Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Birmingham Independent Book Fair

Went to Birmingham at the weekend to attend The Brimingham Independent Book Fair (and for Kit and Ellie to attend GateCrashers but that was by-the-by). The great thing was that the fair was amazingly well attended, loads and loads of people wandering around sampling the very diverse books on offer (including, inter alia, Jewish-centric arts, LGBT literature, local history and steampunk) and enjoying themselves as they did so.

The nice thing was that a couple of our friends had a stall and it was great to see Peter and Jan making such a success of Alchemy Press.

Jan Edwards (Alchemy Books) on the left and Emma Barnes (SnowBooks) to the right

I'm a fan of independent publishers. They seem to me to be the ideal compromise between the corporate publishers and the self-publishers, giving a whole clutch of authors who ain't able to get a mainstream gig with the support they so often need. Independents provide that oh-so-vital arm's length critque of a book and that oh-so-vital editing which can turn an OK novel into something worth reading. I think any wannabe writer who has Peter and Jan looking after their work can be reassured they're in a safe (and constructive) pair of hands.

I was also impressed by Emma Barnes's 'SnowBooks' imprint. The CARE she takes over the presentation of her books is really quite wonderful ... though not quite wonderful enough to prevent me groaning when I realised that the hero in 'The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man' was Sir Richard Burton. Not again!

A good day and Birmingham was as lively and sparky as ever.

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