Tag Archives: the snow child

Location Blues

So, it’s raining, there are flood warnings, and there’s also a drought warning. And people think I’m contrary? Anyway, to cut a long thought short, it’s got me mulling over where I want to be right now, instead of sitting at my desk staring out at a violet and charcoal bulge of cloud looming in from the west, ready to burst over the Euston Rd.

I’ve always loved books that transport me to places: the fecund, tropical island of Dominica in Jean Rhys’s THE WIDE SARGASSO SEA, the vast white space of snow and ice in Jenny Diski’s SKATING TO ANTARTICA, the spice infused smells and sounds of fans whirring in the India of Paul Scott’s THE RAJ QUARTET or the sweltering heat of that infamous Long Island summer sojourn in F Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY.Of the books that we publish here at Headline, there are many that will carry you gently to another place, and Andrea Levy’s SMALL ISLAND bundles both the sun-drenched Caribbean and grimy 1950s London in one volume.  This year, we’ve had Eowyn Ivey taking us to a magical Alaskan landscape in THE SNOW CHILD, Roopa Farooki jet-hopping from Lahore, Hong Kong, Paris and Biarritz in THE FLYING MAN, Emylia Hall returning to an idyllic Hungarian summer in THE BOOK OF SUMMERS and Victoria Hislop luring us to the hidden backstreets ofT hessaloniki in THE THREAD. Forthcoming, let me tempt you with the vast plains of the Karoo desert in Barbara Mutch’s THE HOUSEMAID’S DAUGHTER, the secrets hiding in the beautiful yet forbidding hills of the Appalachians in Julia Keller’s A KILLING IN THE HILLS or a delicious campari and lemon infused Sicilian escape in Nicola Doherty’s THE OUT OF OFFICE GIRL.

That’s enough, I’m feeling refreshed. Back to the desk. Work to be done. But before I go, let me invite you to post or comment with your favourite book locations…

Nicola Doherty takes us to Italy's sun-drenched, seductive Sicily in THE OUT OF OFFICE GIRL







Posted by Imogen Taylor, Editorial

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My First Headline Conference

This year, Headline’s annual sales conference was held at 195 Piccadilly, the venue which hosts the BAFTAs. Therefore, the stage was set for a night of glamour, cocktails and emotional speeches. Whilst backless sequinned dresses were thin on the ground, and the speeches were about the world of publishing rather than teary acceptances of awards, there was nevertheless a strong sense of glamour and excitement as the entire Headline staff donned their gladrags and mingled with authors and retailers alike. As a relative newcomer to the Headline fold (new enough for this conference to be my first), I tried to maintain a nonchalant air of cool as if I’d been to  a million conferences before (this cool was later punctured by involuntary squealing on my part when the canapés were handed round – ‘mini burgers!’ – ‘mini fish and chips!’ – ‘mini macaroons!’ etc).

After some mingling, chatting and mutual complimenting on various outfits, we were ushered upstairs for the presentation into a cinema more spacious and comfortable than many a local Odeon, with popcorn and a bottle of water to help recreate the genuine cinema experience. The presentation kicked off with a speech from our MD, Jane Morpeth, wherein she recapped Headline’s successes and bestsellers of 2011 and outlined our plans for an even bigger and better 2012. Then followed talks from several of the Headline Editorial department’s brightest and best, who delivered speeches on genres including sci-fi and fantasy, women’s fiction, crime and thriller and so on, summarising how these genres have performed over the last year, and how Headline will be doing its usual thing (sourcing new talent… publishing exciting original stories…  cornering new areas of the market… oh, you know the sort).

The speeches were followed by a mix of book trailers and video clips of Headline members of staff speaking about their favourite books. First up was crime and thriller: to my horror, I found the video clip of me speaking about Karen Rose’s NO ONE LEFT TO TELL (which is an excellent thriller, if you haven’t yet read it) was the FIRST video to be shown. Aghast, I watched as my face loomed large from the cinema screen. Unable to focus on what it was that my screen-self was saying about Karen Rose, all I could think was, ‘Is my nose really that big?!’ and ‘My God… my voice sounds like that of a nasal seven year old, and now I must NEVER SPEAK AGAIN.’ Once this horror was over and the colleague sitting next to me had kindly patted my arm to help me through the trauma, I could settle back and enjoy the range of trailers, all created by the brilliant and talented Beau Merchant from Headline’s marketing department. Amongst my favourites were the beautiful and tear-jerking trailers for THE BOOK OF SUMMERS by Emylia Hall (starring our publicity department’s very own Veronique Norton) and THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey ; the dramatic guitar-and-drums trailer for THE 500 by Matthew Quirk which is reminiscent of the trailer for a Hollywood action film; the stirring and super-atmospheric flame-doused trailer for THE GODS OF GOTHAM by Lyndsay Faye (suitably accompanied by a dramatic Irish jig) and the Gladiator-esque trailer for Simon Scarrow’s PRAETORIAN which put me in mind of Roman battles and toga-wearing men duelling to the death. Other Headline colleagues popped up on screen having been filmed in a variety of weird and wonderful locations: on a pedalo in the park (discussing THE BOOK OF SUMMERS); speaking from behind a false set of prison bars (talking about Jason Dean’s THE WRONG MAN).

