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
This week for the BookBrunch interview, I chatted with Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, one of the founders of Cassava Republic Press, a leading African trade publisher who has just expanded to the UK. Read the full article over on BookBrunch.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf is one of those infectiously inspirational women who leave you feeling very hopeful about the future of publishing. She has a cast-iron confidence in the lists of her publishing house, Cassava Republic Press, which she co-founded ten years ago in Nigeria, and her positivity about their recent move to the UK shines through. Here, we discuss Cassava Republic’s beginnings, UK expansion and how African writing fits into the wider world. Continue reading BookBrunch | ‘One country at a time, one book at a time’: An interview with Bibi Bakare-Yusuf from Cassava Republic Press
This week for the BookBrunch interviews, I talk to comedian and author Sara Pascoe about feminism, comedy and her brand new book, Animal. You can find the full article, right here.
Comedian Sara Pascoe sits in a room at the Faber offices surrounded by piles of her new book, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body. She speaks quickly, as if each of her thoughts are eager to be expressed first, and uses her hands expressively to illustrate her points.
We’re here to talk about Animal, but in our half-hour chat the conversation zips from feminism and publishing to empathy and burning orangutans, all set against the backdrop of her career as a comedian. Continue reading BookBrunch | “How can we be good?” An interview with Sara Pascoe
A fortnight’s worth of BookBrunch interviews for you, one with the marvellous and truly friendly Vivian French from Picturehooks, the other with the busiest man in town, Unbound’s Scott Pack…
“It’s really embarrassing because the answer is I don’t know how many books I’ve published! It’s more than 250 – in fact, it’s probably crawling up towards really rather ridiculous numbers – but I always excuse myself by saying I have been around a rather long time. My first books were published in 1990!”
Vivian French on the Picturehooks Conference and being a children’s author. Read the full article here. Continue reading BookBrunch Interviews: Double-Whammy
This week has been one of my favourite times of year: London Book Fair! I actually think it’s genuinely possible that I get as excited about LBF as I do about Christmas. The LBF video team cornered me at the Quantum Conference about my experience of the Fair, which you can see here, and is probably the most articulate I can be about why I love it so much. Continue reading Report from London Book Fair 2016
This week, I had to hold back my inner Cirque du Freak fangirl when I interviewed master of horror, Darren Shan. We talked boundaries in YA horror, getting shelf-space on a fast publication schedule and the urge to write. You can read the full interview over on BookBrunch.
Very bright and very dark: Darren Shan on writing for the cusp
Darren Shan (real name: Darren O’Shaughnessy) is famous for his YA horror stories: from Cirque du Freak on, so if your child has a penchant for the darker side of fantasy, Shan is probably a household name.
As the final instalment of his latest Zom-B series approaches, we sat down to discuss the light and dark sides of being a teenager, why zombies work with strong themes, and how he’s managed to publish twelve books in just four years. Continue reading BookBrunch | Very bright and very dark: an interview with Darren Shan
Much excitement today, as I’m preparing my readings for tonight’s Open Pen Anthology launch at Clapham Books in south London. Come on down and lend your support to a fabulous publication!
Wednesday 6th April 2016
7pm – Clapham Books
Open Pen Anthology Launch
Readers include: James Vella; Mat Woolfenden; Liam Hogan; Ben Byrne; Darren Lee; Peter Higgins and myself. Look forward to seeing you there!
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve given you an update on the BookBrunch interviews I’ve been writing, so here’s a little list of March’s chats – and keep your eyes peeled, I’ve got a real winner coming up this week!
Continue reading March’s BookBrunch interviews!
This week for the BookBrunch interview I had to curb my enthusiasm as I got to interview author of The Lie Tree and recent Costa winner Frances Hardinge:
Frances Hardinge talks about her suprise at her Costa win, what it might mean for children’s books, and how and why she writes
Just when you think publishing’s getting staid, it turns around and does something delightful to change your mind. The Costa Book of the Year to children’s and YA author Frances Hardinge for her novel The Lie Treewas one of those moments.
Against the odds
Hardinge is only the second children’s author – after Philip Pullman – to win Book of the Year since the Costa (previously Whitbread) adopted this format in the mid-Eighties. “That’s, of course, one of the reasons why I didn’t think I’d get it,” she says, with what is becoming known as trademark modesty.
“At first I just felt completely stunned, then I felt stunned, sleep-deprived, and as if somebody had attached me to a sort of media rollercoaster. Now, I’m working my way around to it sometimes actually sinking in. There’s been a great deal of happiness throughout. On the occasions where it has sunk in, I have a tendency to giggle… I still can’t really quite believe that this is actually happening!” Continue reading BookBrunch | Endlessly Curious: In conversation with Frances Hardinge