Corinna Sargood, who illustrated Patience Gray’s Honey from a Weed, spends several months each year in Mexico with her partner, Richard, a furniture maker. They live a simple life, renting a home in the Village in the Valley, south of Mexico City, a life she began in her fifties.
When Corinna was fifty, she first travelled to Mexico, with Richard, her partner of a few months standing. She had a commission to illustrate a book by the novelist Angela Carter. “Angela Carter had asked me to make another series of lino cuts to illustrate the second Virago Book of Fairy Tales that she was editing. As I had calculated that it would take about 3 months to complete, it seemed a good opportunity to decamp to another country and to work there. Angela was a great friend of mine.”
Corinna and Richard just took a few clothes hoping to establish their first home together.
With very few modern amenities, they learnt how to do the laundry in the communal washing place, on what occasions to bring candles to social events, and when – and more importantly why – they should greet the turkeys they met on their walks. Corinna’s memoir of this period is abundantly illustrated with her drawings.
The book is a love story, a memoir of her time as an au pair in Italy, and a travel diary. You can read a short extract from the book here.
Paul Levy, writer and critic, writes on Corinna’s book at this link, in the Arts Journal, Seattle, USA (October 2021)
*New for August 2021 on the talkingoffood website*
You can listen to Anna Segwick reading a very funny and slightly shocking foodie extract on Corinna’s life as an au pair in Italy, here: https://www.talkingoffood.com/the-dish-that-saved-my-bacon.html
Review: “I have been relishing an illustrated book by Corinna Sargood. I love this artist’s paintings of Mexican life: bright scenes on wood, some in tin frames, crammed with tiny figures: a harpist, a bullfighter, a psychiatrist appealing for patients through a loudspeaker. The Village in the Valley, published by Prospect Books, is Sargood’s account of the annual visits that inspired the pictures: bullets whizzing through the air at night, days spent making furniture and new friends. The book has an additional interest. Sargood was Angela Carter’s illustrator and close friend. Their imaginations were highly attuned.” Susannah Clap —Observer, June 2021
Corinna and Richard now live in Frome, Somerset, where they live a creative life, illustrating and making furniture, in their eighties. They are planning a visit to Mexico for Winter 2021.