Monday, November 23, 2009

Reviews - good god, about time

Reviews for SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Luis Leante are finally starting as people wake up to this book.

The humanitarian angle is certainly important - this people, the Saharawi's of the Western Sahara, cannot send athletes to the Olympics because they do not have a state.

But more importantly, this is the kind of book, when you read it, that you will look back on from a year's worth of reading and say, yes, that was good - more than good. But don't believe me - read the reviews. They are not biased.


'With vivid imagery of desperate village life and keen insight into multicultural influences, Leante’s rich, often poetic novel of romance and international politics evokes a sensuous yet savage period in this region’s tumultuous history.' Booklist, USA

'...set against one of those ongoing arenas of conflict that the media chooses to ignore - the struggle for independence of the Saharawi people of the Western Sahara first from the Spanish and later from Moroccan dominance...a necessary context to a painfully compelling story of love and loss.' Morning Star

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Wave - 12pm Grosvenor Square 5th December

Hmmm - publishing folk tend towards the green, and they definitely tend towards the inpecunious - happily being green and not buying large 4 x 4 Land Rovers or Lexus cars co exist well.

So, Saturday 5th December - make it a date to go in your diary.

Once the Saturday Guardian has been read, get yourself down to Grosvenor Square, wearing BLUE, and join in the march to Paliament Square for 3pm where the intention is to encircle the square. Yes, it does sound a little hippy - and I went on the TREE HUGGER web site today looking for ways to bring RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist by Tamsin Omond to people's attention, but gave up when I saw that tree huggers regard posting anything as ungreen (and that includes books, which are made of recycled paper fibres). So obviously direct action is a better way to publicize green issues than books in some people's eyes. Personally, I think books are a great way to convey ideas so I'll be there, wearing BLUE, with a copy of RUSH! about my person. I may even wave it in the air. Who knows....

Monday, October 26, 2009

What do all the books listed below which have been published by Marion Boyars in the past few years have in common?

Requiem for a Dream Hubert Selby Jr
Enlightenment Maureen Freely
The German Momey Lev Raphael
The Flea Palace Elif Shafak
The Gaze Elif Shafak
On a quick walk through the fiction shelves at the Putney Central Library, Wandsworth, these books were on display, and all had no less than eight library stamps in them. Well read, enjoyed, and waiting for the next browser. I just finished Lorrie Moore's excellent A Gate at the Stairs, in which the rather crazy Sarah takes books out of the library for her two year old daughter, and puts them in the microwave to get rid of the germs. I avoid really badly marked library books, since you do not know where they were last, but I love libraries - the possibilities, and the fact that your own house remains a little less cluttered. I did have to admit to myself that our house probably contains more fiction than all the fiction shelves in the Putney library. Oh well. Once I have bought and enjoyed a book, I cannot take it to an Oxfam shop. Too much of a good friend....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Frankfurt Book Fair

I'm just back from the Frankfurt Book Fair. It was fun, not as busy as the past few years (especially Saturday - very few people in the aisles of Hall 8 and just a few meetings). But one thought I had was this - the stands were full of new books, every subject, shape and author under the sun. I could have browsed for ages and there were a lot of books I would have liked to buy at the end of the Fair if I had space to pack them.

So, the current Kindle vs book discussion - can you imagine an international rights fair where all the books are on Kindle screens - a kind of book electronica. The book fair would be a little like a grey TV shop. Back to black and white on screens.

Just an idea - and I think it proves the book is here to stay. The publishing industry will be further split into massive firms and smaller ones supported by government initiatives or private patronage. This is a shame, and it is why Marion Boyars is finding itself divided in two - one part up for sale, the name and the history, with a large culturally divergent backlist, and the main fiction titles finding new homes at Penguin Modern Classics. It's not really a sad scenario as I know it is the right thing for 2010 and onwards. We had a great boom over the past ten years in retail and in education, but we are now in more digitally challenged times, so change is a coming in.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Luis Leante world tour....SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU

Yes, he has visited twenty countries since winning the Alfaguera prize in 2007 - and arrived today fresh from two days at the Berlin International Festival. Tomorrow Luis will be reading at the Instituto Cervantes, 102 Eaton Square, from 6.30pm, and then on Monday he will be at the Tabernacle in Powis Square (northern side - closest to the westway, Portobello and all that - just down the road from Westbourne Park tube), from 7pm. Our launch is in tandem with the Sandblast Arts charity, and we will have a guitarist, artefacts, a show of powerful images from the desert Saharawi people.

