As part of our continuing coverage of the London Book Fair, we offer a variety of perspectives from the show floor
Interview by Liz Bury
Kirsty Dunseath, publishing director of Weidenfeld & Nicolson
I went to a lunch at the Icelandic embassy in London on Monday, of course no Icelandic publishers had made it and so it was just the ambassador and guests. And they gave us a piece of Eyjafjallajoekull. It was in the goody bag.
It’s the energy you get from talking to all the European editors that matters. You get a sense of what’s going on and discuss books and get reports about what’s working for them. You’re with a lot of book people, getting excited about books. Without that buzz, it feels flat. You psych yourself up for it.
I share authors with some of them, like Carlos Ruiz Zafon author of Shadow of the Wind. It’s great to catch up and share what’s worked. Because I buy literature translation it’s really important for me and for our list.
Americans and Canadians I tend to meet in the office after the fair, or over drinks in the evenings. Two editors from Perseus Press were mid-Atlantic when the airports closed on Thursday and had to touch down in Paris and take the train from there. The Salomonsson Agency from Sweden made it — they drove. But there are people from Germany, Israel, Poland, Spain who didn’t make it.
One of the good things is that people are wandering around more than they would have done if they had lots of appointments. I’ve been bumping into people and being able to chat and I never normally can do that. Actually all the British agents are in one place.
I never normally see people from other UK companies either, apart from those you know as friends. But we’re all in it together. Hardbacks, paperbacks, digital: we all face the same challenges.