The haze of panic-packing and binge reading in advance of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair has begun. This week, I caught up with the Fair’s own Katja Böhne to discuss what’s hot at Frankfurt in 2016. Read the whole piece over on BookBrunch, or get your teeth into the excerpt below.
It’s that special time of year when the leaves are turning, the nights are drawing in – and every publisher in Europe is packing their suitcase for the Frankfurt Book Fair. As the opening draws near, I caught up with Katja Böhne, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Fair, to discuss what awaits visitors and exhibitors in 2016.
“It’s five minutes before the Fair and everything is a bit upside down. Juergen Boos [Fair director] said recently, ‘The homework is done, now the chaos begins!'” Böhne says with a laugh as soon as she picks up the phone. The line is clear and she speaks with a gentle accent in impeccable English. “Actually, everything is fine and on track, but there are still so many last minute ideas and things to do. Every year it’s the same, so it’s not unusual.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Are you ready for Frankfurt? An interview with Katja Böhne
I penned a little piece for the lovely folks over at BookMachine today. Get started with the excerpt below, or read the full piece for FREE over on the BookMachine blog.
Reader analytics are garnering huge attention at the moment and there are at least four major talks at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair discussing how and why publishers and authors can collect data on their readers. But with reader analytics taking the spotlight in publishing, the debate over the ethics of data harvesting and its uses has been brought to our doorstep.
Consensual data is happy data
The big issues around data harvesting are not just what information businesses and official organisations are collecting about us, it’s whether or not they’re doing it with our consent. For once, however, publishing is ahead of the curve on getting this one right.
Continue reading BookMachine | Observing the audience: how reader analytics are influencing the industry
As many of you may know, I love short stories. Reading them, writing them, eating them… Ok, maybe I don’t literally imbibe them but there’s a definite consumption process involved in perusing a short story.
So you can imagine how excited I was this week when I got to interview KJ Orr, the winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Award. As always, read the full article over on BookBrunch or enjoy the excerpt below.
The big book buzz this week has been about the 2016 BBC National Short Story Competition winner, KJ Orr, and her winning story, ‘Disappearances’. A debut author, Orr beat a heavyweight shortlist including Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel and Costa Poetry Award shortlisted Lavinia Greenlaw. Here, Orr discusses what it feels like to have won, how she came across short stories, and their value to readers.
“It feels pretty incredible and still quite hard to believe,” says Orr about winning the award. “I was settled on the idea that I hadn’t won so I was not prepared at all. Doing the live broadcast directly after was surreal. Most writers are fairly introverted, quiet souls, then there are moments where you have to come out and put on a public hat. I just hoped I made some sense because I wasn’t really prepared to say anything!” Continue reading BookBrunch | An interview with KJ Orr, winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Competition
This week for the BookBrunch interview I had a really strong conversation with journalist Gary Younge about his new book, Another Day in the Death of America (Faber). You can read the whole thing over on BookBrunch, or get started with the snippet below…
The Guardian‘s Gary Younge has been undertaking serious investigative journalism since the mid-nineties, exemplified more than ever in his latest book, Another Day in the Death of America. Here, we discuss the book, how he researched it, how journalism has changed over the past two decades, and what that means for storytelling
With five books already under his belt, Younge launched Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber) on 28 September. It has already been featured on Radio 4’s Book of the Week and received reviews fromThe Spectator, The Times, and The Guardian itself among many others. It’s no surprise, because the book’s contents are shocking and moving in equal measure.
“It takes the basic statistical premise that seven children are shot every day on average in the USA and then tries to make it human by picking a random day and finding out who they are,” Younge explains. “It tries to get to the humans stories behind that statistic: how these kids lived and who they were, and maybe showing a bit more about America beyond those particular incidents.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Discussing gun deaths in America with Gary Younge
You might remember that a couple of months ago, some of my articles from 2015 were selected for Snapshots III, the third annual collaborative book produced by BookMachine and Kingston University Press. I am pleased to say, you can now get you can get your mitts on your very own copy via Amazon!
If you’re in the industry or a publishing enthusiast, then it’s really worth picking up a copy. It’s full of insightful words from the industry’s movers and shakers as well as savvy predictions about where we’re headed next…
It’s been quite a while since I posted, but the good news is that means there are not one, not two, not three, but SEVEN delicious BookBrunch interviews stacked up for you to get your teeth into. Over the last month, I’ve interviewed some really extraordinary folk who have made me laugh and think long after the write ups are finished and the articles are live. Hope you enjoy… Continue reading A septet of BookBrunch interviews
Hurrah and hooray, publication day is here for Stress Less and Believe in Yourself! It’s been a really lovely journey creating these books with Summersdale and I’m so thrilled that they’re finally out in the big wide world.
