BookBrunch | Hot new American novelist Angie Thomas, author of bestseller The Hate U Give, on race, writing and resistance

Once in a while, a book comes along that totally blows your mind. The Hate U Give is one of those books and everyone should read it right now. Even better, the author Angie Thomas, is a total sweetheart, absolutely bursting with passion. Here’s our chat – and you should totally check out the full article on BookBrunch – but you should also buy the book.

Angie Thomas has shot to literary stardom in recent months, as her debut novel The Hate U Give, skyrockets to the top of the NYT bestseller charts. Set to be published in 18 territories and counting – and already out here through Walker Books – the YA novel follows 16-year-old Starr, who lives between the poor Mississippi neighbourhood where she was born and a posh high school in the suburbs. When she becomes the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, she comes face to face with police brutality and systemic racism

After the intensity of the book, Thomas herself is a slight surprise: a generous smile, regular laughter, and a soft Mississippi accent. Her passion and conviction shine through, however, and she has much to say on publishing, on the importance of books, and on America itself.

The struggle to write

Though Thomas has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, it took her a long time to believe that being an author was something she could do. “For one, I never saw or met any authors who looked like me. Mississippi has a rich literary history, but most of them are either white or dead and I was neither! So it felt like it was something that I, as a black girl in a poor neighbourhood in Mississippi, just couldn’t do.”

Continue reading BookBrunch | Hot new American novelist Angie Thomas, author of bestseller The Hate U Give, on race, writing and resistance

BookMachine | April Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

Here’s your monthly summary of hot publishing news from around the interwebs! Don’t forget, you can read the full article over on the BookMachine blog.

BookMachine_logoThis month in publishing news, there has been an unusual obsession with the smell of books. Not only did scientists pin-point that distinctive smell of second-hand bookshops, but the Guardian discovered what you can tell about an individual book from its smell – and why the scent is so addictive.

In the bookselling sphere, Amazon once again dominated the opinions columns, as their forays into bricks and mortar bookshops continue. Plans for a second New York City bookstore, and another in Massachusetts are underway, while Seattle has been tipped as the next Amazon experiment ground. Continue reading BookMachine | April Wrap: Publishing stories from around the web

The BookBrunch Interview with Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books

This week’s BookBrunch interview is with the lovely Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books – don’t forget to click the link for the full article!

Jasmin Kirkbride talks to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books about the slush pile, the frisson of finding the right book, advances, and giving attention to everything on the list

Two and a half years on from its launch, Orenda Books is going from strength to strength. Run by its founder, Karen Sullivan, Orenda publishes literary fiction, as well as “the high end of genre fiction”, with an emphasis on crime and thrillers. About half the list is translated fiction, and Sullivan is always keen to push the boundaries.

Striking out alone
Though Sullivan started in publishing at Sidgwick & Jackson, working her way up to commissioning editor, for much of her career she has written books on parenting. As her own children got older, she took what was supposed to be a one-day-a-week job at a small publisher; it turned into 15 months of non-stop work when it became clear all was not well with the business.

Continue reading The BookBrunch Interview with Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books

Blazing the trail with BookBrunch

This week for the BookBrunch interview, I chatted with three of this year’s Trailblazer Award winners, Anna Russo, Heather McDaid, and Željka Maroševic. Check out the excerpt below or follow this link for the full article.

Two months on from the second annual Trailblazers Awards, organised by London Book Fair (LBF) and the Society of Young Publishers (SYP), we catch up with three of the five Trailblazer winners – Anna Russo, Željka Maroševic and Heather McDaid – to find out what they’ve been up to and their plans for the future. They provide a snapshot of an industry, not just expanding outside London, but around the world

Continue reading Blazing the trail with BookBrunch

Publishing internationally, digitally and collaboratively with the BookBrunch interviews

Another trio of interviews for you from BookBrunch, and each one is a real treat for publishing enthusiasts.

First, I caught up with Henry Rosenbloom from Scribe, who was so frustrated with the state of rights sales, he decided to expand his publishing house from down under to the UK. This is one publisher that’s serious about seriously good books!

