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Food Writing with the British Library

The British Library is currently hosting its first ever Food Writing season, some of these events include tastings. Anna from Atwood Tate went along to the first one…

Food writing as we understand it has been growing for the last fifty years. The days of Mrs Beeton lumping it together with household management are long over. Recipes to memoir… three panellists explained their understanding of the genre.

Claudia Roden, a Jewish Egyptian, began writing as a way to record the oral traditions of a mosaic of communities forming the refugees from her homeland. The publication part was something of a surprise. Sumayya Usmani, a solicitor from Pakistan, decided to write in Britain and changed the attitude towards food in Pakistan, a region in which food has evolved over only 70 years. Both women come from a background of families sharing recipes through practice and a culture of entertaining in a way that Britain does not. Tim Hayward, the final panellist from the South East of England ran away to America to become an advertiser before turning to food writing with a nerdy delight.

Have you ever torn recipes out of a magazine or newspaper?

How often do you actually cook from them?

When was the last time you cooked with confidence sans recipes?

All of the panellists would rather write without recipes. Unfortunately, recipes are what sell and no publisher will countenance a food publication without recipes. Every food writer has been approached to write an article with the title something like “10 recipes with…” and offered a flat rate but they find them dull to write and targeted for SEO. Even trying to give specific timings like Jamie Oliver or Delia Smith for cooking onions: 3 minutes? It depends on the hob, the pan, the quantity of onions. The food writers teach their children skills at home, or like Usmani in cookery classes.

Examples of recipe books at the London Book Fair

Turn to the works of Roden or Usmani instead. Be transported by the prose to the places the food evokes, that the descriptions conjure. Food writing is the new travel writing.

In the Q&A session afterwards an American asked about the growing fears of cultural appropriation. The authenticity of the recipes, the veracity of voice.  The panellists acknowledged the dangers of this – Hayward as a white male especially, with British imperialism historically behind him. Roden on the other hand argued that cooking is shared and developed. Whilst researching in the Mediterranean she discovered a cook she was discussing recipes with had used Roden’s own book to develop some of her published work and Roden could not have been more delighted. Food writing also is truly global in that sense despite being region-locked by cuisine.

Yet readers rarely cook themselves. Roden observed the aisles of ready meals in supermarkets have grown in recent years and Usmani noted the descriptions of those ready meals taking inspiration from Mediterranean cuisine.

Interestingly all three panellists said that writing about fads and food they wouldn’t want to make themselves would be the hardest thing to write about. Fashion in food unless it falls within your interests is impossible to do well.

A desert island book to finish with. Roden could not choose as too many of her friends could be in the audience! Hayward unequivocally recommended The Gastronomical Me by M F K Fisher. Usmani wanted to take the family book, sort of a diary, a collection of travels she is never allowed to publish, or failing that, Allen’s book of cooking skills.

 

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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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International Women’s Day – Inspirational Female Writers

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, we have collected some of our favourite inspirational quotes from female writers. There were too many to include all of them, so let us know in the comments what your favourite is that we’ve missed!

‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
― Maya Angelou, Still I Rise

‘I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.’
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

‘I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.’
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

‘No black woman writer in this culture can write “too much”. Indeed, no woman writer can write “too much”…No woman has ever written enough.’
― bell hooks, remembered rapture: the writer at work

‘I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.’
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

‘Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.’
― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

‘There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.’
― Arundhati Roy

‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.’
― Audre Lorde

‘We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.’
― Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

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Team update: Welcome to the team, Anna!

We are delighted to announce we have a new Temps and Freelancers Administrator, Anna Slevin! She will be providing administrative support to Alison Redfearn and Kellie Miller in our London office.

Anna Slevin

Anna entered the publishing and recruitment worlds by temping (some of those roles gained through Atwood Tate!) after finishing her broad English and American Literature degree. Instead of completing a dissertation at university, Anna opted for the more unusual opportunity to write 6000 words of creative non-fiction about cinnamon and she has continued to think outside the box ever since. Passionate about food, theatre and stories in general, she is happy to help with most things. She joined Atwood Tate in February 2018 as the Temps and Freelancers Administrator in the London office.

annaslevin@atwoodtate.co.uk

0203 574 4427

See our Meet the Team page for more information and contact details for all our consultants.

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Team update: Welcome to the team, Clare!

We’re delighted to welcome our new Recruitment Consultant, Clare Chan! She is joining our London office, where she will be working on Editorial (STM) vacancies and roles in Production, Production Editorial, Design, Distribution and Operations positions across publishing sectors (excluding B2B) in London, East Anglia and the Home Counties.

