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R.I.P. Gabriel García Márquez

Several outlets are reporting the death of Gabriel García Márquez, the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, at the age of 87. Following a decade and a half of declining health, including a successful fight with lymphatic cancer (diagnosed in 1999) and the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease (made public in 2012), a dehydrated Márquez was hospitalised earlier this month with infections of the lungs and urinary tract, ultimately succumbing to pneumonia. Continue Reading →

Donna Tartt wins Pulitzer for The Goldfinch

Donna Tartt’s third novel, The Goldfinch, has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The Pulitzer – one of the most prestigious prizes in American cultural life, awarded annually (for the most part) by Columbia University – is undoubtedly the most high-profile recognition Tartt’s novel has had since its October release. The $10,000 award joins the book’s placement in several publications’ 2013 year-end lists, its nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (where it was beaten by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah) and its being shortlisted for the yet-to-be-announced Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. Tartt’s previous novel, 2002′s The Little Friend, was the recipient of the WH Smith Literary Award in 2003, was also nominated for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize (then known as the Orange Prize for Fiction) and took home the Chris Ward Prize for Best Book I Read That Year That I Didn’t Have to Read for School (‘NOT A CASH PRIZE’ scrawled in black ink over the notification of victory). Continue Reading →

My London Book Fair Week #lbf14 [DIARY]

LBF 2014

Photo © BookMachine



The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014 shortlist was announced in style at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens. The party was buzzing with creative and passionate women including Kate Mosse, Mary Beard, Helen Fraser and Sarah Walters. It was a beautiful event to celebrate excellent writing from the following female novelists:

  • Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  • Burial Rights – Hannah Kent
  • The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
  • The Undertaking – Audrey Magee
  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

The winner will be announced on 4 June 2014.



The first day of the fair saw a giant choccywoccydoodah cake, the SYP seminars How to get into publishing & How to get ahead in publishing and the announcement of another shortlist.

I announced the Kim Scott Walwyn shortlist at the beginning of our second seminar. This is an award that celebrates exceptional female publishers:

  • Melissa Cox – Children’s New Titles Buyer at Waterstones
  • Lindsey Dalladay – Community Manager at Penguin Random House
  • Sarah Hesketh – Freelance Project Manager at The Poetry Translation Centre
  • Hellie Ogden – Literary Agent at Janklow & Nesbit
  • Anne Perry- Editor at Hodder & Stoughton

The winner will be announced on 13 May 2014.



The place to be was BookMachine pre-drinks at the fair and then the rockin Kobo party at Underbelly in Hoxton Square.



A few of us from the SYP went along to The Bookseller drinks — I had a Q&A in Tuesday’s LBF Daily and wanted to celebrate my newfound fame.



After a fabulous week, I was well and truly ready for bed! Instead I went out in Soho with a friend I met interning a couple of years ago. #TGIF

BookMachine London with Kingston University – The Blook Launch [EVENT]

Evie is co-host of next month’s BookMachine London

If a picture paints a thousand words then the next BookMachine event could be a very long night!

To celebrate the launch of Snapshots, the first publication from BookMachine, speakers will put this age-old phrase to the test and choose an image that, for them, captures the publishing industry as it currently stands, but don’t worry, we’ve limited them to five minutes each.

Snapshots has been created in partnership with the students of Kingston University MA in Publishing. It comes in the form of a Blook compiled of some of the best blogs from the BookMachine archive on digital, discoverability and collaboration.

To keep readily to the snapshot theme, alongside the usual networking, drinking and general frivolity, our polaroid photographer will be sneaking about and capturing the evening’s events as they happen, creating quite literal snapshots of the industry.

Currently we can confirm you’ll hear the dulcet tones of Eric Huang and Charles Catton as they explain their choices of imagery, and more names to be confirmed soon.


The Guardian launches monthly prize for self-published books

The Guardian has teamed with publisher Legend Times to launch a monthly prize that aims to find the best from amongst the vast swathes of self-published novels. Open to work either written in or translated into English of 40,000 words or longer, and having been self-published after 31 December 2011, each month a panel of readers (currently standing at 20, but ready to be broadened as demand requires) will whittle down submissions into a shortlist of ten titles, which will then be read by a panel of ‘expert judges’, with the winner’s prize a review in The Guardian, either online or in print, and the prestige of being named The Guardian Legend Self-Published Book of the Month. Authors can only submit one entry per month, and cannot submit the same title twice. The final submission date for the first month is 18 April. Continue Reading →

London Book Fair says Fair-well to Earls Court

As many of you already know, this is the last time the Earls Court Exhibition Centre is hosting the London Book Fair (the LBF)! If like me you can only remember the LBF being held at Earls Court, you are probably a little saddened by this fact or are perhaps feeling a bit sentimental right now.  After all, even though it is a business event there’s been many a good time had at the LBF over the past few years!