And you may be tempted to join the run in the Sahara desert next year in February. Apparently it's OK to just do 5 km....or even walk them if you have flat feet like I do! Since when has walking in a desert been a wuss activity anyway?

See you at one of these events, I hope. Wine in London and you'd only want water in the desert...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

RUSH! on the move - tour by horse

Photographer Peter Marshall is with the Climate Rush tour as it progresses from Sipson to Aylesbury, then Oxford where they plan to close down the airport just renamed London Airport (!) on the 12th September, and then on to Bristol if they are not put in prison first.

The above link is to his web site, mylondondiary - nothing to do with the Evening Standard and the famous column of the same name - and I hope lots of people will look at the photographs, and ask for permission to reprint them (as I did).

Last Friday, September 4th, Rebecca and I went and joined the RUSH! at Sipson, held on the land that Greenpeace have bought with 10,000 signatories, to stop the development on the third runway at Heathrow.

Now, in case people think this is a piece of jumping on the bandwagon publishing, let me make it clear that I live and work directly underneath the Heathrow flight path. I can hear aeroplanes now going over the office in Putney. In the summer, it is hard to talk in our garden for the noise of the planes - in fact I was amazed that in Sipson, right up against the perimeter fence of Heathrow, the noise was identical to that in my garden.

In fact, finding Spison was hard. It officially does not exist. It is not on the map. Not at all so no matter how good your map reading skills are, it makes no difference, you just have to guess which is the Northern perimeter of the airport and head towards it. We were taking copies of RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist, for Tamsin to sign and sell as they progress on the tour.

When you get near to Sipson, there is just one tiny signpost for a left turn, and then you are in the village. In fact, the village has a great pub, but very few shops and no real centre. The camp on the Greepeace land is just behind the King William 1v pub - or as it is affectionately known to the locals - behind the King Willy.

The camp itself was idyllic. September sunshine, gifts of fruit from the locals, the horses gently resting in the background, the tarpaulins of the carts being sewn, tents up, a large fire starting for the evening. The locals were all delighted to see the Climate Rush! suffragettes and to read about themselves in the book. I met many people, and really wanted to stay all evening and join the camp. I nearly ran away with the fairies and never came back. It is all hugely fun and the nicest of times, while being essential to raise awareness of the fragility of nature. Sipson used to be on a site called Heath Row, and it was a huge market garden, which is why it is still full of fruit trees. The houses are small, and loved, though every time you mow the lawn you must think, is it worth it, when will the bulldozers arrive? It reminded me of the beginning of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, but this is for real, with real people, right up the road.

It will mean that more people will vote for David Cameron next May as he has said he will cancel the third runway. But that was what Gordon Brown said also. Who can trust politicians now? We have enough flights for business and travel to flourish - we do not need more. It's all about moderation - and we should not treat this planet as an endless resource. Because, although the Climate Camp at Sipson was lovely, and people were having a nice time, when it is a runway, they certainly will not. I heard a journalist on the radio last night saying he is done with flying when he goes on holiday - he takes a train or drives. And when you arrive somewhere with cheap flights, it is full of tourists. Finding the 'real' world is hard, because we, in the first world, have fully invaded it. I may sound like an old fashioned reactionary, but it's just about doing with less, and being happy with less, as a way of life. I hope the young see Tamsin and her friends, and decide she is right - it takes a massive change of lifestyle. But I think her example, which you can read about in her book, will have some impact...I hope so.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm currently doing the review copy mailing of RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist by Tamsin Omond.

Well, - the mailing bit will be minimal - most of these copies will be delivered by van - ADT carry parcels between publishers and newspapers and agents within the M25. Those that do need to be posted will go out in envelopes we have purchased from Paperback Recycled Paper Merchants in Bow ( I worked for Paperback back in 1991 - as their Product Marketing Executive - which meant I visited designers with samples, set up a dummy service, and co ordinated the launch of Corona, as well I could, as when I took the job I was pregnant with Tessa (now nearly 18) and Ella, who was a toddler. I can remember being seven months pregnant and lugging samples up eight flights of stairs to visit designers, and doing the delivery run with their van was a fun job but I had to quit a few months later when Tessa was born.

