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.