You can now buy them both from most major bookstores – they’re even listed on the Guardian bookstore! But here are some links for the eager among you… Continue reading Publication Day for Stress Less and Believe in Yourself!
It’s been a fortnight since I updated you all on the BookBrunch interviews, so here’s a double-whammy of industry experts for your Friday perusal…
Michael Bhaskar, co-founder of Canelo
“There’s sometimes this sense that if you’re involved in digital publishing that you wouldn’t celebrate a renaissance in print but we absolutely would! We think it’s brilliant news!”
Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown
“Obviously, I’m always there to represent the author and try to get the best in terms of the campaign and everything, but I’m also very honest with authors, in terms of where the market is at. Authors do need that education as well. I really love collaborating with publishers and putting the author at the centre of everything. My style is very inclusive and very open.” Continue reading A pair of industry experts in the BookBrunch interview
One of the best things about working in publishing is that you regularly get really awesome post – you know, the kind involving free books.
And the most exciting books of all to unwrap are the ones with your name on the cover! Today, my first authors copies of Stress Less and Believe in Yourself arrived from Summersdale, just in time to welcome me back from holiday, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Continue reading Author copies of Stress Less & Believe in Yourself
This week for the BookBrunch interview, I spent a gorgeous couple of hours talking to top US crime writer Laura Lippman. We discussed her new book, WILD LAKE, the resurgence of crime in the US, and sad happy unicorns…
Without argument, Laura Lippman has to be one of the greatest American crime writers alive today. She speaks in a measured, well-formed manner, with one of those crisp, literary American accents, but there’s something malleable and lithe about her. I get the impression that to Lippman, one should think deeply or not bother to think at all. On a rare visit to the UK to speak at the Harrogate Crime Writers’ Festival, we discussed her new book, WILD LAKE, the resurgence of crime in the US, and sad happy unicorns.
“Wild Lake is from the first line a very conscious – it’s not a homage, a rethinking, or an updating of To Kill A Mockingbird – it’s a what-if scenario applied to the book’s most basic outlines,” begins Lippman. To Kill A Mockingbird is many stories, but at its heart, she says, it is the story of a man who is accused of rape. The woman making the accusation is of the lowest possible class a white woman could be in 1930s United States, and even though a black man would have been deemed of a lower class still, the narrative makes it clear he is a man of integrity, to be admired. Continue reading The BookBrunch Interview with US crime writer Laura Lippman
It’s been a super busy few weeks, but here’s a big update on all the BookBrunch interviews I’ve been doing…
Jeremy Trevathan, publisher at Pan Macmillan
“At its heart, publishing will still just be about books, people reading and the emotional relationship between the reader, the page and the author.”
Anna Jane Hughes from The Pigeonhole
“I would be so sad to see publishers go, because they do such incredible things and I think that the way that a book is supported and cultivated is wonderful. I’ve seen books flourish because someone has shown the author tiny gaps where it doesn’t work, or a marketing team showing the reader how good a book can be. It would be devastating to see that fall.”
George Burgess, founder of Gojimo
“Everyone these days talks about personalised and adaptive learning – the idea that software based on you performance can guide you to the relevant resources – and that’s all based on big data. Data is the key to all of these enhancements that we will see in the future.” Continue reading Big BookBrunch interviews update!
In amongst the post-Brexit chaos, last Friday’s weekly BookBrunch interview was with Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. As a life-long fan, it was a complete and utter honour getting to talk with him. We talked libraries, political cartoons, getting children reading and a whole lot more. Read the full article over on BookBrunch, or read a snippet here…
Libraries as the source: An interview with Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell
I first met Chris Riddell some weeks ago sketching in the Green Room at Hay Festival. In amongst the cheery chatter, he seemed to exist in a pleasantly peaceful bubble, and that, once again, is the impression I get talking to him on the phone. He’s in his garden apparently, and there are birds singing in the background.
Riddell is a phenomenally successful illustrator, currently holding the title of Children’s Laureate, and on Monday night he became the first person to win the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal three times for his work on The Sleeper and the Spindle, written by Neil Gaiman. Continue reading BookBrunch | The Weekly Interview with Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell
It feels very hard to write anything post-referendum. I’ve been reading Lionel Shiver’s The Mandibles and she writes about “where-were-you-when” moments a lot – Friday morning really felt like one of those moments.