Our review copies are packed thus - couldn't be greener.

Labels affixed to books with a red Post Office rubber band - books packed in cartons (by newspaper) which have come from printers. The book is printed on mechanical waste - pulp with no bleach added. It's a cute book too - 130mm x 160mm - should stand out and really fit in your pocket - which is what paperbacks were designed to do originally...

I hope the editors of the various newspapers appreciate how green this mailing is...

Friday, August 14, 2009

I am preparing eldest daughter for a six week adventure in Vietnam, Malaysia and perhaps Bali - she leaves this evening. I was asked what I suggested she read on long coach trips, and had to admit my favourite book which I read at 19, when travelling around South America, was Watership Down by Richard Adams. At the time, I also knew that my mother, Marion Boyars, had turned it down - big mistake. I loved it! So today I went to Waterstone's in Putney and bought a copy - it's sold as a children's book, but think it will be good reading for an Anthropology student, as it was for myself, about to read English & Philosophy at Bristol University.

While having a break from the July book keeping, I got the book out. And what do I discover - at 89, Richard Adams is alive and well. He was able to retire in 1974 after the phenomenal success of Watership Down - that's 35 happy years of walking in the natural habitat around his home in Whitchurch, Hampshire. Who said that publishing wasn't a good thing!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If you happen to be travelling or staycationing this summer, and pick up the August edition of Vogue, you'll find a long article on the new generation of climate activists. Included in them is Tamsin Omond, author of RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist, which we are preparing for press - October publication.

Many years ago, I was a student at Bristol University. In my third year, I organised the first Schumacher Lectures - in remembrance of the author of Small is Beautiful (a moniker that can be used to describe this publishing house). I asked the student union offficers (one Dave Cohen,now a comedy script writer, was our President) for the use of the whole building on a Saturday, and was given it for free, organised a PA system, designed and got the tickets printed, sold them (it sold out) - so organised close circuit TV in an overflow room, and handed all the money bar one bottle of whisky, over to the Schumacher Society. RD Laing was the main speaker, and we were all thrilled he was coming to the university. The lectures raised over £1500.00 which in 1978 was worth at least £10,000.00. And I'm still organising author events now...

On September 17th, Luis Leante, author of See How Much I Love You, is coming to speak at the Instituto Cervantes in Eaton Square, and on Monday, 21st September, he will be at the Tabernacle Centre in Notting Hill Gate, introducing his book with Danielle Smith, who organises the excellent charity, Sandblast Arts. Sandblast exists to highlight the plight of over 200,000 Saharawi people, who live in the Western Sahara as refugees, thirty years on from the invasion of the territory by Moroccan forces. This is the subject matter of the novel, See How Much I Love You. Sarahawi music plays when the Marion Boyars web site is visited, you may have noticed. Danielle is organising a sonsored run in the Sahara desert in February 2010, which I hope Patrick Kilgarriff will be running in, and maybe I'll do a short run there - although I maintain I have the wrong kind of feet for running - a swim I'd do. More about all these activities soon on our Events page - at the moment, in July, I am just getting all the different people involved in this event organised - no small feat! Then I turn myself into a travel agent to organise the travel...let alone getting the books printed in time....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I was lucky enough to attend the 14 Juillet celebrations at the French Ambassador's residence in Kensington Palace Gardens this week. A small number of literary independent presses get invited - Dedalus Press, Arcadia Books, Portobello, and us, and some translators, Euan Cameron, Roz Schwartz, and Vivienne Menkes. Gary Pulsifer of Arcadia Books is very good at star spotting, and introduced me to P. D. James - indeed, he addressed her as Phyllis. The book of hers I most loved was An Unsuitable Job for a Woman - something many people have said about publishing, but I think she meant being a murderer.

