Former Maccabees’ frontman pens picture book

Aug 22, 2017

Orlando Weeks, a former member of The Maccabees, has written and illustrated a new children’s book about a gritterman for Penguin Press.

The book depicts a “beautifully illustrated story” about a “seasonal hero and the work he loves” and will be published by Particular Books, on 7th September, priced at £17.99. An album will be accompanying the book, featuring comedian, Paul Whitehouse’s narration as The Gritterman. His narration of the text is followed by music and songs written by Weeks “with nods to Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Bill Fay” and produced by Grammy-winning producer Markus Dravs (Björk, Arcade Fire, Florence & The Machine) and pianist David O’Dowda.

Helen Conford, publishing director at Penguin Press acquired world English rights for Particular Books, from Annabel Merullo at PFD.

The Gritterman tells the story of a man saying goodbye to a job he loves, combining “original storytelling, illustration and music”. Using his ice-cream van in the summer despite having “no passion for ice cream”, “he comes into his own” during winter when he becomes a gritterman, this is until the council reveals his services are no longer required.


A PRH spokesperson said: “Told over the course of a night the reader is given an insight into the pleasures of night work and the comfort that comes from having a sense of purpose. Stoic and unfussy, our seasonal hero goes about business trying to ignore the inevitable sunrise and with it his retirement.”

Weeks’ beautiful illustration is shown throughout the book having acquired the skill whilst studying the course at Brighton University and previously studying Fine Arts at the Camberwell College of Arts. This was before he spent a decade as a frontman in the indie group The Maccabees. Last month, his time as a vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist came to a close when the band played their last show at London’s Alexander Palace.

Weeks explained “I had written a song about the idea of a seasonal hero. My hero in the song was a man that gritted roads and as I worked on the song, The Gritterman’s character began to form. The more I worked on the song the more I got attached to the character and it was that attachment that was the starting point for the book.”