As someone who works in the arts, I find this an absolutely heartbreaking decision for our country to have taken, but it’s also painful more personally as well. I wrote a piece for BookBrunch today on Brexit and the future of literature funding and one of the translators I interviewed for it, Jen Calleja, said: “It feels like the UK has announced that being English and being European, or being English but part something else, is incompatible.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Brexit and the future of literature funding
UK folks, there’s a big old referendum happening tomorrow, so get your box-crossing pens at the ready! I don’t mind which way you vote but please, please make sure you do vote. For many of us this may be the most important issue we ever vote on and your voice counts as much as everyone else’s.
If your still on the fence, here’s a piece I wrote up for BookMachine on how the EU affects your rights as a worker. Read the full article right here.
Are yEUr rights protected? Workers’ rights and the EU
It has become fashionable to grumble about ‘EU Red Tape’. However, on closer inspection, these laws that we so easily complain about offer huge protection for workers across the UK.
Rights the EU enforces and protects
Amongst other things, EU law ensures that our government must give workers paid holidays, rights for new mothers, 18 weeks of parental leave, limits on how long we can be forced to work, protection from discrimination against religion, belief, gender assignment, sexuality, age and race. Continue reading BookMachine | Are yEUr rights protected? Workers’ rights & the EU
Once again, I’ve been remiss on BookBrunch interview updates, so here are a couple for your perusal…
“About a year ago, I noticed that some of the best writing in the world – and certainly in this country – is being published by small presses. If I felt I was fairly engaged and involved with the British literary world, and this stuff hadn’t reached my radar, that’s not a failure on my part, or the presses, but the bit in between, the media. It made me realise that I had to do something.”
Costa-shortlisted novelist Neil Griffiths on his latest endeavour: the Republic of Consciousness Prize for small independent publishers. Read the full article here. Continue reading BookBrunch | A Duo of Discussions
Last night saw the launch of Snapshots III, the third annual collaborative book produced by BookMachine and Kingston University Press. Once again, the Kingston Publishing MA students have got together to pick their favourite BookMachine articles and turn them into a blook – which this year included a few of mine!
To celebrate, myself and fellow featured columnists Seonaid McLeod and Alison Jones each gave a ten minute talk on where we thought publishing was headed. Alison talked about how publishers can succeed – and fail – at selling books in the current environment, while Seonaid highlighted the interconnectedness currently growing in publishing markets around the world. My talk was all about lobsters, which are more relevant to publishing that you might think.
Continue reading Lobsters & Publishing: BookMachine launches Snapshots III
I spent much of the last little while working at Hay Festival on the Welsh border, surrounded by books and authors, and making some wonderful new friends.
Of course, because there were books involved, I did a little daily wrap for BookBrunch every day:
Some of you might remember that last year around this time, some of my BookMachine articles were featured in the Snapshots II, a collaborative book produced by BookMachine and Kingston University Press.
Well this year, for the third year in a row, the Kingston Publishing MA students have got together to pick their favourite BookMachine articles and turn them into a blook – and this year THREE of my articles are going to be featured in it! Most thrilling.
The launch will be held on the 8th June, not far away now, and – gulp – I will be doing a five-minute talk as part of the event. It’s the first time I will ever have talked about publishing in public, so I’m very excited and not a little nervous. Hope to see you there!
GET TICKETS HERE
Hold your breath. This week I got to interview How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell – and it was as awesome as it sounds! Read our full conversation over on BookBrunch, or get stuck in with this excerpt right here:
There can be no argument that Cressida Cowell’s children’s book series HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON has been extraordinarily successful. Testament to this, perhaps, is the fact that Cressida calls me for our interview from a cab between meetings, but that is not to say she doesn’t give me her full attention. In fact, Cowell is as genuine and enthusiastic as you could possibly want. We talk isolated Scottish islands, what it’s like being a parent, and that last How To Train Your Dragon book.
From books to screen
Cowell discovered she wanted to write seriously after studying English at university, during a brief stint as an Editorial Assistant. “I realised that I didn’t want to be on the business side, I wanted to be on the other side – the creative side – so I then went back to art school,” she says. “I was quite a long time in education. In the end I did an MA, but now I look back and think I couldn’t have missed any bit of it. It was all kind of crucial even though it took a long time.”
Continue reading BookBrunch | How to move your readers: An interview with Cressida Cowell