I also glimpsed Quentin Blake. Sadly, Arsene Wenger was not to be seen, nor Virginia Bottomley or any other Conservative grandees, or Jon Snow - all people I have spotted in the past. But we enjoyed the party, and wonder if we'll be magically on the list to be invited again next year. None of us can work out why we are on it at all.

Friday, June 12, 2009

We had a book launch. Or was it a party? It felt like a party on the night, and it definitely felt like one the day after. Most noteworthy was the arrival of two genuine hippies. They came in, asked for a book to read, and then sat crossed legged at the foot of the stage, wearing hats, longish hair, beads and ethnic clothing. They were in their seventies, I would hazard a guess, and one of them was John Hoppy Hopkins. He founded International Times, and was a photographer of all poets, writers and literary figures. If you Google him, and find his web site, you will see photographs of many well known figures, including one I happen to be reading at the moment, the lovely Dannie Abse. I am reading his memoir about growing up in Cardiff, Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve. These days there is no ash on anyone's sleeve at a Betsey Trottwood book launch unless they are out on the street, sitting on the benches.

Tim Burrows gave a great speech, and Mike from The Roundhouse not only helped me sell books, but then TOOK OFF HIS SHIRT with the Roundhouse rubric and logo and gave it to Hoppy Hopkins. What more can I say except, buy FROM CBGB TO THE ROUNDHOUSE * and enjoy the nostalgia of past music events yourself - we have lots of brilliant photos in the book taken by Hayley Hatton.
* if you buy the book from The Book Depository, we'll get a small commission. If you buy it from this web site, we'll be happy too! In fact, we really don't mind where you buy it from, so long as you do.

The BookDepository

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

We got to the accountants

We tried a few accountancy magazines, but they are a shy bunch. Then we cracked it.
Latest selling email to hit my Inbox...but my mother would have been amazed. I mean, she spun as good as the rest of them (yes, for the first time in my life I am going to vote Green because I seriously do not believe any of the main parties - I've heard it all so many times before), but I did not ask Plimsoll to write this about Marion Boyars Publishers. Which means they have looked at our results at Companies House for themselves. But it's not worth 300 quid - and I recall Plimsoll going bust a few years ago and causing mega angst for many a small publisher. See, memory has its uses for humans as well as elephants..


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This brand new report is priced £350+VAT for a PDF version. As you are new to Plimsoll’s reports and services, I am offering a £50 introductory discount off your first report, reducing the cost to just £300+VAT. The report will be emailed to you today.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Well, there is one, and we've done our utmost to succeed in the task of producing imaginative, different, and exciting books. Looks like up to end September 08 we succeeded.

Another profitable year, our accountant told me today. Turnover good, as high as last year (yes, you'll have to sneak a look at the records at Companies House to find out - it's a really good result for a small company but not the kind of thing that makes the front pages of the financial press). So I hope all you booksellers out there listen up and order more Marion Boyars books - front list AND back list. They are easy to sell - maybe because they are not genre books, and thus are desirable. Go booksellers - to your ordering stations!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I'll admit it, today I am absolutely floored by the value systems used by the mighty in this world. We're supposed to admire Quercus for creating some best sellers, while not being able to pay their authors, and I see mention of them going back to investors for more money while spending huge sums of Stieg Larsson marketing. And incidentally, his partner of many years is not benefitting from his fame either, as his children refuse to acknowledge her needs. And our politicians are busy claiming for duck ponds and moats, and apparently are on suicide watch as their guilt surfaces - a wee bit too late.

One of the good chains is on its knees, and Books Etc in particular has always been good at supporting titles from independent presses, and so we have one large quality chain left. There is no way that all the good books to be published can be promoted in one chain, and yet there is no other way to sell any quantity of books.

We're enjoying fabulous publicity - Daily Mail and Evening Standard books of the week, Lettice Wilkinson of Charity Shopping will be on Robert Elms next week, and yet you try getting books into shops ahead of this publicity. It's not possible to do it. No. Or rather a deafening silence from the over worked key buyers. It's a real shame, and I think my idea of getting the large presses in the UK to buy Borders is not a bad one. At least the publishers would then have an interest in bookshops, and make sure, with sound editorial values, that good books got to be seen by the public, who, luckily, still love books. As we do here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Wow - we have a HEALTH BOOK OF THE WEEK in the Daily Mail as of 12th May! The choice and review is by a doctor, no less than Dr Thomas Stuttaford, the former Conservative MP for Norwich South. Maybe he is a friend of Victoria Cator, who is one of the cooking duo Victoria & Lucinda, of Flavour of the Month, published by us last summer, and who also hails from Norwich.

