the phantomwise tarot

Over a decade ago, while I was working on what would eventually become The Night Circus, I painted an entire tarot deck in black and white acrylic paint.

Last year I mentioned the deck during an extravaganza of 10th anniversary circus shenanigans and some people talked to other people and plans were hatched and now something quite extraordinary has been conjured in an astonishingly short amount of time.

The Phantomwise Tarot: A 78-Card Deck and Guidebook is coming from Clarkson Potter this November.

The Phantomwise Tarot is a little bit circusy, a little bit Wonderland, and a little bit black-and-white phantasia of its own invention. It is loosely based on classic Rider-Waite-Smith tarot imagery though here there are also ballerinas and pirates and fluffy bunnies and curious cats to help you ponder your questions while you seek your answers.

The guidebook (by me) contains individual card meanings and original spreads. The design by the amazing Clarkson Potter team has elevated everything with a beautiful aesthetic reminiscent of silent film.

More information & pictures over here on a new dedicated tarot page which will contain any additional tarot-related updates in the future and you can preorder the deck over here. These cards have waited a long, long time to be properly released into the wild and I could not be more delighted that they will be able to be held and shuffled and read so soon.

anne yvonne gilbert’s night circus illustrations

The Books Illustrated edition of The Night Circus has been coming together more quickly than I could have imagined and it has been astonishing watching their entire team, especially Anne Yvonne Gilbert, elevate this story into a stunning piece of art. I am continually blown away by Yvonne’s ability to layer so many elements and moments into single images, with so much texture and expression and detail. They are truly magical.

One of my favorite parts of this process has been seeing Yvonne’s initial sketches to get a glimpse of how she begins to conjure all of these layers. It’s like getting to peer behind the curtain at a magic trick in progress. Some illustrations have minor adjustments between sketch and final version, others remain almost precisely the same. Below are some side-by-side comparisons. The sketches are already so beautiful and then the colors breathe so much life into everything. I suspect most people would expect a lot of monochrome from an illustrated version of The Night Circus but these are just buzzing with color.

There are so many details that I adore, from Mme. Padva’s jewelry and Tsukiko’s cherry blossoms and Bailey’s dog to the way the circus tents loom in the background of certain images. And of course I am a little bit obsessed with Poppet’s perfect curls and the most delightful squirrels. (I cannot pick a favorite because they are all so wonderful but the Wizard in the Tree is possibly my favorite so far, it is so sumptuous and autumnal.)

There is still more to come, cloud mazes and bottles and other wonderments, and much more information on this very limited edition of The Night Circus can be found at Books Illustrated. You can sign up for their Night Circus newsletter & they post frequent previews on their Instagram.

You can find more of Anne Yvonne Gilbert’s beautiful artwork on her website.

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.

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.