Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Catheryn here. It's been a while since I blogged - my excuses are a flying visit to New York and Boston for our sales conference with Consortium, and a battle with my gall bladder, although in early January I have surgery after a four month wait. Yippee! I could write a book on the NHS, an institution starved of resources which we all rely on.

So, here is a little record of the Christmas messages which have pleased us the most. Firstly, a lovely embossed Moleskin notebook from the Hay Festival. The Hay Festival has been key in the making of our authors reputations - first, they agreed to take Elif Shafak when no one knew who she was, and she stunned an audience of 500 and has never looked back. Then Maureen Freely went this year, and loved it so much she stayed for five days (sorry Faber, I think you got the lion's share of a whopper of a hotel bill), and this year we hope to send Rhyll McMaster to Hay, to talk about Feather Man.

Today we had an email Christmas card from Waterstone's - yea! Retailers appreciate independent publishers! We certainly appreciate retailers, so it's good to feel loved back. Next, my HUGE desk diary from Haynes, who have just had their first order from us for printing. Now, I like cars as much as most women do (they are not exactly the stuff of my wildest dreams), and I am the only driver in my house, so I'm not sure what do with the monthly drawings of the innards of the Ford Zodiac etc, but the Appointments schedule at the back will be invaluable for book fairs. My computer crashed irrevocably one September and I had to painstakingly recreate my Frankfurt schedule from memory as I had not printed it out - never again!

So, have a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR, all you booky people out there.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Christmas party that is, ours, tonight. Now, this may sound a rather optimistic proposition for an office of three people BUT not only are we now FOUR ( A new designer, we'll be able to show some examples of her work soon...), we invite other people to bring the numbers up to a jolly party.

And it's been a good year: Chocolate and Zucchini, Enlightenment, Four Walls, Touba and the Meaning of Night,thelistgoesonletsjustsayourbooks... all did well in very different ways and over an extended period of time, and This May Help You Understand the World is rocking around the Christmas tree at the moment. But even more exciting is the feeling that if this year was good, the next (touch wood)... could be... (are you still touching wood?) Great. Here's hoping...

Some odds and ends:

There is a new Pauline Kael author page as I mentioned.

A dialogue between two young women heard on the tube (commuting, I am currently discovering, is rather wonderful for catching up on both backlist and submissions, although it's hard to carry A4 sheets and a coffee at the same time. They sometimes end up entwined.):

'What did you think?'
'Yeah, I really liked it.'
'Yeah, I really like it when people take history and then make it into a story, and that's what you've done'

At which point I reached my stop. I think I shall call it the discovery of the historical novel.

And thanks to 3AM and the British Council for their very different but equally enjoyable Christmas parties.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Stockhausen RIP

The sad news came over the weekend that Karlheinz Stockhausen has died. Fan or not, there's no doubt that he was one of the most distinctive figures in 20th Century music. he inspired many very different kinds of musicians and his electronic experimentation was especially innovatory.
Here's our author page and here's our book Stockhausen on Music.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Functioning at 65%...cough...64...cough...63...

The office is riddled with coughs and splutters today but too much has been going on recently not to leave some kind of post.

Firstly TV. Yes, that's right, we've got writers on it. Channel Fives' Cooking the Books kindly hosted two of our newest recruits: Victoria and Lucinda. Much excitement in the run up to this: hairdressers were visited and the phrase 'glammed up' used. You'll be able to see the results on Boxing Day 2007.

Secondly Maureen Freely took part in an event with Martin Amis and Ed Hussain on Monday night, a 650 seat sell out. Of course, the event was lent much of its piquancy by the fact that Amis has recently been portrayed as attacking all muslims everywhere – a story too eye catching to be dulled by looking at what the man actually said.
The event sounds like it was a good evening: a couple of accounts by those who were actually there:

Prospect Magazine

Liberal Conspiracy

and also Maureen's own account.

And thirdly: Congratulations to Clotilde Dusoulier whose Chocolate and Zucchini won the Best French Cuisine book in the UK section of Gourmand magazine's World Cook Book Awards 2007.