“Later on in life, I’ve realised that what drives me as a publisher, in a strange kind of way, is the Holocaust. That’s what imprinted on me the seriousness of the world we live in, and how important it was to try to understand history, politics, people, and how to tell the truth. How to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’. Books have the power to change people’s lives, and we want to put out books that demand to be published because of their intrinsic significance.” Continue reading Publishing internationally, digitally and collaboratively with the BookBrunch interviews

BookMachine | The March Wrap

BookMachine_logoIt’s the time of the month where I round up all the internet’s top publishing stories and stick them in one place on the BookMachine blog for your perusal! Here’s a sneak peek – don’t forget to visit the BookMachine blog for more…

The big news from March in UK publishing is obviously the London Book Fair (LBF). Poland shone at this year’s Market Focus, and the Fair was busier than usual, with six-figure deals struck ahead of time and publishers cheerfully splashing cash as sales rose. This was seen as further evidence of the rise of print, with The Guardian stating that by the end of the month stats showing that print outperformed digital. Yet, despite the recent whopping $65m forward paid for the Obamas’ new book (which hasn’t pleased all and prompted a list of the biggest deals of all time) no single title emerged as this year’s big hitter. Continue reading BookMachine | The March Wrap

BookMachine | A tax on the precariat: what the 2017 budget means for the self-employed in publishing

BookMachine_logoWhen BookMachine asked for an opinion, I couldn’t not comment. Read the full article here, or grab the snippet below:

Outrage abounds in the wake of Philip Hammond’s 2017 Budget announcement on Wednesday. Amongst other controversial moves, National Insurance (NI) payments on the self-employed have been increased by 2%. But what effect will this raise have on the growing number of self-employed and freelance workers in the publishing industry?

The figures

Let’s start by looking at the cold, hard figures. The 2017 Budget has brought in a 2% rise in NI contributions for the UK’s self-employed workers. The self-employed normally pay one of two different kinds of NI: Class 2, if your profits are £5,965+ per year, and Class 4 if they are £8,060+ per year. Class 4 payments are divided into two categories: 9% on profits of £8,060-£43,000, and 2% on profits over £43,000. Continue reading BookMachine | A tax on the precariat: what the 2017 budget means for the self-employed in publishing

BookBrunch | January interview catch up

For those of you looking for some pleasant reading today, I thoroughly recommend catching up on the last three BookBrunch interviews!

Looking back to the New Year, Suzanne Baboneau, Managing Director of Adult Publishing at Simon & Schuster, discusses what lies ahead in publishing.

Then bestselling novelist Chibundu Onuzo talks about her new novel, Welcome to Lagos.

And finally Sophie O’Neill, Managing Director at Inpress chats about the rise of the independent publisher and the value of poetry. Continue reading BookBrunch | January interview catch up

BookBrunch | Last interviews of 2016 & my very first PODCAST!

Season’s greetings, friends! And boy, what a ride 2016 has been! Here’s hoping that 2017 brings more peace and sanity into the world – and for all of you much prosperity and some grand adventures.

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Just because the season of of gifts and feasts is upon us, doesn’t mean I’ve been slowing down on the old journalism front though. Very excitingly, I can now reveal my first ever podcast: The BookBrunch Yearly Wrap 2016 Podcast, brought to you for FREE! That’s right, you can listen in for absolutely no money as some of the publishing industry’s top voices talk about their feelings on 2016 and their predictions for the year to come. The only reasonable excuse for not listening is if you have eaten so much you’re plastered to the couch. Continue reading BookBrunch | Last interviews of 2016 & my very first PODCAST!

Now listed on Byte the Book

logoIn a rather lovely turn of events, I have been listed on Byte the Book’s Hub for publishing professionals. You can check out my profile right here.

Returning the favour, I thought I’d give Byte the Book a big shout out. They’re a fab networking event for everyone in the publishing industry and beyond, bringing together engaging, lovely folk from across the creative sectors. Yes, writers, that includes you!

They have monthly events with panels on industry issues and it’s worth becoming a member just to attend them all for free, let alone for the other great benefits like free entry to Bologna, LBF and Frankfurt.

I’ve been a member for two and a half years now and it’s become one of my go-to events for keeping up with publishing and staying connected to my industry friends. For more information, check out the Byte the Book website.

BookBrunch | The Weekly Interview with Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency

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This week for the BookBrunch interview, I got together with Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods of the Diamond, Kahn & Woods Literary Agency to discuss this year’s Trailblazer Award success and the future of agenting. For the full article, head over to BookBrunch, or read the snippet below:

As the deadline approaches for this year’s Trailblazers Awards, run by the London Book Fair (LBF) in partnership with the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) and BookBrunch, we catch up with two of last year’s winners, Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods, of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency. They discussed how the award has affected business for the better, why they made the decision to set up their own agency, and what the future holds.

