His Porl Materials

Decanter of Tokay

Lyra and her porlmon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.

But enough about that. On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending an excellent talk by William Horwood and Philip Pullman at Christchurch College as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. The talk was on the theme of “The Fantasy Tradition in Oxford”, teaching us that weird and wonderful characters don’t need to be created here; they’re hanging out in punts singing madrigals or walking under archways in billowing gowns or full tweed just waiting to be reimagined as mad hatters, talking beavers and Endeavor Morse by the authors who take their inspiration amongst the dreaming spires.

Indeed it tran-spired that a book signing would follow. As we casually sauntered back into the bookshop area of the marquee (because that’s the sort of thing you do in Oxford) I picked up one of the author’s books I didn’t yet have and went to stand by the cash desk behind one or two other people. The lady behind the desk assured us that Philip Pullman would be here shortly, avast! This be the book signing table. He then promptly appeared and I had but seconds to ask myself “am I really going to ask him to draw a horse-lizard?” You have probably already guessed how I answered that question. So I asked Stan, “am I really going to ask him to draw a horse-lizard?”. Let’s see if I did, shall we?

Porl by Philip

Greetings to you, Mr. Pullman! You quite made my Literary Festival. With next to no deliberation and a very affable degree of amusement, the author sketched this delightful character in a book that to all intents and purposes I had stolen at that point. Many thanks and £4.99 later I’m very much enjoying book, and am positively chuffed to have Porl there on its title page.

Artist: Philip Pullman