Category Archives: Hot Seat

Interviews with members of the Atwood Tate team.

Consultant in the Hot Seat: Faye Jones

 

 

Which three books changed your life?

  1. 1984 by George Orwell – I read this book for my English Literature A Level and then went to see a theatre production of it and it blew my mind. Everyone in my family has read it and we will often say that situations in the news can be “very 1984”. This is the first book that changed the way I looked at surveillance and made me think about how we’re always being watched by someone!
  2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I read the Great Gatsby on holiday and managed to finish it in a couple of hours because I was hooked. I then went on to study it at Alevel before I read 1984 and it made me want to study English after I left school. I really enjoyed the Baz Luhrmann film adaptation as it’s quite true to the book but I would definitely choose the book over the film if I had to make a choice between the two.
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time by Mark Haddon – I didn’t think that I would enjoy this book when I first heard about it but it was another holiday read that I couldn’t put down. I love the way that the main characters thoughts are narrated and the story is fantastic. I really want to go and see the theatre adaptation of the book so hopefully I can book tickets to see it soon!

Who would you invite to your fantasy literary dinner?

  1. Roald Dahl – would love to pick his brain about what his books are inspired by and how his upbringing in Cardiff effected his writing.
  2. W H Auden – I absolutely love Auden’s poetry especially Miss Gee, I would just sit and listen to him read his poetry all day if I could.
  3. Jacqueline Wilson – I grew up reading all of Jacqueline Wilson’s books and would love to meet her in person.

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

I graduated from university in July 2017 and while I was studying I went to weekly Lindyhop classes and became quite involved in the Swing Dance Society. It was sad leaving Reading after I graduated but luckily for me I got to move back 9 months later and started going back to Lindyhop classes straight away. I loved seeing my dance friends again and seeing how the beginners have improved while I was away.

If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose.

If I had to write a book on anything it would be how to handle yourself in social dancing situations within partnered dances (if you can’t tell I really like social dancing). I think many beginners are worried about doing something wrong or stepping on another person’s feet but it is all about confidence! I would love to write a book that guided you through how to build up your confidence and eventually, ask a stranger to dance with you at an event.

True fact: My mother made me go to Ballet classes when I was 4 because I use to walk around on what I called my ‘tippy toes’ all day and everyone was worried that I would really hurt my feet.

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Administrator in the Hot Seat: Anna Slevin

If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

This is also my one true fact to share but I wrote 6,000 words about cinnamon instead of a dissertation for my degree! It wasn’t definitive so I’d quite like to go back and do that someday. (It was a choice between cinnamon or coffee at the time but I didn’t want to end up hating coffee!)

What three books changed your life?

First Test by Tamora Pierce

Where a girl didn’t have to pretend to be a boy to do what she wanted! (Tamora Pierce started in the eighties and is having a revival at the moment) It didn’t so much change my life as shape it from the start because my mum read it to me when I was about six I think.

The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

(Slightly cheating I know but I only picked it up because it was so thick!) This autobiography melded fact and storytelling the point where I went off and wrote about cinnamon and studied Creative Nonfiction later. It’s been adapted into several television productions each different from the last. It showed me that real life can be as interesting as fiction and imagination can be applied to everything. Even slugs.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

I often give people the impression that I only read longer books or sprawling series, this isn’t entirely true because of this book. The amount of foreign literature in translation on British shelves is minimal – this is criminal. Kitchen is two novellas by a Japanese author that were somehow mainstream enough to be in English at my local library. Novellas are often underrated or undervalued, unfortunately they cost almost the same as much lengthier paperbacks. But some stories should be a certain length. Some stories need a certain style, a certain pace. Some stories are specific and individual and particular. But resonate. I now actively look for shorter fiction and translations.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

 Walking between worlds. It’s something of a theme in Diana Wynne Jones from her nine-lived enchanters with the title Chrestomanci to Howl of the Moving Castle fame (the film is very different! In the book he’s actually Howell Jenkins from Wales in our world) and in Homeward Bounders while in The Merlin Conspiracy there is confusion with multiple Earths…

The way it can mean so many different things even to one author strikes me as something special. It normally makes the character appreciate the world they come from or find one they prefer! I like the idea of seeing how different societies function and being able to choose for myself, much like a good book…

Bonus Question

Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

There’s a saying: “never meet your heroes” and a lot of the best characters can be very obnoxious… I’m actually reading The Immortal Dinner at the moment with Keats and Wordsworth in appearance but Wordsworth sounds like a very difficult guest at times!