In the four years since Diamond Kahn & Woods got started, the agency has accrued 50 clients and placed over 40 books, managed between Woods, Kahn and their colleague Elinor Cooper, who joined in April last year.

However, the agency was conceived long before this, when Woods and Kahn met during their Publishing MA at UCL in 2009-2010. “As friends, we had always known we both wanted to go into agenting, and joked about setting up our own agency together one day in the distant future, when we were both eminent agents with big lists of clients and grey hair,” Woods explains. Continue reading BookBrunch | The Weekly Interview with Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency

BookBrunch | Training and skill drain: affecting productivity in publishing

bbtwitter_400x400Having heard some pretty serious stats about training given to newbie publishers lately, I felt inspired to write a piece about the Autumn Statement, productivity, and the shift in attitude towards training and skill-building support that needs to happen in publishing. The full article is also FREE to read over on BookBrunch. Here’s a snippet:

Training and skill drain: affecting productivity in publishing

Research shows that publishers are failing to invest in the skills they need

In his Autumn Statement last week, Chancellor Philip Hammond brought attention to Britain’s sub-par productivity. Our output per unit of input lags 30% behind other economies such as the US and Germany: in the time it takes a German worker to make £1.35, a British worker will make only £1.

Hammond’s remedy involves a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, which will be used for the most part to invest in infrastructure such as roads and affordable housing. However, fixing productivity involves more than this kind of investment. As Katie Allen pointed out in the Guardian over the weekend, “when it comes to appearing to be doing something about the productivity puzzle it is far easier to talk about roads than the thorny issue of Britain’s addiction to low-paid, low-skilled work”. This is an issue that comes down to attitude. Continue reading BookBrunch | Training and skill drain: affecting productivity in publishing

Three weeks, three conferences, three million thoughts

The past three weeks have seen me write up reports on three stellar publishing conferences: the London Book Fair’s “Building Inclusivity in Publishing” conference; The Literary Consultancy (TLC)’s “What’s Your Story?” symposium; and the Society of Young Publisher (SYP)’s annual Autumn conference, this year on the theme of “Making a Bestseller.” Here’s some write ups – the SYP one is even FREE to read!

Words are no longer enough: inclusivity gets gritty
“A theme that became clear early on in the day was that the industry has been treating diversity and inclusivity as if they are optional, which for those they are excluding they are not. ‘We’re not here to talk about diversity in publishing, we’re here to talk about humanity,’ said Crystal Mahey-Morgan, one of the keynote speakers and founder of OWN IT! Publishing. ‘We’ve got so caught up in the box ticking and PC conversations, we’ve forgotten why inclusivity is so important…'”

TLC symposium: ‘What’s your story’ in the digital age
“We have to be careful as an industry about whom these laws of literary merit exclude. Now and in the past, writers of colour have often experienced difficulty being recognised in the literary world. ‘The idea that literary value is a liberal, free world isn’t true,’ said Cook. ‘Literary values are created in a process, and it is a process that has been party to brutal exclusion. We are talking about a system of violence. There is a certain kind of violence in this world and if you try to pretend that there isn’t, you misunderstand it.'”

SYP conference 2016: redefining successful books – FREE to view
“Having to point out that long-term sales and profits are just as valid as short-term ones seems to me to be a symptom of an industry increasingly concerned with short-term goals. The question I was left with is not what makes a bestseller, but whether, by its standard definition, a bestseller is an inherently good thing.” Continue reading Three weeks, three conferences, three million thoughts

BookBrunch | A trio of interviews

Since returning from Sharjah I’ve interviewed a fabulous trio of people – here are links to the BookBrunch pieces though, as ever, you’ll need to be a subscriber to view them…

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, on Book Week Scotland
“People will always read because people will always love stories but, you know, the book is a piece of technology that can’t be improved.”

“Queen of erotic literature” Jodi Ellen Malpas
“The truth is that sex and love make the world go round, just as much as money does.”

Writer, critic and bookshop obsessive Jorge Carrión
“I think people who go against the EU in England and things like this, they are probably not used to going to bookshops because in bookshops you feel there are no frontiers, that we have a common cultural and intellectual space.”

Report from Sharjah International Book Fair 2016

sibfI’ve been on a bit of an adventure since I last posted, reporting on Sharjah International Book Fair in the UAE for BookBrunch! What an extraordinary place it was and I’m very grateful to Sharjah Book Authority and Midas Public Relations, London who showed me such overwhelming hospitality while I was there.
 
