Love from Kew is a postbag full of scribbled stories – tiny tales from visitors' lives are entwined with Kew's secrets in an imaginative and beautiful scrapbook of poetic postcard prose that sings with the spirit of the Gardens.
Postcards let us look into lives – their scribbled stories are cryptic, funny and poignant. The everyday is captured in inky messages about birthdays, snow, exams, dancing, and love, written on picture postcards from Kew Gardens. Told with wonder and imagination, author Sophie Shillito entwines these tiny tales with secrets from the landscape which mumble through the turf and whisper in the bushes.
2020 marked 150 years since the first official postcards were launched in Britain, on 1 October 1870. Just as texting or Tweeting have grown rapidly in popularity today, postcard-passion swept the nation, peaking in 1913-14, when a record 926 million cards were sent – two and a half million a day. Love From Kew offers a fascinating insight into this social anthropology and micro-history, revealing the human need to connect with Kew and the natural world, as well as the importance of communicating with loved ones – two themes that are ever more precious and valued in recent times.
Sophie Shillito writes about place, palimpsests, and micro-histories. Her first book, All the Little Places (Blue Mark Books, 2020) is a haunting poetic-prose tapestry of fairytale fragments. Sophie lives in London. She likes mudlarking and mountains