Do you invite characters or authors? What would they eat? Does Bob Dylan count, having won the Nobel Prize? If this is a fantasy literary dinner party I would invite my dad and Bob Dylan to talk to each other because my dad would love that, and William Morris; I would invite my mum and Margaret Drabble because she introduced me to her, and Eric Hobsbawm; and I would quietly slip out the back door and ask my parents about it later as an after-party. I don’t know who would be making the food. My parents introduced me to literature for which I can never thank them enough so I think I’d rather they get the opportunity and I know I would have no regrets, facilitation being the better part of valour.

 

 

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Administrator in the Hot Seat: Cheryl O’garro

  • Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Meg Cabot has been one of my favourite authors since my teens, so she is non-negotiable. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Jane Austen because their ear for wit, satire and the human condition is just fantastic. I think if the three of them got together, the resulting literary effort would  be a masterpiece. I’m just there for the great company!

  • If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

How long do you have?! Off the top of my head, I would have to say either Harry Potter (for obvious reasons) or Northern Lights (the first of the His Dark Materials trilogy.) Both of those for me really draw you into their world and allow your imagination to really flow in a way that isn’t often possible outside of fantasy novels. I first read them when I was 7 and 10 respectively, and I would count both among my favourite books.

  • What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

The examiner telling me that my Masters’ thesis on the psycho-social benefits of hyper-engagement (a term I coined describing the adoption of arts consumption as a personality trait) had a strong and original voice and warranted elaboration. Who am I to decline that kind of professional and academic validation?! That is closely followed by my graduation ceremony in January.

  • If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

Right now it would have to be Quicksilver- the ability to move at great speed would be so useful for travelling and completing tasks. I’d still have my 24 hours in the day, but could fit in so much more! 

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Charlotte Tope

What three books changed your life?

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
This is a good starting point for anyone who wants to explore the idea of higher consciousness without heavy, hard thinking text. I think you’ll either love it or hate it, but it was definitely a significant book for me.

02. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Granted, you have to take this book with a pinch of salt – don’t expect to show a little gratitude and ‘will’ all your hopes and aspirations into fruition by next month. For me, this book was a powerful read in terms of showing how our mental attitude and belief can really effect the direction your life will take. The law of attraction is a powerful thing!

03. The Working Woman’s Handbook by Phoebe Lovatt
I just love everything about this book, from its design to the typography and most importantly it’s content. If you need a push, or a little advice on your creative projects – this is the one.

If you could have written any book that exists now, which would it be?

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. In fact if I were a book, this is what I would be.

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

I would want to have Avatar Aang’s powers, from The Last Airbender. Putting it really simply, depending on what nation you are from, (based on the 4 elements of earth, air, fire and water) some individuals have the power to control and manipulate their nations element i.e people from the fire nation could control fire. Avatar Aang however, was able to control all 4 – would have worked a treat in this recent heatwave!

If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

Christmas (in London), of course! What to read, where to go, the best window displays! Am I the only one ready for Christmas?

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Julie Irigaray

 

If you could write ‘THE Book’ on something, the definitive how-to-guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

After living in four different countries, I’d love to write a book on living abroad and learning a new language. I’ve learned a lot from these experiences as we often don’t realise how our vision of the world is limited by our culture.

What three books changed your life?

Le coeur cousu (translated as The Threads of the Heart) by Carole Martinez. I offered this book to at least ten people because the story and the language are mesmerizing. Set in 19th century Andalusia, this novel is about a family of women with supernatural powers who struggle to remain free in an oppressive environment. The language is so superior to any book I’ve read that it discouraged me from writing in French! During my studies, I chose to translate a very difficult passage into English and I told the author at the Paris Book Fair that she was a nightmare to translate. She apologised and signed my copy: “Thank you for giving flesh to my paper characters in English”!