Anyway, here is the glorious review by Dr Stuttaford, who is also pictured in the Mail - he looks like just the kind of chap you would want for your family GP. And no, that's not him on the blog - that's our author Rosy Barnes, who is also in the news at the moment. Although I am sure that Rosy would have made a lovely, symapthetic doctor if she had not developed an interest in experimental drama, art and literature which seems to have rather diverted her career away from medicine or anything else sensible (next thing she will decide she wants to be a publisher - the least sensible thing of all...).

I can affirm that all of us in this office followed the advice of Dr Carole Hungerford, our author of THE GOOD BODY GUIDE, while editing and after. So we snack on fruit and dates in this office, take vitamins and we're actually all pretty healthy. So it works - buy the book on amazon or via our own web site, using secure PayPal which takes all credit cards. It's a bargain of a health book, and you will not regret it.

'Orthodox doctors and their patients will have few worries about accepting her general advice on diet. Those who have fallen prey to illness may need the support of wise words of doctors from Harvard, the BMA, or the Royal Society of Medicine. If, however, the reader is keen to keep out of the doctor's surgery and hospital, they could follow this lifestyle plan.' Daily Mail Dr Thomas Stuttaford, former Conservative MP for Norwich South and doctor for over 40 years

And other news - coming up on June 20th - author of Sadomasochism for Accountants will be taking part in an event for debut authors - Borders Book Festival, Melrose, Scotland, Harmony Marquee, Saturday 20th June at 3.30pm. All you Scottish literary types - get yourselves over there and learn how to break into the book shops with your first novel. Sadomasochism for Accountants is presently on sale through WH Smith Travel and I spotted a good pile in Terminal 3, Heathrow, on my way to New York.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Massive fan gets to meet the author

I am just back from sales conference in New York, which was fun, buzzy and full of interest. After my presentation, I was walking near the village, and saw that Laila Lalami was giving a talk at Barnes and Noble on Avenue of the Americas near Washington Square. I went along, and she read from her first novel, Secret Son, and yes, I did speak to her and got a signed copy. She is Moroccan, and so is interested in reading our July novel, SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Luis Leante, about the Sarahawi people, who are still living in the Saraha desert, over 200,000 of them in tents. This is one of the humanitarian overlooked issues in the world, and there is a good chance that the book will bring international attention to the plight of these people, since at the moment the Sandblast charity in London are the only ones who are working on helping these people. (Go to the Sandblast web site, - even if it is just to hear the music which is wonderful.)

So, I saw someone whose work I love, got a signed edition, first of course, and also hope she will want to review Luis Leante's prize winning book in due course for its American publication in January 2010. And 2010 feels like it is quite soon now.

New York was at its best - sunny, people in restaurants on the sidewalks, lots of good humour, culture and amazing art galleries and people to talk to at the conference. What could be better - hopefully it will mean better sales for the front list also.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tonight we kind of have a 'works outing' - to the Putney Theatre to see Twelfth Night, directed by Ian Higham of Nick Hern books. Rebecca suggested to me that I may like to try for a part, as they have an ad. on their web site.

Now, when push comes to shove and I am on holiday in a lovely French house with twelve people who happen to have brought along twelve photocopied sets of Habeus Corpus by Alan Bennett, I will take a part and do my best not to sound too ridiculous. But to willingly put myself on the stage in front of perfectly well educated, upstanding members of the community is just a step too far. I once worked in a product design consultancy, and was told that my boss, John Boult, liked dressing up in drag for Am Dram. Whenever I came in to work, and saw him at his desk, in my mind he was still wearing a blonde wig with bright red lipstick, not trying his hardest to gain design commissions from serious blue chip companies like Mars or Crapochino plastic coffee capsules. So I think I'll stay off the stage.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We've spent three days at the London Book Fair, and the talk of our stand was the happy taking on of the Maia Press by Arcadia Books. Jane and Maggie will still continue to find fabulous books, edit and design them, and they had a very fruitful six years working as a partnership.

