books illustrated’s the night circus

A glimpse inside Books Illustrated‘s beautiful upcoming edition of The Night Circus, illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert.

This is truly a work of art & so much effort is going into it at every level. I am honored and delighted to have my words wrapped in such an astonishing package.

Preorders begin Monday, January 17th. Much more information can be found directly from Books Illustrated both on their website and on Instagram.

goodbye 2021

I spent this year in my house. In my yard and in my woods, getting to know the birds and finding leaks in the roof and measuring the year in blooming flowers and changing leaves and snowfalls.

It was a sleepy kitten year, spent in a singular space with a particularly sleepy kitten (well, sleepy when she was not chasing mice) but despite the sleepiness things still happened. We celebrated our seventh anniversary and Vesper’s third birthday and a decade of The Night Circus and two years of sailing The Starless Sea.

I wrote small things this year.

When 2021 began I thought it was going to be a year for continued big messy drafting of the new book but instead it was a writing year spent on several other projects entirely, all of them unexpected and precise. The scale shifted to zoomed-in and detail-oriented when I had expected wide-ranging impressionist swooshes. It was a year for precise sentences and carefully chosen words. I think it made me tired. I am tentatively hoping for more zoomed-out writing time in 2022.

Most of those 2021-composed small things are secrets for the moment. One may remain a secret but has already found its reader and the others will be revealed in time.

I will be attempting to spend as much of 2022 away from the internet as possible. Social media in particular made me extra tired this year even with frequent hiatuses so 2022 is going to be one great big hiatus.

I will not be vanishing entirely, it’s difficult to vanish entirely. I will be posting occasionally on Instagram (standard assortment of kittens and birds and books and snow) and newsworthy things will be posted here and on twitter as well.

Most of 2022 will be spent sorting through all of these bits and pieces and dark hallways and cherry blossoms so I can slowly coerce them into something resembling a book when I’m not playing Pony Souls, I mean Elden Ring.

Happy-Making Things 2021

Befriending the chickadees. Westman Atelier liquid lip balm in Garçonne. Season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows. Ecclesia stars and peonies. Lesser Evil Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Popcorn. New Jellycat Gryphon friend (his name is Gus). The Somnia Tarot. Philips Hue light bulbs. Ethan M. Aldridge’s Night Circus illustrations. BPAL’s The Grey Columns (a perfectly balanced blend of grey and white amber, touched by a hint of smoke). Treana 2018 Red Wine. Jon Carling’s Traveling Witch. Painting the guest room Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Grey (which is blue). Season 2 of The Witcher. Books Illustrated’s upcoming version of The Night Circus illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert. Darla Jackson bunnies. The Folio Society edition of Howl’s Moving Castle that Adam gave me for Yule.

And of course, Todd Doughty’s Little Pieces of Hope: Happy-Making Things in a Difficult World, which last year was happy-making lists on Instagram and this year is a whole book of wonderments with illustrations by Josie Portillo and it is one of my favorite books I read this year.

I had possibly my most low-volume reading year ever. I almost called it “worst” but it wasn’t that, it’s just that I only managed to read a tiny fraction of the books I wanted to read for a number of reasons. There are too many books and not enough time in good years, and this year my brain was not attentioning particularly well for reading. There are so many (so many!) books I am very much looking forward to still waiting in the to-read pile including The Letters of Shirley Jackson and Kelly Braffet’s upcoming sequel to The Unwilling, The Broken Tower (out January 25th!)

These are my favorite books that I did manage to read this year, though half of them don’t actually come out until next year.

The aforementioned Little Pieces of Hope: Happy-Making Things in a Difficult World by Todd Doughty
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig, a big, brilliant horrorscape that’s drowningly immersive in that signature Wendig way.
Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara, which is like having the perfect seat at the bar for a drink or five accompanied by buckets of utterly fascinating history.
The Paradox Hotel (February 22, 2022) by Rob Hart, a delicious locked room mystery in a hotel for time travelers that has everything the conceit implies and more, including dinosaurs.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (July 12, 2022) by Gabrielle Zevin, a sprawling modern epic of life and love and the creative process in general and video games in particular.

And my very favorite thing I read this year, which is of-the-moment in the best of ways and quite possibly a masterpiece, is Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel & it will be published on April 5, 2022.

I finished far more video games than books this year, which says something about attention and immersion and interactivity. Picking favorites was difficult. Top Five:

Demon’s Souls – I was not previously a Souls game person. When we got a PS5 (thanks be to the gaming gods) we picked up the Bluepoint Demon’s Souls remake and I thought I’d try it and I got utterly obsessed. The mood and the architecture and the atmosphere and the spaces, it’s all so much of what I love in an immersive environment.

Death’s Door – Adorable crow reaper! Puzzles! Secrets! Gorgeous score and beautiful animation! Zelda-esque in the best of ways.