East Wind, West Wind by Pearl Buck. My mum tried to make me read this author for years so I reluctantly started. I ended up reading it in seven hours non-stop. The narrator is a woman in early 20th century China whose brother marries an American woman and whose husband rejects Chinese traditions. This novel deals with a country which struggles to keep its traditions at the time of great political changes. The theme of cultural differences could only appeal to me!

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri. The author describes her obsession for the Italian language and culture and her journey to become not only fluent in Italian, but to write too. Reading this book was a very disturbing experience as she raised important points which echoed my life: why is someone fascinated by a specific language and culture? Why do some writers choose to abandon their mother tongue? Are they rejecting their own culture by doing so? I still haven’t found answers to these questions.

What has been the highlights of the year?

Graduating and leaving Ireland, moving back to Paris (without finding a job) before arriving in London (where I have found a job)! I always wanted to come back to the UK, so I attended The London Book Fair and seized the opportunity to meet the Atwood Tate team. The rest is history…

If you were the embodiment of a publishing business model what animal would you be and why?

Despite their bad reputation, I’ve always admired foxes (all the more since two of them are wandering around my place every night)! I think every business needs cunning to succeed. I like long-term plans, anticipating the next five years and developing strategies. I also love informing myself about what competitors do (that’s for the crafty part!)

Who would you invite (and why) to your fantasy literary dinner?

Without any surprise I’d do a remake of “the Dead Poets Society” by inviting:

  • Arthur Rimbaud – because he made me want to become a poet
  • Federico Garcia Lorca – because of his humanism, his melancholic tone and the gorgeous imagery of his poems
  • John Keats – for his rich and sensual language
  • Sylvia Plath – for the distinctive voice and rhythm of her poems, the fact that she mastered her craft so well and her complex symbolism.

On a more cheerful tone, all my favourite novelists are alive, and I even had the chance to meet some of them! I’d invite Elif Shafak, Carole Martinez, Jeffrey Eugenides, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt and Zadie Smith – I saw her in a restaurant but didn’t dare interrupting her dinner…

Bonus question: Give us one random fact about yourself. 

After living in an attic in Paris and a micro-studio in London, I moved (for cheaper!) to a Renaissance palazzo in Bologna. The wheel of fortune may turn again…

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Clare Chan

 

What three books changed your life?

There is definitely one book that changed my life – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People I read when I was 14.  It was quite a mature read then, but it changed my perspective on my daily life and focus.  I read this book in Chinese, probably time to read the English version now.

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

A lot of things happened in 2017 – got my first publishing job in the UK, meet different book buyers in the UK, travelled to Croatia and camped on the beach for the first time, flew back to Hong Kong twice…  It was a fab year!

What are you most looking forward to in the second half of 2018?

I have just joined a gym for the first time in my life; I used to swim a lot in public pools but never signed up for a gym membership.  They even have a rock climbing wall there – will see how it go!

What is on your Birthday wish list?

Time flies – my birthday is coming in less than a month.  My first wish is I will have that magic door from Doraemon (a Japanese comic character) that allows me to travel between two places just through a door so I can always see my family in Hong Kong.  My second wish is I will finally learn how to drive.

If you were the living embodiment of a publishing business model what animal would you be and why?

I would happily be a robin bird.  First, it is my favourite bird, and I love to sing too!  Secondly, they are very observant and adaptable.  I enjoy talking to different people and learn what’s new in the publishing world.  I also love to learn new skills because there is always something around the corner!

True fact:

I probably got this from my dad, but I love watching car racing.  I used to go to Macau every year to watch Grand Prix with my dad.

 

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page: http://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/Atwood/meet-the-team.asp

 

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Kayleigh Pullinger: Interview with a Book Designer

This is an interview with Kayleigh Pullinger, Designer at emc design. emc design is the largest design agency dedicated to book publishing in the UK. Kayleigh joined emc in 2017 after earning her designer’s stripes in the big city. Although new to book design, she is excited to learn new skills and over the moon that she can now spend more time with her lopsided pet rabbit (Bobbity) instead of commuting.

