The News

Countdown to Pandamonium!

Edinburgh Zoo announced this morning that the pandas will arrive next Sunday, to the great excitement of us all. We can't wait to meet Sunshine and Sweetie! But we'll have to take our turns, like everyone else, and wait for them to acclimatise to their new surroundings. Given the similarity in climate between Sichuan and Scotland, it shouldn't take too long for them to fit right in.

In the meantime, you can see a clip of panda-keeper Alison Maclean introducing the new panda enclosure on this link to the BBC website. We've also added a few extra photos on our Panda: Back from the Brink page on this site, so you can enjoy them while you're waiting to see the real,  live animals.

If you're feeling inspired, join our Twitter game to win a copy of Panda: Back from the Brink: simply tweet a panda pun (use hashtag #panda or include @sarabandbooks if you don't have the word 'panda' in your pun).

Panda - Back from the Brink: launch and slideshow with Iain Valentine in Edinburgh


Iain Valentine will be hosting a slideshow on Thursday 24th November at Edinburgh's Blackwell Bookshop (53-62 South Bridge, EH1 1YS) to launch the new book Panda: Back from the Brink, which features the incredible photography of panda expert Zhou Mengqi. Henry Nicholl, author of t;a href="" title="Way of the Panda" target="_blank">The Way of the Panda, finds the book "exquisite". See for yourself with a sneak preview of some of the photos below.

The book is now on limited prepublication release and can be bought from Blackwells, from Edinburgh Zoo, from the zoo's online shop, and on the NHBS website for wildlife and environment books.

Some tickets are still available for the launch: it's FREE, but you should reserve a place: contact Ann Landmann on 0131 622 8222 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Learning to climb - it's not easy being a cub :)


Making Shore reviewed in Oxford Today

It was good to see that the books editor for Oxford Today has taken a shine to Making Shore. Reviewer Lindsey Harrad calls the book "a compelling, memorable tale of endurance".

ms_smHere's an extract from Lindsey's review:

"Making Shore describes the perils faced by merchant sailors as they steered supply ships across an Atlantic ocean crawling with German submarines in 1942. Allerton’s fictional interpretation of Clarke’s real experiences fuses the adventures of a young radio officer on board the Sithonia, with a poignant love story. When the ship is torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat en route to South America, the sensitive depiction of the crew’s struggle portrays the deep and bitter irony of being completely surrounded by undrinkable seawater, as the men are withered inside and out by thirst and sun exposure: “Water. The want of it had taken each one of us by the neck and forced us through the vale of death. And there, the garbs of social conscience, of sanity, of our fragile humanity, like the flesh about our bones, had dropped away.” As the crew’s “fragile humanity” gives way to conflict and desperation, the struggle for survival proves to be a deranged, dirty and dangerous business.

"But Making Shore depicts an emotional journey and it is often the mundane, horribly intimate details that have the most power – creeping insanity brought on by drinking seawater and the unrelenting torpor of severe dehydration. But as these horrific events unfold, a touching bond flourishes between two newfound friends, that is strengthened, rather than divided, by their life-and-death ordeal."


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