Control – I have heard so many people rave about Control for so long and it took me ages to pick it up and I’m so glad I finally did. The Ashtray Maze is easily one of my all-time favorite gaming moments.

Deathloop – I did not think Deathloop was going to be my jam but it totally was? Stylish, quirky, puzzle-game-dressed-up-as-a-shooter with a fantastic soundtrack.

Slime Rancher – I’ve always wanted a game that brought back the feeling of walking around the world of Myst and weirdly, Slime Rancher was the game that brought it, with its ancient ruins and precious slimes.

Honorable mentions (I should have done a top ten) to Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Bowser’s Fury, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Astro’s Playroom & in particular Radiohead’s Kid A Mnesia exhibit (is it a game? Is it a virtual museum? I don’t know, but it’s a wonder.)

This year sounded like distant train whistles and the crackling of virtual fireplaces and the Persona 5 Royal soundtrack and that perfect version of Everybody Wants to Rule the World from BioShock Infinite and so much Radiohead nostalgia.

But this soundtrack in general and this track in particular is what I put on more often than not, over and over again, to keep things moving even when everything felt stagnant, and somehow it always worked.

Happy New Year, darlings. Keep moving.

135th cirquaversary

Le Cirque des Rêves opened 135 years ago, not quite on this date because that was yesterday and with the proper anniversary came impeccably timed website issues, but technically the anniversary of opening night does extend overnight into today. It is Poppet’s birthday, after all. 

To commemorate this occasion and bring a month of 10th Anniversary Night Circus shenanigans to a close, I am beyond delighted to present an additional illustration by Ethan M. Aldridge of Widget and Poppet and The Wishing Tree.

A month’s worth of Night Circus anniversary posts can be found on twitter & Instagram under hashtag #NightCircus10

Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart, for embracing and reading and sharing The Night Circus for the past ten years and for visiting le Cirque des Rêves. May all of your candle-lit wishes come true.

illustrated night circus – coming 2022

I am delighted to be able to announce that Books Illustrated will be publishing a very limited edition of The Night Circus in late 2022

This edition will be illustrated by the incredible Anne Yvonne Gilbert, some examples of her work are posted below and I will share future circus illustrations when I’m able to.

For more information and updates you can register for Books Illustrated’s newsletter.

I am over the moon about this and I cannot wait to see how it turns out 🖤

the night circus 10th anniversary

The Night Circus was published ten years ago today. To say this book changed my life would be a massive understatement. It shifted my entire world. I have been to so many places because of this singular imaginary ambulatory location that used to live only in my head and now lives in so many more.

I’ve gotten to meet so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise, including the wonderful Ethan M. Aldridge who has lent his extraordinary talent to commemorate this occasion with the above illustration of Bailey in his tree.

Prints are available on Ethan’s INPRNT store and he has kindly provided a discount code for 20% off valid from 9/13-9/20: RN9RK8 (code works for everything in the store, including The Owl King)

The Out of Print Night Circus collection is 20% off with code NIGHTCIRCUS20 from now until 9/30

Storiarts has added a leather quote bracelet to their Night Circus collection. I pondered the proper quote to wrap around wrists for quite awhile and finally settled on this one:

“We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”

A sentiment for the rêveurs, to carry with you wherever your dreams may lead.

Seasonal le Cirque des Rêves candles are back for the autumn at Frostbeard Studio

The Night Circus has done a lot in 10 years. It has been published in dozens of languages around the world. It has won awards and been on bestseller lists and it was named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Fantasy Books of All Time.

I don’t tend to post a ton of Night Circus-related stuff on social media but from now until October 13th (which is, of course, the 135th anniversary of opening night of le Cirque des Rêves) I’ll be posting circusy things on twitter & instagram to celebrate 10 years of Night Circus: old photos and different editions, cocktails and red yarn and whatever other dream dust I can dig up. Do please share your own Night Circus memories or shenanigans or tattoos or cosplay or cupcakes as well with hashtag #NightCircus10

Thank you seems too small a phrase to encompass ten years worth of gratitude but thank you. Thank you to everyone who put so much work into publishing and promoting. Thank you to librarians and booksellers for championing a strange debut by an unknown author. Thank you to everyone who has turned these pages and found themselves walking through circling paths amongst black-and-white striped tents, where the night air smells of caramel and bonfire smoke.

Thank you for visiting le Cirque des Rêves.

It has been my honor to share this place with you.

happy lunar new year

A Lunar New Year story time gift for you: “The Inn at the Edge of the World,” one of the stories-within-the-story from THE STARLESS SEA, read by the incomparable Erika Ishii

The Inn at the Edge of the World”
excerpt from THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morgenstern
, copyright 2019 E. Morgenstern LLC

Read by Erika Ishii, performed with permission from the author

THE STARLESS SEA is available in audiobook form read by a full cast from Penguin Random House Audio