If you’re interested in the news from the Fair, check out these articles – including an interview with Ahmed bin Rakkad al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority:

Continue reading Report from Sharjah International Book Fair 2016

BookBrunch | Are you ready for Frankfurt? An interview with Katja Böhne

The haze of panic-packing and binge reading in advance of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair has begun. This week, I caught up with the Fair’s own Katja Böhne to discuss what’s hot at Frankfurt in 2016. Read the whole piece over on BookBrunch, or get your teeth into the excerpt below.

Katya Boehne  Frankfurt.jpgIt’s that special time of year when the leaves are turning, the nights are drawing in – and every publisher in Europe is packing their suitcase for the Frankfurt Book Fair. As the opening draws near, I caught up with Katja Böhne, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Fair, to discuss what awaits visitors and exhibitors in 2016.

“It’s five minutes before the Fair and everything is a bit upside down. Juergen Boos [Fair director] said recently, ‘The homework is done, now the chaos begins!'” Böhne says with a laugh as soon as she picks up the phone. The line is clear and she speaks with a gentle accent in impeccable English. “Actually, everything is fine and on track, but there are still so many last minute ideas and things to do. Every year it’s the same, so it’s not unusual.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Are you ready for Frankfurt? An interview with Katja Böhne

BookBrunch | An interview with KJ Orr, winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Competition

As many of you may know, I love short stories. Reading them, writing them, eating them… Ok, maybe I don’t literally imbibe them but there’s a definite consumption process involved in perusing a short story.

So you can imagine how excited I was this week when I got to interview KJ Orr, the winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Award. As always, read the full article over on BookBrunch or enjoy the excerpt below.

KJ-Orr c_ Lottie Davies.jpgThe big book buzz this week has been about the 2016 BBC National Short Story Competition winner, KJ Orr, and her winning story, ‘Disappearances’. A debut author, Orr beat a heavyweight shortlist including Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel and Costa Poetry Award shortlisted Lavinia Greenlaw. Here, Orr discusses what it feels like to have won, how she came across short stories, and their value to readers.

“It feels pretty incredible and still quite hard to believe,” says Orr about winning the award. “I was settled on the idea that I hadn’t won so I was not prepared at all. Doing the live broadcast directly after was surreal. Most writers are fairly introverted, quiet souls, then there are moments where you have to come out and put on a public hat. I just hoped I made some sense because I wasn’t really prepared to say anything!” Continue reading BookBrunch | An interview with KJ Orr, winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Competition

BookBrunch Opinion | Faber Academy – it’s not about the hit rate

It’s been a while since I busted out an opinion on publishing, so here’s some thoughts about Faber Academy and their extraordinary success with getting their students published. Read the full article over on BookBrunch, or enjoy this little snippet.

bbtwitter_400x400
Jasmin Kirkbride investigates the successful formula of the Faber Academy, and learns that it involves focusing on the work rather than on the deal

Last week, Headline announced that the launch list of its new Wildfire imprint would contain three Faber Academy graduates: Colette McBeth (published previously by Headline Review) and debut novelists Karen Hamilton and Felicia Yap. This is the latest in a steady stream of deals for writers who have taken the course. What is the secret of their success? Continue reading BookBrunch Opinion | Faber Academy – it’s not about the hit rate

BookBrunch | Discussing gun deaths in America with Gary Younge

This week for the BookBrunch interview I had a really strong conversation with journalist Gary Younge about his new book, Another Day in the Death of America (Faber). You can read the whole thing over on BookBrunch, or get started with the snippet below…

Gary Younge photo.jpgThe Guardian‘s Gary Younge has been undertaking serious investigative journalism since the mid-nineties, exemplified more than ever in his latest book, Another Day in the Death of America. Here, we discuss the book, how he researched it, how journalism has changed over the past two decades, and what that means for storytelling

With five books already under his belt, Younge launched Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber) on 28 September. It has already been featured on Radio 4’s Book of the Week and received reviews fromThe Spectator, The Times, and The Guardian itself among many others. It’s no surprise, because the book’s contents are shocking and moving in equal measure.

“It takes the basic statistical premise that seven children are shot every day on average in the USA and then tries to make it human by picking a random day and finding out who they are,” Younge explains. “It tries to get to the humans stories behind that statistic: how these kids lived and who they were, and maybe showing a bit more about America beyond those particular incidents.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Discussing gun deaths in America with Gary Younge