1) How did you start your career? And do you have any tips for people wanting to cross over from graphic to book design?

My first job was working as an in-house designer for a charity, followed by two jobs working for design agencies with clients varying from independent start-ups to big FTSE100 corporates.

My tips to those who’d like to cross over from graphic design to book design would be to familiarise yourself with inDesign as much as possible, and brush up on your basic Photoshop skills. Knowing the software that you’ll use day in day out will speed you up and free some headspace for getting creative with the realia (realia is the term used for images on the page, used to illustrate a language learning point). Start looking at the world around you, which, as designers, you probably do anyway. Take notice of how websites work, what makes an online article look different to one in a magazine? Study the pizza menu next time you’re out and about and make a mental note of how the menu is designed. All these little things help in really unexpected places.

2) What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part of my job is definitely styling realia, closely followed by a good stint of text formatting. I love how quickly you can go from a completely unstyled page of text to something visually engaging. I have to say that my least favourite part of my job is checking my own proofs, as I’m terrified of missing a big blunder.

3) If you could travel five years back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Don’t panic if what you’re doing feels unfulfilling at the time, it’s all a learning curve, and eventually you’ll end up doing something that engages you properly. Take your time over every job, no matter how small. Get off the internet and go out into the world more, to museums and galleries and concerts and even just down the road.

4) Who do you admire and why?

Jessica Hische is my hero. She’s a lettering artist and illustrator, which is a far cry from what I do, but her career path and drive inspire me. She also keeps a lot of personal projects on the boil, which I think really helps keeps your creative cogs oiled. Oh, and she can code too!

5) Will you be at London Book Fair and if so, what are you most looking forward to? 

I won’t be personally this year, but some of my emc design colleagues are going down, so feel free to say hello to John and Ben.

Bonus Q: What book characters would you invite to your fantasy literary dinner party?

Being a child of the Harry Potter generation, I’m definitely inviting Albus Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood and Dobby. Let’s also throw in Anne Elliot, Lyra and  Marvin the Paranoid Android to mix it up a bit.

Thanks Kayleigh for taking the time to answer our questions! You’ve made me want to try my hand at book design now…

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Claire Carrington-Smith

Introducing our new Oxford-based consultant, Claire Carrington-Smith! Claire, along with Alice Crick, works on roles outside of London and the Home Counties.

Claire sitting in front of afternoon tea with lots of cakesWhich literary figure would you be?

Definitely Matilda Woodworm, because like me, she is a bookworm. Matilda also taught me about feminism, as both Matilda and Miss Honey are strong female characters, and were very inspiring to me growing up. Roald Dahl was one of my favourite authors as a child, and I remember wanting to be just like Matilda!

If you were given the chance to have one superpower from any book/comic character, what would you have?

Other than Matilda’s telekinetic super power, I would also love to be able to time travel to a magical and distant land like Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This the first book I remember falling in love with I was a child, and it’s still is one of my favourites.

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

The past year has been very eventful as well as moving house I left publishing to working as a Recruitment Consultant at Atwood Tate! Leaving publishing after 10 years was such a big decision, but I am so excited to be here and the new challenge it brings. I’m really enjoying it so far.

What is on your birthday wish list?

It sounds really boring, but I have just had my birthday and I got a running jacket and some new trainers as I have just started running. It’s definitely a new years’ resolution I hope to keep up!

Claire Carrington-Smith is responsible for Editorial, Production, Production Editorial, Design, Distribution & Operations roles in all sectors (excluding B2B) in all UK locations outside of London, Home Counties and East Anglia.

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants cover, go to the “Meet the Team” page:

https://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/about/meet-the-team.aspx

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Consultant in the Hot Seat: Alice Crick

This week, our Oxford based Recruitment Consultant Alice Crick takes to the Hot Seat.

If you could write ‘THE book’ on something, the definitive how-to guide on any subject, which topic would you choose?

