Monday, March 16, 2009

Being in the same room as writers....

After ten years of running a publishing house, I have found myself in the same room as many authors I admire. And of course, I have shyly looked across the room and done nothing.

So who are these people? Emma Barnes at Snowbooks has a great blog on Audrey Niffenegger's advance for her second book. The Time Traveller's Wife came into my horizon at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I met her US publisher, David Poindexter, of MacAdam Cage and it was his last appointment of the fair. He had just sold it to Chatto - damn, I said. I love a good time travel story.

Well, I did not have US $ 100,000 for the advance, and I do not have a few million for her second book, but I did spend time in the same room as Audrey Niffenegger. It was at the award ceremony for The Victoria & Albert Illustration Prize - we had won a prize the previous year, but for this one we were invited as one of our children's book was in the running. She won a prize for her illustrations on witches (yes, she is an artist first and foremost, not an author). I can confirm she is a deeply serious, artistic woman, who I would never have dared to go up to. Heigh ho.

Then J. K Rowling was at a Bloomsbury 5th anniversary disco for their paperback list. She was sitting quietly near the bar. Much as I would have loved to get my children's editions, signed, I did not have them on me. And this was before Harry Potter was famous, so she would have signed. That would have paid for their university educations. Heigh ho the second time.

Well, that leaves Hubert Selby Jr, our own author. I can confirm that he was in fine form when he visited London in 2002 for Waiting Period. He signed all my books, which I have kept in a safe place at home. As I was his taxi driver, party provider and publicity person, I think I deserved them!


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