Penguin Random House may be known as a trusted global publishing house, but in a world’s first an actual Emperor Penguin named A.L. Pengally has published a bestselling crime novel, Snow Slide.
Set in an Antarctic outpost, the story follows the fortunes of one-winged (technically ‘flappered’) penguin detective Pesky McWebfoot as she closes in on the culprit in a spate of egg robberies. Exploring themes of isolation, feathered friendships and global warming, the story waddles across the breathtaking landscapes of the southern continent, as McWebfoot leaves no stone unturned in her unyielding quest for the truth (and eggs).
In preparation for the novel’s creation, Pengally learned a complex system of keyboard shortcuts to convert her native tongue (beak?) of Aptenodytes forsteri-ian into English. Here’s what she has to say, ‘Errrrrrrrrewp, arp-arp-arp-arp. Errrrrrrrrewp arp-arp-arp. Honk-honk-honk-honk-hoooooonk. Honk-honk-hoooooonk.’
Penguin Random House Publishing Director Kerning Corrigendum said in a statement that the animising of literature is a trend to watch out for in the not-too-distant future. ‘Many narratives of the animal kingdom speak to the same emotional triggers as those of humanity,’ she said. ‘McWebfoot’s story is not only a classic whodunit, but one penguin’s voyage of loss, overcoming obstacles, redemption and, ultimately, self-discovery.’
It took a team of occupational therapists, IT professionals and linguists several years (and penguins*) to overcome the physical and language barriers to achieve this monumental task. But now it’s been proven that genetic makeup need not stand in the way of superb storytelling, the sky – and sea, forest, desert or icefield – is literature’s limit.
Snow Slide will be released as a Penguin Classic on Penguin Awareness Day, 20 January 2020.
*No penguins were harmed in the creation of this novel.