Category: Interviews

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A million downloads and counting: Beyond the Book podcast

In this interview, Christopher Kenneally of the Copyright Clearance Center takes us behind the scenes of the Beyond the Book podcast, which has been broadcasting news and analysis from across the industry since 2006.

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Melissa J. Davies

Hatching a brand-new bookshop: interview with Pigeon Books

Melissa J. Davies describes the origin story of Pigeon Books, currently Southsea’s tiniest bookshop. It’s a pop-up shop at the moment, and hopes to have a permanent home soon.

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Colin Steven

Velocity Press: interview with founder Colin Steven

Whatever else 2019 is offering us, one thing is certain: this is a great era for small-but-powerful publishing startups. In this interview, we meet Colin Steven, the founder of new independent publishing house Velocity Press.

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2017 in review: Interview with Holly Harley

Holly Harley is a senior editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, where she works on literary non-fiction including history, science, memoir and current affairs. She joined W&N in 2012 as an editorial assistant, prior to working for Gwyneth Paltrow’s website goop. Norah Myers interviews her here.

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A year in review: Interview with Lara Borlenghi

Lara Borlenghi has been Finance Director at Pan Macmillan for five years. Prior to this, Lara worked for 15 years in a variety of finance roles for different media companies, including Warner Music, Grazia magazine, Magic Radio and BBC Worldwide. Norah Myers interviews her here. 

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Career progression: Interview with Publisher Jeremy Trevathan

Jeremy Trevathan is the Publisher at Pan Macmillan in the UK, responsible for the adult division, which publishes authors as diverse as Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Danielle Steel, Alan Hollinghurst, Cormac McCarthy, Nelson Mandela and Joe Wicks. Here, Norah Myers chats with him about the progression of his career.

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Interview with Francesca Main, Publishing Director at Picador

Francesca Main is Publishing Director at Picador, where her authors include Jessie Burton, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Emma Flint, Mark Watson and Adam Kay. She was named Editor of the Year at the Bookseller Industry Awards in 2015. Previously, she worked at Simon & Schuster, Hamish Hamilton and Penguin and has also taught creative writing and editing for the Arvon Foundation.

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Interview with WriteNow mentor Lydia Yadi

WriteNow, Penguin Random House UK’s programme to find, mentor and publish new writers currently under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves, is back for 2017. The world’s number-one publisher is looking for new writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) and BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) writers, or writers with a disability, to make books and publishing more representative of the society we live in. Find out more and apply at Applications close on 16 July 2017. Join the conversation using #WriteNowLive @PenguinRHUK. 

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On being a Rising Star and Literary Agent: Ariella Feiner interview

Ariella Feiner started working at PFD in 2006 before moving to United Agents and is now nurturing her own client list which includes many bestselling, critically acclaimed and award winning authors across fiction and non-fiction, including a million-copy selling author and ground-breaking non-fiction. In 2017, The Bookseller named her as a Rising Star. Here, Norah Myers interviews her about being included in that list.

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Don’t Hold My Head Down: Interview with Lucy-Anne Holmes

Lucy-Anne Holmes is a writer and campaigner. Her last novel Just a Girl Standing In Front of a Boy won the Romantic Novelists Association ‘Rom Com of the Year 2015’ and she founded the successful No More Page 3 campaign. She is currently raising funds for her book Don’t Hold My Head Down with Unbound here.

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Interview with Windham-Campbell Prize winner Ashleigh Young

The Windham-Campbell Prizes were recently awarded to lucky novelists, playwrights, and poets. Norah Myers interviews one winner, Ashleigh Young, here.

1) Huge congratulations on winning a Windham-Campbell Prize. What does it mean to you?

Thank you very much, and it’s hard to sum up what this means for me, because truly, it means everything. I always knew I would write, because that’s when I felt most like myself, but I knew I would need to do it on the sidelines. My mother had this phrase she’d often shout to get my brothers and me off to school in the mornings: ‘Time is marching on!’ I always got morose when I heard it, because it meant there would never be enough time for the things I really wanted to do. And now, suddenly, I can pause for a moment. I can write out in the open, while time marches on all around me, and it will be OK. Nothing will be lost. That permission is pretty extraordinary.

2) How will this help your writing?

Mostly, the permission to write will help me to focus, because my concentration will not be splintered by all of the things I should be doing instead. It will remind me: this is the right thing; this is something you can do with your full self.

I think also this prize will help me to be a little more ambitious in the subjects I choose to write about. If I ever decide to write about those huge terrifying robot dogs or about the giant w?t? that live in caves in New Zealand (w?t? have been described as ‘like crickets, but steampunk’), I can take the time to do some research so that I can write about them.

3) Money aside, how is this prize different from others you could win?

It celebrates writers without bringing along all the usual baggage of prizes – the longlisting and shortlisting, the sleepless nights, the teeth-grinding. The prize circumnavigates all of that and leaps straight into the moment of celebration. There’s a scene in The Simpsons where Lisa wakes up to find a pony sleeping in the bed beside her, and she lets out a huge scream but then embraces the pony. It’s a bit like that. It genuinely changes the lives of writers. I think also it must be the only literary prize that recipients regularly confuse for phishing or spam – but, I mean, it’s understandable.

4) What do you look forward to most when writing your next books?

Mostly, the pure fun of it. I look forward to that moment when you know you have found the right thread of the story and you feel sure that you’ve managed to articulate or evoke something that you just couldn’t before now. It’s that feeling of optimism that you’ll reach your reader. I’m working on a poetry collection right now, and another essay collection will follow after that, and I’m really excited about both.

5) What advice would you give your younger self when you were just starting out as an author?

Don’t try to be certain about anything yet. Be uncertain for just a bit longer. Don’t be afraid of having questions about everything, especially about things you’re supposed to already know. The longer you can ask questions, the more interesting the answers might be later.

Also, stop sending your stories to real writers and asking for their advice. They’re busy.

Born and raised in Te Kuiti, New Zealand, Ashleigh Young is the author of the critically acclaimed book of poetry Magnificent Moon (2012), as well as the essay collection Can You Tolerate This? (2016), which is a finalist for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. An editor at Victoria University Press, Young is also a creative writing tutor at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.

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