Clare Chan

Clare started her publishing career in Hong Kong where she managed an independent art book publishing house and gained experience in design, editorial and print production.  Moving to London, she continued her publishing career specialising in Sales and Marketing at Black Dog Publishing and Artifice books on architecture.  Clare has worked in a variety of positions in publishing and has developed a great knowledge of the industry.  She enjoys swimming and going to art exhibitions (especially photography arts!) She joined Atwood Tate in February 2018 as a Publishing Recruitment Consultant, and works on Editorial roles in STM publishing and vacancies in Production, Production Editorial, Design, Distribution, and Operations positions across all publishing sectors (excluding B2B) in London, East Anglia and the Home Counties.

clarechan@atwoodtate.co.uk

0203 574 4428

See our Meet the Team page for more information and contact details for all our consultants.

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Best Book and Publishing-Related Podcasts

When I’m not listening to an audiobook on my way to work, I love listening to podcasts – especially ones about books and publishing! It’s no secret that the audio sector is growing, whether through audiobook services like Audible, Kobo or Google Play, or through the rise of podcasts. Here are a few of my favourite book and publishing-related listens:

1)    Mostly Lit

A weekly books and pop-culture podcast from Alex Reads, Rai, and Derek Owusu. Aimed at a millennial audience, this is a fun and accessible podcast that promotes reading as something for everyone to enjoy. It makes reading cool again, discussing books alongside films and TV.

You can find them on Twitter @MostlyLit

2)    Minorities in Publishing

This publishing industry podcast from Jenn Baker interviews publishing professionals as well as authors and others related to the industry about diversity (or the lack thereof) in book publishing.

You can find them here: http://minoritiesinpublishing.tumblr.com/

3)    BBC Radio 4 Books and Authors

BBC Radio 4 hosts a number of high quality book podcasts, which include interviews with high-profile authors and public figures. It tends to focus on more literary fiction. Harriett Gilbert hosts A Good Read, where she discusses people’s favourite books. Recent episodes feature Ruby Tandoh, Nicola Sturgeon, and Stephen Fry. Also see Radio 4’s other podcasts – Bookclub and Short Story in particular are worth a listen.

Download Books and Authors here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrsfl/episodes/downloads

4)    Guardian Books

Similar in tone to the Radio 4 podcasts, the Guardian’s version is a weekly show hosted by Claire Armistead, Richard Lea, and Sian Cain with interviews and discussions about latest book trends and themes. Recent episodes cover LGBT must-reads and Helen Dunmore’s posthumous Costa prize.

Find all episodes here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/series/books

5)    Time Literary Supplement – Freedom, Books, Flowers & the Moon

This weekly podcast from the TLS takes its name from the Oscar Wilde quotation, ‘With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?’ Stig Abell, Thea Lenarduzzi and Lucy Dallas are joined by special guests and discuss articles from the week’s edition of the magazine, covering literature and related topics, including politics, culture, language and history.

All episodes are on their website and can be found here: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/podcast-freedom-books-flowers-moon/

6)    Book Riot

Book Riot is well worth a listen for their accessible discussions of book-related news. There is a notable American bias, but any global publisher today will want to keep up with what’s happening in the book world over the pond.

Find it on the Book Riot website (and while you’re there, it’s also worth taking a look at the other content on there!): https://bookriot.com/listen/shows/thepodcast/

Let us know in the comments or on social media what you’ve been listening to recently!

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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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Make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday

Let’s face it: January can be a miserable month. It’s cold, Christmas is over, and the days may be getting longer but you wouldn’t know it when sometimes you go days without seeing the sun at all. This all gave rise to #BlueMonday – allegedly the most depressing day of the year.

#BrightBlueMonday

However, the charity Rethink Mental Health acknowledges that mental health isn’t dictated by the date. Depression can and does affect people every day of the year and this isn’t an issue to take lightly. That’s why they have come up with #BrightBlueMonday, a day to do some good and spread a bit of joy. They suggest that you ‘share a coffee with a colleague, bake something for the office or […] text an old friend to say hello.’

Brightening up a gloomy Monday morning is definitely something we can get behind. It’s also an opportunity to talk about serious issues. Employers: what are you doing to support those with mental health issues in your company? According to Rethink, 1 in 4 of us are affected by mental illness. The charity Mind’s research shows that ‘a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers’, and it may lead to poorer employee retention, higher absenteeism and lower motivation among staff.Woman smiling under rainbow umbrella. Text reads: 15 January Show your colours on #BrightBlueMonday

So what can employers do to help?

Mind have put together a fantastic collection of resources for businesses here. It’s about being accommodating and offering tailored reasonable adjustments to employees, whether that’s flexible working, providing a workspace that is, for example, quiet or has lots of natural light, or extra support for employees experiencing stress. Another policy could be a buddy system, which offers support outside of a line-management structure.

