Of Mud & Flame: The Penda’s Fen Sourcebook
Strange Attractor Press, 2019
In 1974, the BBC broadcast the film Penda’s Fen, leaving audiences mystified and spellbound. Written by the playwright and classicist David Rudkin, the film follows Stephen, an 18-year-old boy, whose identity, sexuality, and suffocating nationalism unravel through a series of strange visions. After its original broadcast, Penda’s Fen vanished into mythic status, with only a single rebroadcast in 1990 sustaining its cult following. Penda’s Fen has now become totemic for those interested in Britain’s deep history, folklore, and landscape.
Of Mud & Flame contains critical and creative contributions from contemporary writers and poets inspired by this cornerstone of Britain’s uncanny archive, as well as recollections from actors Spencer Banks and Christopher Douglas, and reflections from Rudkin himself. Together with this breadth of commentary, Of Mud & Flame also includes the full revised screenplay of Penda’s Fen, its first time in print since 1975.
More info at Strange Attractor
The Quietus: ‘Mud And Flame: Penda's Fen re-examined’
LRB Blog: ‘On Penda’s Fen’
International Times, ‘A Penda’s Fen Treasure Trove’
New Writings, BFI Reuben Library, Feb 03, 2020
David Rudkin presents Penda's Fen, LRB Bookshop, Feb 28, 2020
Penda’s Fen + the World Beyond, Whitechapel Gallery, Feb 29, 2020