Mark Buckland of Cargo Publishing on the Edinburgh International Book Festival [INTERVIEW]

Mark_Buckland_CargoComprising the Jazz Festival, the Art Festival, the Film Festival and of course the world famous Comedy Festival; Edinburgh International Festival has just drawn to a close. It’s a month of make or break for the brash and the brave talents of the arts scene. The book festival itself has been going since 1983 and like a fine cheese, gets bigger (admittedly, this is not necessarily true of cheese) and better with age. 2012 saw upwards of 190,000 bibliophiles trying to dodge the street performers cluttering up the city’s streets and investing in cultural hangovers. The obligatory actual hangovers may still be clouding a few brows, but Mark Buckland, head of Cargo Publishing, the Glasgow based Indy and future publisher of @50shadesglasgow – managed a few coherent sentences.


EIBF is an additional networking opportunity in the publishing calendar but do you buy at the bookfair, or is it purely useful for promotion?

Absolutely; I’d say we probably start and conclude more business at the book festival than at any other event. The promotional aspect is huge but for getting ideas started it’s a great arena-it’s such an informal setting and everyone is quite relaxed so it’s where new ideas spring from.


Your new title, Elsewhere, is published in partnership with EIBF. Has the Edinburgh Book Festival been very important for expanding your business as an Indy?

They’ve been huge. Elsewhere is the first time the EIBF have co-published with an outside organisation, so for it to be ourselves and McSweeney’s is a huge honour. But more importantly, they might be the biggest book festival in the world, but they gave Cargo a platform from the offset-they gave us shows when we only had one book out and were just a tiny independent. They don’t forget their grassroots and I find that hugely admirable.


What do you predict as the biggest books coming out of this year’s Book Fair?

Cargo’s Elsewhere is certainly huge – 50 authors, three publishers and four books. Tales From The Mall by Ewan Morrison got a great amount of exposure at the festival, but I’m biased as that’s ours. I was really interested by some of the independent publishers’ work-Tindal Street, Freight and Comma all had excellent shows and I thought Kohl Publishing’s launch showed they mean business. In terms of the individual authors, I thought Irvine Welsh was superb and Jen Hadfield winning the Edwin Morgan Prize showed the arrival of a major new poet-as did William Letford’s appearances.

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