Charities like Mind and Rethink Mental Health have contributed to the positive cultural shift in attitudes towards mental illness. Companies are also making changes to better support their employees, but there are things we could all do to reach out to our friends and colleagues who may be struggling. So let’s make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday and spread some positivity today.

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Our Favourite Books in 2017

Our favourite books in 2017 header

This has been a great year for trade publishing and we’ve been enjoying reading both new releases and older books we hadn’t quite got round to. Here are our favourites that we’ve read this year!

Claire C-S

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)Lincoln in the Bardo cover

The Man Booker Prize winner has been writing short stories for 20 years, but it’s his prize winning debut novel about Abraham Lincoln grieving the death of his son Willie which is already considered a masterpiece. Told through the narrative of spirits and extracts of Civil war memoir, this emotional and poignant tale of loss will stay with you forever.

Ellie

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)Eleanor Oliphant cover

This debut was deservedly named WHSmith’s Fiction Book of the Year. Eleanor Oliphant is an utterly unique narrator, equal parts irritating and charming, and this story about her learning to engage with the outside world brought me to tears on more than one occasion. It also has the most realistic depiction of a cat I think I’ve ever read!

Claire L

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047 by Lionel Shriver (The Borough Press)The Mandibles cover

I love a good dystopian fiction novel and this one didn’t disappoint! Lionel Shriver creates a believable very near future world which is going through major debt crisis (following an earlier crash of the internet). The US refuses to get on board with the new global currency and this leads to huge bankruptcy. We follow a family who were expecting a large inheritance, having to adjust in this new world and Shriver gives us some quirky and likeable characters as well as some awful ones – just like a normal family?!

Lucy

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend (Penguin)The Woman who went to Bed for a Year cover

The book I am currently reading is definitely up there with my favourites this year. Sue Townsend retains her place in my heart with The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year. Poignant yet hilarious, this book shines a light on modern family life with the wit we expect from the woman who brought us Adrian Mole.

Tanaya

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Mass (Bloomsbury)A Court of Mist and Fury cover

This was actually published in 2016 but I only read it this year as I struggled to get into it during the first chapter. This was by far my favourite book of the year. The main character, Feyer, is rebuilding her life after the massive events of the last book and learns to come to terms with the person she is now. A Court of Mist and Fury is all for empowerment and putting the pieces of your life back together after an abusive relationship.  It combines the amazing fantasy world building and characters of Sarah J Mass with powerful messages about self-worth and independence.

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Join the Society of Young Publishers’ Committee

Many thanks to the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) for this guest post about applying for their committee! The SYP put on great events for the publishing industry, as well as advertising jobs on their website. We really recommend becoming a member and making use of their services and events. Joining the committee is a great way to learn new skills and meet new people in the industry.

The Society of Young Publishers is open to anyone, of any age, interested in publishing or a related trade – or who is hoping to be soon. From regular panels, workshops and networking events, to our bi-annual all day conference, we host events around the country to explore current publishing trends and debates to help anyone trying to break into the industry or progress within it develop skills and contacts. The SYP committee is made up of volunteering publishing individuals who are in the first few years of their careers. By day, we’re working in publishing and by night we’re volunteering for the SYP, and we’re looking for new committee members to join us for 2018.

Whether you are interested in running events, a role that puts you in contact with experts across the industry; being the voice of the society by managing social media and communications; connecting with the hiring powers of countless publishers by populating on our jobs board; or looking after our members as membership secretary, we’ve got a role for you. We have monthly team meetings and everyone on committee has a voice and can put forward any ideas to improve the society’s offering.

Being a volunteer on the SYP committee entitles you to a free year of membership and the chance to gain experience and contacts within the publishing industry. Making the move into publishing can be scary, however, being on the committee allows you to meet other like-minded publishing professionals, further your publishing experience and form firm friendships.

We have five regional branches across the UK and Ireland, each with their own committee, and a UK committee that manage membership, partnerships and our quarterly magazine, InPrint. Online and exclusively for members, we host a comprehensive Job Database of entry-level and junior positions around the UK and Ireland, as well as The Network a one-stop online forum for members to share tips and experiences with peers, network online, access exclusive content, and connect with industry experts.

We also offer a number of discounts on courses and event tickets and support a number of awards for emerging talent in the industry.

Applications close Friday 15th December. For a full breakdown of roles by region and how to apply please visit the Volunteer page: https://thesyp.org.uk/volunteer-with-the-syp/

See more of our posts about SYP events: https://blog.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/tag/society-of-young-publishers/

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