Sunday, 26 April 2009


Last week saw the annual British trade jamboree that is the London Book Fair take place at Earl's Court from Monday to Wednesday.

It's a vital three days for any publisher, and especially the smaller variety, affording the opportunity to meet with people from all areas of the trade, be they old friends and acquaintances or new contacts.  The Capuchin presence was relatively humble, comprising a section of a shared stand, whereas the publishing behemoths such as Harper Collins and Macmillan install huge custom-made edifices, each staffed by what seems like the population of a small town.  The conrast reminds me of those cities where shabby hovels squat in close proximity to gleaming skyscrapers, although I've yet to see any representatives from publishers such as our squatting in the aisles holding signs asking for spare authors or manuscripts.

The Fair is a wonderful place around which to wander in between meetings, and this year I happened across 2 new publishers who in particular caught my interest.

Roastbooks  has produced a series of beautiful, small, quirky books that can be easily read during a train journey or lunch hour.  These include The Profit, a parable set in the corporate world and inspired by Kahil Gibran's The Prophet, and Little Roasts, a collection of short stories with international settings.

The Peirene Press are publishing short contemporary European novels in translation, beginning with Portrait of a Mother as a Young Woman by Christian Delius and  Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal, from respectively the German and the Catalan originals.  The literature of other countries has increasingly attracted the attention of the British reading public recently, and this publisher promises to make a valuable and exciting contribution to this process.

It was very heartening to come across exciting and brave projects like this, and the efforts of both publishers are a testimony to the passion and enthusiasm for writing which drives them.


Poodlefaker.  A man who deliberately courts the company and friendship of women, sometimes for purposes of material gain or social advancement.

Use with pleasure.


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