So why the need for a venue change? Well, certainly UK publishing folk may remember (or have recently been reminded about) the media coverage regarding plans for a redevelopment in Earls Court and West Kensington. Sadly this also includes plans to demolish the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. After reviewing the media coverage regarding The Earls Court Opportunity Area, the London Book Fair felt that the future of Earls Court as an exhibition venue from 2015 onwards, was uncertain and would probably be unavailable. In December of last year (2013) Reed Exhibitions announced that due to the uncertainty surrounding Earls Court’s availability as an exhibition venue, The London Book Fair 2014 (the 43rd) would be the last to take place at its current venue, Earls Court.

At the time of the decision being made, The London Book Fair presented two prospective London venue options to The London Book Fair Advisory bodies: 1) The ExCel Centre in London’s docklands and 2) Earls Court sister venue, Olympia. After extensive consultation with The Advisory bodies, a decision was made for the LBF to make the move to Olympia from 2015 onwards. Jacks Thomas (Director of The London Book Fair) said that she felt moving to Olympia to currently be the right move for the publishing industry, due to the industry having a “great affection for West London”.

Of course, LBF has been hosted at Olympia many times before, and was actually held their annually until  as recently as 2006. Interestingly enough, the Fair was originally called the ‘Specialist Publishers Exhibition for Librarians’ (later abbreviated to SPEX) and the first one was held in November 1971. The concept of the London Book Fair came from someone called Lionel Leventhal. After attending the London Arms Fair he was inspired to help start up an exhibit for librarians by small publishers ie SPEX! Then eventually from 1977 onwards, the book fair became known by its current name: The London Book Fair.

But what was wrong with the ExCel centre? London-based publishing consultant Janey Burton is just one of many publishers that are relieved to hear the LBF isn’t returning to the Docklands, where it was temporarily held back in 2006. As she recalls “there was a lot of ‘airplane hangar’: LBF was on one long side, there was a food court in the middle and a beauty/skincare Fair on the other side. I think the beauty Fair was geared towards customers and not the beauty industry so there were lots of members of the general public wandering around, often getting in the way of publishing industry members trying to do business at the LBF! In my opinion it wasn’t a very good experiment, and I believe there was also a general outcry from the publishing industry to go back to Earls Court, which of course they did.”  (Further reading and more comments from industry members can be found over on Publisher’s Weekly)

So this week, I know we’ll all be making the most of our last time at Earls Court (and for some of you it’ll actually be your first time too). But whilst we do bid one final farewell to the venue, let us try and remember to welcome our new future LBF home which is just next-door in Olympia.

Russell Brand rewriting fairy tales for Canongate

Though initially thought by some to be an April Fool’s prank, due to its appearance on YouTube on 1 April, a repost by Canongate’s YouTube account earlier today confirms that Russell Brand’s video announcing his plans to rewrite a series of fairy tales for children is, in fact, for real, and the first instalment of Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales will be with us by the end of the year. The two minute video finds Brand reading extracts from his retelling of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” and waxing philosophical about the power of fairy tales to shape children’s outlook on the world, striking a tone midway between Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and a Richard Kelly film. Continue Reading →

Faber Social publishing Can biography in 2016

On the heels of the announcement that Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside would be taking over from Andrew Weatherall as its artist in residence, Faber Social is continuing to delight a certain kind of music nerd (<—–this one) with the news that it is set to release an official two-volume biography of krautrock OGs Can, with the first instalment due in the spring of 2016. That initial volume will be a standard history of the group written by former editor of The Wire Rob Young, featuring interviews with the band’s members. It will be followed by what’s being called a ‘symposium’ volume, a collection of essays curated in part by band member Irmin Schmidt and written by a selection of the many who have been influenced by Can over the past 40 years, including the aforementioned Weatherall, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, which has reissued Can’s discography. Continue Reading →

BookMachine’s blook: the project and the process

So, you may have heard, BookMachine have teamed up with Kingston University Press to publish a collection of blog posts. It’s called Snapshots: Bookmachine on digital, discoverability and collaboration and will be available in print and as an ebook. The blook was edited, designed and produced by a small team of students with next-to-no experience in book production, and they had just 7 weeks do it in. Sounds like a tall order? This is how we did it …

Lecturers Anna Faherty and Judith Watts from Kingston University’s Publishing MA course instigated, organised and have overseen the process. Without their round-the-clock dedication this project wouldn’t have even made it out of the pipeline.

They appointed an editor and project manager from the course (myself) to contact the 46 authors and contributors, collate the manuscript, brief the students and communicate with everyone (a lot).

Entrusted with content from some of the biggest names in the industry, what the student production team achieved in the given time was no mean feat. They took the basic manuscript and copy-edited, designed, typeset, proofread and converted it into an ebook – all the while juggling their other deadlines, internships and jobs.

And the result? We now have a professional-looking product that will sit proudly on our bookshelves (and e-readers) for years to come, and the practical knowledge and experience we need to fuel our future careers.

So take two amazing tutors, a dynamic and future-focused client and students with buckets full of enthusiasm, and you can get a lot more done than you might think.

You can read more about the blook here, or meet the team and get a sneak preview at BookMachine’s event at The London Book Fair.