We were on the Central Books stand this year, and it was good to be with old friends and meet new people there. We were rushed off our feet with meetings, and hopefully the enthusiasm with which our books were greeted by Waterstone's will turn into good orders. We had particularly good feedback for CHARITY SHOPPING by Lettice Wilkinson, which will be stocked in the UK Travel section for all those holidaying in the UK this year, and for ALCHEMY ARTS - a new guide to fashion and home style using recycled materials. I have always re used things in our home, and indeed in this business, although it is quite thrilling to be able to afford to use new envelopes and not to print manuscripts out on the back of old sales sheets.

And I cannot sign off without reference to the small 'International Incident' that occurred on the Central Books stand. The stand furniture is an eclectic mix of coloured tables made of metal that are assembled each year by Central staff with a screwdriver before the fair. A meeting was going on just in front of the stand, and one table was sagging rather alarmingly as the lady leant her behind on it, threatening each second to transfer further weight to a rather unstable surface. A member of one eminent publishing house applied first a gentle massage (not noticed) to her posterior, then a gentle prod with two biros simulatenously on each buttock, (also unheeded) and then he gently began removing the table from beneath said behind. Which eventually registered and moved off the table of its own accord. This happened with an audience of around three, and I admit I had to stifle my hysterics up a whole aisle on my way to the next meeting. I am glad to say I arrived composed.

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!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We had a pretty good postbag today, with all kinds of publicity. The Evening Standard had CHARITY SHOPPING and the thrift lifestyle as BOOK OF THE WEEK in their Homes & Property section on March 4th. Thanks you, Katie Law! The Scotsman Magazine had an article by Gaby Soutar featuring Lettice Wilkinson's Thrifter address book - our lovely authors favourite shops in Edinburgh. And the Sunday Times are asking for a quote following an announcement in 'the house' by a Scottish minister on thrift. Is it possible that the Scots people are being told NOT to be thrifty - well Lettice will soon tell them that thrift is not only good for your pocket, but it uses up all those excess items, and contributes much needed money to good charities - a thrifty economy.

Then Sadomasochism for Accountants continues to make us smile - Birmingham Life has a great summary - 'This has to be the most unlikely romantic comedy (because that's what it is) but why does that have to be a bad thing.'
Bring it on - Jennifer Anniston as Belinda and Hugh Grant as Luda....

We also have a new book and a new author, Tamsin Omond. Tamsin is writing about her decision to become a full-time climate activist, and her discovery that prison, fear of arrest and the whole notion of sticking your neck out and becoming famous is something that takes a lot of courage.

Bit like running an independent press in a recession.

Bravery takes all forms.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's now been a week or more since we said farewell to Kit Maude, who tackled just about every task that publishing contains in his year and a half at Marion Boyars. He is flying to Buenos Aires tomorrow, for a new life in the sun, and in a different economy (a better one than we are currently enjoying) and a different industry. Something tells me that Kit's love of books and publishing is not entirely gone and we will see his name now and again, on various web sites, book blogs and discussions of the finer points of Cortazar. I've spent some of this morning updating Onix and uploading it to various FTP sites, quite fun really. This was one of Kit's tasks here - to put information onto Onix for the entire, comprehensive Marion Boyars back list.

Feel free to sign in and blog here, Kit! We want to know your impressions of the new city. I know it will be better than the Jubilee line!

Catheryn, Rebecca and Alice

Monday, February 02, 2009

The upside of not getting to the office

We are in the middle of what the BBC4 news just called a 'weather event'.

Last night as I drove Arthur Boyars, 83, home, I found the Fulham Road already full of parked buses - not just a few - around 15! That's one blocked artery. I found a passage through to his house and back, and arrived home around 11.30pm declaring it rather unsettling to realise that even the Germans cannot make brakes that work on tyres covered in snow. It wasn't snowing when I set off.

Today, I am listening to Dave Cohen taking about time management. Dave - would you like to write a book? Dave was president of the Union at Brisl Uni where I was and let me take over the whole union building for the first 'small is beautiful' Schumacher lectures.

