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A Valley Wide
By Alexis Brown


In the early 1960s Alexis Brown moved with her husband and two young children from the comparative sophistication of Formentera to a remote valley in Ibiza. A Valley Wide records their triumphs and misadventures - getting to know the locals, teaching the children, exploring the bay and alluring countryside, making ends meet. It also describes the construction of the asphalt road which linked this tranquil corner with the world beyond, changing the lives of everybody. Alexis Brown, author of two children’s books with island settings and translator of numerous works on art and history, evokes the valley’s ancient traditions and practices with quiet humour and a knowledge born of experience. Her sparkling memoir, completed just after the events it describes, belongs to that special genre combining the excitement of travel with a deeper understanding that comes out of prolonged residence.


Alexis Brown is the pseudonym of Amy Baumann, who was born in rural Shropshire in 1922. During World War II she served in the Women’s Land Army and subsequently trained and worked as a teacher. In the late 1950s she settled in Formentera with her husband, the poet/historian Jack Beeching (1922-2001) and their two children. After several years the family moved on to the remote part of Ibiza described in the present memoir. Baumann is author of two adventure novels for children, Treasure in Devils’ Bay (1962) and Schooner on the Rocks (1966), and has translated various books from Spanish, Dutch and German, including Alexander Exquemelin’s The Buccaneers of America. Since the late 1970s she has lived in Fife, where she worked for ten years at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Her lifelong love of language was recently marked by a collection of verse, Special Occasions (2007). Published now for the first time (also in a parallel Spanish edition: Crepúsculo sobre Sa Cala - ‘Twilight over Sa Cala’), A Valley Wide was in fact written in the mid-1960s.


Barbary Press takes its name from a stretch of North African coast opposite Ibiza, recalled both in Formentera’s Cap de Barbaria and in the Barbary fig, otherwise known as the prickly pear. Its logo, the lateen-rigged xebec, was the fighting ship of both Barbary pirates and Ibicenco corsairs, and reflects the close ties between the Pityuses and the Berber lands further south. The vessel played a vital role in island defence with triangular sails allowing it to sail close to the wind. A Valley Wide is the fifth work in a publishing programme which celebrates the rich cultural scene on Ibiza and Formentera. A Hundred Years of Light and Shade (2000/2nd Edition. 2007) and Island out of Time (2005) present the islands through the eyes of a hundred twentieth-century photographers, together with matching literary extracts. Birds of Ibiza (2006) features Sarah Nechamkin’s paintings with a variety of island landscapes, accompanied by brief notes on each species. Leif Borthen’s The Road to San Vicente (2007, with wood engravings by Bill Fulljames, plus six articles by other writers) recaptures ‘Ibiza profunda’ in 1933 and 1960, and constitutes an ideal companion to the present work. And finally Paul Davis’s Ibiza’s Heritage: a Non-Clubber’s Guide (forthcoming, April 2009) focuses on the unusual archaeology and architecture of the islands, illustrated with detailed drawings and reconstructions. All Barbary titles are available in Spanish and English, and some in other languages too.

Publisher: Barbary Press, Ibiza
Distributor: Balàfia Postals
Dimensions: 200 pages, 15 wood engravings, 16 photographs, 13.5 x 20 cm
Price: 15 euro plus postage
ISBN: 9788461229093 Crepúsculo sobre Sa Cala
ISBN: 9788461229062 A Valley Wide
Date of Publication: Friday 28th November 2008
Book Launch: Club Diario de Ibiza, Avenida de la Paz, Ronda E-10. Ibiza Town, Friday 28th November                            at 20:30. Laura Mustian (bookseller and author's daughter), Iolanda Bonet Mar� (local                               writer), Martin Davies (editor / author / publisher) and Neus Escandell historian).
Languages: Two Editions Spanish (Crepúsculo sobre Sa Cala)
                                                English (A Valley Wide)

Crep�sculo sobre Sa Cala

A Valley Wide

How to purchase this book

A Valley Wide by Alexis Brown is available for purchase by directly contacting this office either by e-mail, fax, letter and telephone or in person. Payment is accepted by cash, traveller's cheques or by VISA and MasterCard.

The price of this book is 15 euro plus the cost of airmail postage and packaging to Spain 1 euro, UK/Europe 4 euro, the Rest of the World 5 euro and Airmail 10 euro.

Martin Davies



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