Publication of the Oxford Companion to the Book

January 30th, 2010 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Publication of the Oxford Companion to the Book
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OCBThis week, Oxford University Press published the Oxford Companion to the Book, a two-volume reference work covering all aspects of book culture, including publishing, printing, reading and authorship, from ancient times to the present day.

Edited by Michael F. Suarez S.J. and H.R. Woudhuysen, the volumes begin with overview essays on subjects including the technologies and economics of print, children’s books and the electronic book, as well as chapters on books and publishing in different countries and regions around the world. The work then has over 5000 encyclopaedia entries, with definitions and descriptions ranging from the accordion book to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, by way of mini-histories of Faber & Faber, the Harry Potter phenomenon, and even the telephone directory.

A publishing feat in itself, the Oxford Companion to the Book contains over a million words, and is the work of two general editors, around 30 associate and assistant editors, nearly 400 scholars, and a staff team at OUP. Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, was the Associate Editor with responsibility for the Twentieth Century Book in Britain, and wrote the overview essay ‘The History of the Book in Britain from 1914’.

The reference work has already received rave reviews from the Sunday Times (‘fabulous … monumental … beautiful’) and the Sunday Telegraph (‘an extraordinary tribute to a revolutionary invention … magnificent’).

That 5.30am moment…

November 18th, 2009 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on That 5.30am moment…
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‘I finished the stories early in the morning and wanted to phone him straightaway. Then I realised that calling someone at 5.30am on a Sunday morning wasn’t very sensible.’ Last night at Edinburgh’s Central Library, Jamie Byng, publisher at Canongate, described the moment of excitement when he finished reading a batch of short stories from Michel Faber.

Michel FaberHe managed to wait until 7.30am to make the call, which was promptly answered by the normally phone-phobic author. They had a lengthy conversation about the stories and the possibilities for publication, thus beginning a strong friendship – and publishing partnership. Faber’s writing career with Canongate includes the Whitbread-shortlisted Under the Skin, The Fire Gospel and The Crimson Petal and the White, set in Victorian London and described by the Guardian as ‘the novel that Dickens might have written had he been allowed to speak freely’.

Faber began the evening by reading a tantalising passage from a novel-in-progress, stopping just before his protagonists have sex in a motorway lay-by en route to an airport parting. The entertaining and candid discussion that followed, chaired by the literary agent Jenny Brown, addressed the relationship between author and publisher.

The speakers touched on the reasons why a successful author might remain with his original publisher rather than being lured away by the big London conglomerates. In the case of Faber and Byng, a shared interest in music is one, but a passion for literature and a frank interchange of editorial and publishing values are others.

Byng concluded the evening by mentioning a piece of advice passed down by generations of publishers: ‘Never expect gratitude from an author, but be grateful when you get it’. But it was clear that in this author-publisher relationship there was gratitude on both sides – and a story of literary integrity and achievement.

The event was organised by Edinburgh Central Library.

— Alastair Coats

Study Publishing at Stirling

October 19th, 2009 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Study Publishing at Stirling
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012 The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication is now accepting applications for the MLitt in Publishing Studies and the MSc in International Publishing Management, as well as for research degrees.

Go to our Study page for more information.