Thursday, June 7, 2018

Out and about at publishing events - a ReadItTorial

It's not often that I get to slide from beneath my invisibility cloak to step into the world of publishing but it's also not very often that events fetch up on our doorstep rather than being held in That There London.

Yes indeed, it still is very much the case that most launches take place in swish locations in our capital, and for an ordinary working bloke with a day job, it's often impossible to make it to those launches on time.

So it was nice to be invited to a booksellers event at David Fickling Books, our local publishing powerhouse literally a stone's throw from work.

As many regular readers will know, I suffer from chronic anxiety but really am trying my best to kick that into submission and get out to a few more events to meet lovely folk I've only conversed with either through the blog or on Twitter. So the scene was set and I slid through the front door of the impressive and imposing DFB headquarters not really knowing what to expect.

Inside we met the man himself straight away, David Fickling who is the passionate head honcho very much involved with everything the publishing house does, covering a huge variety of different books covering just about every genre and age group you can name, and now taking steps into adult and non-fiction titles after a bumper year in 2017, and of course a massively successful collaboration with Penguin Random House on Philip Pullman's colossal-selling "The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage".

David Fickling. Bow ties at the ready!
Most of the attendees were from bookshops and it was great to catch up with the fab folk from our local fave Mostly Books and awesome Georgina from Toppsta and to rub shoulders with some of the authors and illustrators of DFB titles.

Listening to David, and to other folk who work at DFB talking about their titles it was extremely clear why their books regularly hit our "Book of the Week" slot.

The folk there know their stuff, have an incredible eye for talent and really enjoy what they do - and most of all really believe in their titles (and rightly so, they don't just hit our "Book of the Week" slot ridiculously regularly because we're playing local favourites or anything. They do so because they're damned good books / comics).

That talent and belief in what they do comes across in the quality of their output (and in this we're happy to include the fantastic Phoenix Comic which is responsible for a substantial chunk of their revenue, and that can only be good news for the UK comics industry, particularly as those titles are now making their way across to our lovely readers over in the US).

There were so many titles that caught my eye...

Pam Smy's astonishing "Thornhill" - A book that defies categorisation
Liz Flanagan's sublime "Dragon Daughter" reinventing fantasy for a middle grade audience
"Loved to Bits" by Teresa Heapy and Katie Cleminson. Perfect picture book awesomeness!
"The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection" - A fantastic introduction to the UK's most awesome comic
"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay. Scintillating and immersive adventuresome storytelling.
...and I may have made off with a copy or two of these books, so watch out for reviews coming up on the blog soon.

All in all it was an excellent evening (boiling hot though, I think I was slowly melting into a puddle at one point), and brilliant to finally meet some of the folk behind this innovative risk-taking but hugely impressive publisher.

Keep on doing what you're doing folks, you're really knocking it out of the park at the moment.