fear. Pennywise usually assumes the form of a middle aged man dressed in clown costume, and if you haven’t had enough of King’s scariest clown then here are some of the other novels that connect up.

IT was released in 1986 and it wouldn’t take long before King would reference Pennywise again. In 1987 he released The Tommyknockers, and in this novel a character called Tommy Jacklin makes a supply run through Derry,the town featured in IT. During this time he thinks he sees “a clown with shiny silver dollars for eyes” peering at him from an open sewer drain. This is Pennywise’s first appearance outside IT and his only true cameo to date.

It would take until 2001 before we would hear a word about Pennywise again. In King’s 2001 novel, The Dreamcatcher Mr Gray takes a detour into Derry, the town made famous in IT, he ends up at the water storage standpipe. As readers will know, the tower was demolished at the climax of IT, in its place a plaque to the town’s victims. Spraypainted across the memorial is the graffiti ‘Pennywise Lives’. Is this King’s way of telling us he hasn’t finished with the demonic clown?

Ten years later in 2011, King would release 11/22/63, one of his most popular novels to date. Part of the novel is set in the fictional town of Derry when protagonist George Amberson meets some of the characters from IT, Beverly Marsh and Richard Tozier. The year is 1958 and as the trio play together Amberson asks about a violent crime in the town when he overhears the girl say to her friend “That wasn’t the clown.” But has no idea what she means.

King’s most recent nod to Pennywise came in 2014 with the release of Mr Mercedes. Fans of this book will know that the murderer in this cat and mouse thriller wears a clown mask “Creepy as hell. You ever see that TV movie about the clown in the sewer?” someone asks Det. Bill Hodges, in a nod to Pennywise. It’s well accepted that Pennywise pretty much started the scary clown trend, and so this is a bit of an inception moment for the author.

Will Pennywise return? It’s likely, every three decades is promised, but whether King will ever write a sequel remains to be seen.

Watership Down Author’s Library Collection Goes To Auction.

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Richard Adams, author of the lagomorphic novel Watership Down, had a personal library many of us Reading Addicts would dream about. As a passionate bibliophile, Adams collected first editions, and rare manuscripts of his most favourite books from Shakespeare to Austen.

After his death at age 96 on Christmas Eve in 2016, his collection of books has been steadily examined and catalogued ready for auction in December 2017. Adams’ favourite book Emma by Jane Austen was amongst his collection- his copy being a rare first edition- and was well read and enjoyed by the author. Richard Adams was a true bibliophile; he did not keep his special and rare books locked away but knew they were there to be enjoyed.

Now thanks to his estate putting them up for auction they can be continued to be enjoyed.

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Chris Riddell in War of Words with John Lewis over Moz Likeness

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Author and illustrator Chris Riddell got into a little Twitter spat last week with retailer John Lewis over the Moz character from the new advertising campaign, and a week on it’s still rumbling on as the ever witty and creative Chris Riddell continues with a stream of monster talk.

The former children’s laureate, Riddell, pointed out that Moz the Monster bears a striking similarity to Mr Underbed, his own monster character. Riddell then went on to show blow by blow how the stories are almost identical, and even the monsters bear a striking resemblance. Read More

The Private Lives of Authors: Franz Kafka

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Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a German speaking Jewish novelist born in Prague to a middle class family. His childhood was lonely despite being the eldest of six children; his two brothers unfortunately died in their infancy and the remaining children were mainly raised by governesses. Both parents worked hard in the family business and were consequently absent for much of the working week, leaving the household in the care of servants.

Kafka was a shy and introverted character, and an avid reader. He considered writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, and Heinrich Von Kleist to be “true blood brothers”. Kafka’s father expected him to take over the family goods business, however, after completing a degree in Law he worked for insurance companies, and started an asbestos factory with an acquaintance. He claimed to despise working just to pay bills and would much rather have spent his time writing. Illness plagued him through his adult life, with complications arising from tuberculosis keeping him from joining the military.

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Brambly Hedge Creator Jill Barklem Died Aged 66

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Born in Epping in 1951, Jill Barklem had a natural talent for art and drawing. He interest in the natural world became a real influence in her work, and after completing her study of illustration at St Martin’s in London, she went on to research extensively for her Brambly Hedge stories.

Her curiosity and interest in rural life bled into her quaint and sweet stories, accompanied by beautifully detailed images of anthropomorphised field mice and other hedgerow creatures.  Her Brambly Hedge stories were adored by many children growing up in the 80s and 90s from her first book ‘A Spring Story’ (1980) to ‘A Year in Brambly Hedge’ (2010). Her work was made into an animation in 1996, voiced by two British treasures- Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.

After a long illness Jill died, aged 66, on November 16th 2017. The publisher’s staff at HarperCollins were all deeply saddened at the news of Barklem’s death. “Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world,” she said. “Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations.”

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Orwell Statue Unveiled at BBC Broadcasting House

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On the 7th November this year, a brand new statue of one of my all time favourite authors was unveiled outside the BBC’s London Head Quarters, at New Broadcasting House.

Eric Blair had worked at the BBC as a producer for the “Empire Service” over 70 years ago and some suggest that it is this time at the BBC that gave him the inspiration for room 101, in his now famous novel 1984 which he penned under the more familiar name George Orwell.

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