And as for work - well, I have found an excellent set of instructions for making e-books from InDesign documents which I am pretty sure I can do.

Dave - hope you obsessively google your own name. Patrick sends his love also.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stockhausen Immersion Day

There is a new series of Stockhausen concerts in London and on the radio. The author/compiler of Stockhausen on Music, Robin Maconie, who interviewed Karlheinz Stockhausen over a period of years, will be in conversation with Robin Worby on 'Hear and Now', Radio 3, this Saturday and next, 22.30 to midnight. The BBC Symphony Orchestra performed Inori at the Barbican.

Written in 1973-74, Inori is based on prayer-like gestures interpreted on stage by a mime and a dancer. The expressive movements, performed by the two silent soloists and drawn from a variety of religious practices, are mirrored in the response of two orchestral groups.

For those who like peaceful sounding music with the odd jolt to the senses.


Monday, January 12, 2009

More photos. The middle one is a gentleman enjoying being a woman with a beard - he works for the World Wildlife Fund as an aviation expert. Then you can see Laetitia Rutherford from literary agency Mulcahy Conway, myself, and senior editor here, Rebecca Gillieron, with her fine hat.

The top one is a lady who also has a fine hat, who was being interviewed by the press. I saw a lot of cameras from the BBC (mainly focusing on the string quartet), and microphones labelled LBC radio, so I hope you have caught the press coverage whereever you are. I was glad to read of Emma Thompson assisting Greenpeace in buying land at Sipson, the village which will no longer exist if the third runway is built. I also dealt with the last remaining aga desire in me reading George Monbiot on the fact they contribute five times more carbon to the atmosphere than a conventional cooker. Perhaps my fifteen year old upright gas cooker with the enamel rubbed off is really going to be considered retro and cool rather than just well used!


This evening, Rebecca and I went to the Climate Rush peaceful protest at Terminal 1, Heathrow, against the building of the third runway. We emerged from the tube and had to negotiate a cordon of police men and women, some of whom were in good humour. We easily located the demonstration, hearing a string quartet start up. In fact, we followed a girl in a long skirt carrying a violin and a wicker basket from the platform on the Piccadilly line into the Terminal 1 building. She seems to know where she is going, we thought.

The demonstration quickly picked up momentum, with singing, whistles and flags being waved. There were many men with whiskers and top hats, as well as women with red sashes, hats, boots and gloves. There was a lot of cheering, clapping, and general noise making (the elderly couple next to me asked who we were clapping - to which I responded, we're just making ourselves heard.) Trains not planes was one refrain. Tamsin Omond was hoisted onto someones shoulders and we cheered her power of inspiration and organisation.

I took a few photographs - of a World Wide Life man with a beard, who described himself as an aviation expert, John from Greenpeace in the top hat with the whiskers and beard, and a gentleman who told me he was a Christian from Beckenham, Kent, who thought planes were not good for the land which we all shared.

I also asked for a photo to be taken of Rebecca, literary agent Laetitia Rutherford and myself. Hope you like the red flower....I live under the flight path and hope we can all moderate our use of airplanes. I, for one, have never failed to book a flight to a destination I wish to get to and at a price I can afford, and so I do not see the need for more planes in the air - that is my retort to those who say that 65,000 jobs will be created which will further pollute an overcrowded airspace.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

The New Year is thoroughly upon us now. A couple of nights ago I did something which embarrassed me hugely at the time. I felt guilty for not going to a Christmas Eve party next door, as we had family arriving that evening from Switzerland, and as I approached my street, I thought I saw the host in his car returning from work. I wound down my car window and greeted him a Happy New Year - saying I had not seen him yet, very brightly. Then I realised it was the man who lived opposite in the side road, not in my street - and we've never met. Aargh - would he think I was a mad woman - no - he was delighted, and wished me a very good year too! The only memory I have of this man is that when he first moved in a few years ago, he took a cab home most nights. One day, said cab reversed too smartly, and went through the garden gates of the house next door. I rushed over and said, there's a black cab in your garden. There was, dear reader, there was. And a very shocked cabbie, who was fortunately not injured.

May you all get to know your neighbours by whatever means, and have a good New Year.