Other than the initial topic, for me, the best stage of writing a book is when you are asked to decide on a suitable cover. Most academics know that even at that point, the manuscript is still a few months away from actual publication but the excitement is still palpable. For the last few days, I’ve been thinking about a cover for my own forthcoming book on the theme of human struggle in Christian and Islamic traditions. But despite doing several online searches into museums and art galleries, I haven’t had much success in finding an image that really fits.
Maybe the art on the cover isn’t as significant as the words on the pages but a good cover can encapsulate the very essence of a book, an entire story in a single image. At a time when so much of what we consume is done online, visuals and creativity matter even more. Celebrity artists and writers are inviting children and adults to send in art work as well as illustrations for books. Adults are being encouraged to write poetry, draw and paint not only because creativity leads to greater positivity but because art in all its form is about sharing some part of our lives. Most of us want to share through our work and just now, the online world is the medium through which we can step out of our solitude and tell a part of our story in words or pictures.
I’m hopeful that I will find the right image, one which is original, tells the purpose of the book and even fills in those gaps in the text where words are simply not enough.
Photography: Sam Sills