One week ago, Howard Jacobson had not yet won The Man Booker Prize, and we were still reeling from the torrent of enthusiasm provided by Nosy Crow’s Kate Wilson. One week on, Jacobson’s past crticisms of the prize that had up to that point eluded him are everywhere, I have had the very pleasant experience of visiting the Cheltenham Literary Festival (hearing Lionel Shriver and also running into one of our ex-students, now employed by Random House) and our thinking about what Publishing is, and should be, has been extended by Nicholas Jones of Strathmore Publishing, who having also attended Kate’s talk was able to build on her foundations.
Overall, what are my impressions? That Publishing seems to be moving faster all the time; that it is populated by people who are entrepreneurs and love what they are doing; that there are even more books that I simply must read. My bedside table is groaning already, and now the works of both Shriver and Jacobson are winging their way towards me (yes, sorry those of you who work for Waterstone’s, but it’s just so very convenient). I did however buy Michael Holroyd’s new book at the festival, and got it signed.
I have had an email this morning from Nicholas to say how much he enjoyed speaking, and how very bright he found our students. And I have to pinch myself to remind me that you really have only been on the course for four weeks. It’s all been hugely enjoyable so far – you are a stimulating bunch and the level of questions has surprised (and motivated) us all…and I am about to set to on marking your first assignment.