Once the presentation was over, it was back to the reception room to welcome six Headline authors who were making guest appearances at the conference. These were the lovely, smiley Emylia Hall, the legendary Phil Tufnell (author of TUFFERS’ CRICKET TALES) the fabulous Baker Brothers themselves, Tom and Henry Herbert (TV chefs and authors of THE FABULOUS BAKER BROTHERS, renowned for their handy baking skills and their not-completely-hideous appearances), the whip-smart and very funny Lyndsay Faye, queen of pacy, sizzling women’s fiction Tasmina Perry (author of PRIVATE LIVES) and an author who thinks outside the box, Andrew Zolli – set to become the new Malcolm Gladwell with his big-ideas book RESILIENCE.

As the canapés were slowly whittled away and the crowd thinned out once midnight (and therefore the last tube home) had come and gone, I had the pleasure of chatting with several of our authors. To my delight, Emylia Hall gave me a hug (the highlight of my evening). Lyndsay Faye spoke engagingly and knowledgeably about anything from New York in the 1840s to the Gold Rush, and Tom Herbert of the Baker Brothers demonstrated an artistic streak (in addition to his chef-ing abilities) by drawing pictures in Sharpie pen on the arms of willing Headline staff members: (A warning: a Sharpie tattoo can take a few scrub-sessions to truly wash off. I still had the outline of my ‘bandit with woman’ tattoo just visible on my upper arm several days later…).

Tom Herbert artfully tattooing Sarah Maltby from Headline's Marketing department.

Meanwhile, his brother Henry chatted with some Headliners.

Henry Herbert with Lynsey Sutherland from Headline's Marketing department.

At last, in the wee hours of the morning, a thoroughly conferenced-out set of Headline staff and authors agreed that it had been a fantastic night, and, laden with Headline bags filled with books, headed home.


Posted by Emily Kitchin, Editorial

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Waterstones 11

Last year, the prophets of Brentford gazed into their crystal balls and selected eleven debut novelists for their inaugural Waterstones 11 list, a list which champions debut authors who are expected to make an impact over the next twelve months.  It proved to be an inspired selection, including the Man Booker-shortlisted Pigeon English and Orange Prize winner The Tiger’s Wife.  Headline’s When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman made up the literary football team, and subsequently scored huge commercial success, winning a Galaxy Book Award and even making the bedside table of the Duchess of Cambridge.

Last week, the Waterstones 11 list for 2012 was unveiled at a swanky bash at their flagship Piccadilly store.  Publishers, booksellers, journalists and authors galore turned out to celebrate the line-up which includes Headline’s own Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child.

Eowyn Ivey

As Eowyn was sunning herself in New Orleans at the Winter Institute bookseller conference, a group from Headline took on the onerous task of sipping champagne, and toasting (repeatedly) to the success of this year’s list.  After an inspiring speech from James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, we mingled with the literary crowd which included a number of the Waterstones 11 authors.

Eowyn was thrilled to make the list, keeping fine company alongside the likes of Charlotte Rogan’s The Lifeboat and Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – both debuts I have read and adored.  As well as the fantastic atmosphere (well done team Riot Communications), a number of partygoers had already read The Snow Child, and seemed to have fallen under its spell.

Below is the full line-up. A list of eleven prizewinners and bestsellers, perhaps?

The Waterstones 11

Jenni Fagan – The Panopticon

Patrick Flanery – Absolution

Frances Greenslade – Shelter

Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding

Eowyn Ivey – The Snow Child

Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Grace McCleen – The Land of Decoration

Anna Raverat – Signs of Life

Charlotte Rogan – The Lifeboat

Karen Thompson Walker – The Age of Miracles

Will Wiles – Care of Wooden Floors

Find out more about each of the Waterstones 11 titles here: http://waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/pages/waterstones-eleven/2272/

Posted by Sam Eades, Publicity

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