Since we hit the road on 11 September, we still have 3 events to go, storytelling and showcasing small, risk-taking publishers who fill a unique niche in discovering talent, enriching our literary culture.
Looking back, I spent a good chunk of the end of last year and the beginning of this one planning and fund raising for the 10×10 tour, with the invaluable support and technical expertise of Ben Fiagbe. Connie Jehu came on board over the summer to collaborate in implementing our plan, while Sue Amaradivakara from the PR Collective began to promote the tour across national and local media. Interviews were done with Robert Elms for BBC Radio London, Monocle 24 Radio, Bookanista, The Bookseller, LoveReading and others.
Starting from Waterstones in Gower Street in the heart of Bloomsbury, the 10×10 bookblasters headed north to Newcastle and Leeds, then turned south, and now we are on the western (and final) leg of the tour. It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride!
The author/translator talks hosted by Waterstones, and chaired by the10 #indiepubs on tour, one in each city, have displayed a dizzying array of subjects and ideas, and highly original writing, for us all to mull over.
The Bookseller 14/09/2018
The talks are being recorded LIVE as we go. Thanks to our successful Kickstarter campaign, we raised 1,566 GBP towards artists’ travel costs and podcasting, so you can eventually listen to all 10 talks at your leisure. Here are the first four . . .
The first in the BookBlast 10×10 Tour series of podcasts features Eric Lane from Dedalus Books, in conversation with translator Margaret Jull Costa OBE and Glasgow-born award-winning novelist, Andrew Crumey.
Topics: Translating the classics with a focus on Eça de Quieroz, the Portuguese contemporary of Flaubert and Dickens; the European novel; integrity in writing; and the essence of translation, style and idiom.
The second BookBlast 10×10 Tour talk, held at Waterstones in Newcastle, featured Kevin Duffy from Bluemoose Books with novelists Colette Snowden and Dan Micklethwaite.
Topics: What lies behind the success of trailblazing #indiepubs winning prizes and generating literary conversations in the broadsheets and literary journals?; publishing – north and south; changing business models; giantism vs. independence; the joys of editing.
The third BookBlast 10×10 Tour talk held at Waterstones in Leeds, featured Ra Page from Comma Press in conversation with C.D. Rose and Ian Duhig. Despite wuthering heights gale-force winds, a tree on the line and other interruptions to train services, Ra still managed to attend, and I stepped in as interim chair.
Topics: Wealth and poverty across the last century in Leeds (a survivors’ city and not fashionable like Manchester or Liverpool), and Birmingham (much of the centre has been knocked down and rebuilt); blind Jack Metcalf, a major 18th century road builder; Tolkien and the discovery of his diaries; reading and writing vs. poetry and song.
The fourth BookBlast 10×10 Tour talk held at Waterstones in Nottingham, featured Istros Books with translator Christina Pribićević-Zorić and Professor David Norris. Founder-director of Istros Books, Susan Curtis, was felled by sciatica so I stepped in as chair.
Topics: What is intrinsically “Balkan”?; the Holocaust in South East Europe involved not only the genocide of Jews, but also that of Serbs, Romani (gypsies) and anti-Fascist Croatians; the difference between history (statistics) and literature (detail in fiction makes it more alive); trauma and war are beyond understanding; ghosts in literature (memories); can one answer the existence of evil?
Audiences have been fully engaged, asking illuminating questions. After each talk there have been brisk sales of the featured books.
The 10×10 tour has enhanced visibility for the 10 publishers and their authors-translators with their books being prominently displayed in participating Waterstones flagship stores, and reviewed or included in round ups in the quality broadsheets including Sunday Times Culture, Telegraph Review, Observer, i-newspaper.
To connect leading #indiepubs based in London and the regions of England with retailers and readers has not been done quite in this way before. The 10×10 tour has set a high bar for the years to follow. I can’t wait to see how this exciting venture will evolve into the future.
Meantime . . . next stop: Birmingham. See you there!
The BookBlast® 10×10 Tour Kickstarter video
We thank our sponsors and partners for their confidence in our work. Our vision here at BookBlast® would not have become reality without the commitment and active contribution from our sponsors and partners. Due to their support we have been able to get The BookBlast® 10×10 tour out on the road, showcasing the best of the best #indiepubs both on the ground and online, reaching all corners of the world.
And finally: Diaspora Calling! The Miles Morland Foundation offers African Writing Scholarships for African writers. For details about how to enter please visit the foundation’s website HERE
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