If I could write one incredible book on something, it would definitely be a self-help guide on living a truly fulfilling and happy life. As cheesy as it sounds, I don’t think anyone’s quite cracked it yet, and it would be amazing to be the one with all of the answers to those big life questions.

What three books changed your life?

Three books that really struck a chord with me are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. The first two are quite similar, and I found them both particularly emotional reads as they really resonated with me. You definitely learn to empathise with the main characters, which in turn teaches you how to better relate to others in the real world. I think that is one of the most genuine signs of a good book. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was the first book I ever studied on my English Literature course at university; I found it impressive how Hamid provokes western readers to consider a new cultural perspective from ‘the other side’. It’s another incredibly powerful read that makes you question the cultural biases ingrained into us from a young age.

What have been the highlights of the past year?

My highlights from the past year have definitely been graduating from Royal Holloway with a 2:1 in English, moving to Oxford with my boyfriend, and starting a full time job as a Publishing Recruitment Consultant here at Atwood Tate. Most people don’t take on so many big changes all at once, but here I am!

What is on your birthday wish list?

Home things, home things and… more home things! Having moved very recently, I’m eager to get my ‘hygge’ on (the Danish art of living well), by making my home super cosy just in time for those chilly autumn and winter months.

True fact:

Before committing to a course at university, I spent a year learning how to be a professional musician at an academy. As you can see, that one didn’t quite work out!

 

Alice Crick covers Marketing, Sales, Publicity, Rights & International Sales, Contracts & Royalties, Customer Services in all UK locations outside of London, Home Counties and East Anglia, in all sectors excluding B2B & Medcomms.

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants cover, go to the “Meet the Team” page:

https://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/about/meet-the-team.aspx

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Administrator in the Hot Seat – Andrew Willis

Our new Administrator, Andrew Willis, answers questions in the hot seat.

What three books changed your life?

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh: As my Dad’s favourite book, I must have heard most of this book quoted throughout my life, but never quite understood its appeal until I finally read it for myself. It is an amazing book which manages to pack so much into its terse, but reverential prose. It touches on theology, belief, nostalgia, friendship and love, and is a great story.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Few people are as funny, creative and irreverent as Douglas Adams. It may often seem like insanity, but Adams’ prose is always carefully measured and pitched, and fun. Hitchhiker’s is a good reminder to not panic, and never be too serious. “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz: The Alex Rider books were the first series of books I got hooked on at school. Adventure, gadgets, espionage; it offered everything. This is fourth in the series, but this is one I read first. I went back and read the other books, but Eagle Strike was quite formative in my love of books.

 

What book are you reading at the moment and what do you think of it?

I have just finished Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, which is a fantastic piece of science-fiction and world-building, about the twin worlds Anarres and Urras. The book which explores political issues such as differing ideologies, gender and economic systems. It also touches on theoretical physics and an envisioning of interstellar communications before the invention of the internet. Sounds like heavy reading, but it was more interesting than it sounds!

I have just started reading Herding Cats by Charlie Campbell, a more light-hearted book about Campbell’s experiences of amateur cricket captaincy of the Authors XI.

 

Is there any area of publishing you’re particularly interested in at the moment?

I am quite a big fan of audiobooks. I find them to be useful for fitting in more books when I’m commuting or too tired to read. It is quite a versatile format, as releases can take different forms from just a single narrator, to full cast dramas with music and sound effects. There are many different roles involved in audiobooks too; editorial, commissioning, production, directing, and post-production.  There is a strong market for audiobooks at the moment, and it is an exciting time for them.

 

What has been the highlight/s of the past year?

Completing and passing my Master’s Degree last September was a huge achievement. It was both a very enjoyable course, learning new skills in literary analysis, research, and also in film production, but it was also draining at times. When faced with a 20,000 word dissertation, the terror of the blank word document and a flashing cursor can be daunting as you wonder how you are possibly going to produce anything. But through hard-work, stress and adrenaline and a lot of tea, I was amazed at what I could achieve.

To find out more about the roles each of our consultants covers, go to the “Meet the Team” page: http://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/Atwood/meet-the-team.asp

You can read previous Hot Seats here: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/category/hot-seat/

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