What Editors Want is a new podcast in which I interview a different editor each week from the world of publishing. It’s aimed at readers who want to hear the behind the scenes story of how their favourite books get made, and aspiring authors who want to know how to get published.
I’ve spoken to everyone from the biggest names in the industry to independent publishers taking a dynamic and innovative approach to making books. Along the way I’ve met the editors behind Nobel and Booker Prize winning authors (and practically every other literary prize), ground-breaking non-fiction (from The Panama Papers to Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race), with everything from kid’s books to cookbooks in between.
My dream is that this podcast will make the world of books more approachable and inclusive for the authors and publishing professionals of tomorrow by hearing about the career paths of industry leading editors, and how they choose their books.
Philip Connor Finn is an editor at award-winning publisher Unbound. He is the winner of the Faber & Faber Scholarship to UCL and the Cuirt Festival’s New Writing Prize. He writes for publications including Boundless, Caught by the River and The Times Literary Supplement.
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Weidenfeld and Nicolson - Jenny Lord
51:27Jenny Lord is the Publisher at Weidenfeld and Nicolson, part of Orion who were recently crowned Publisher of the Year.We discuss the role of a Publisher at a publishing house, and Jenny's career from Fig Tree to Canongate and now at W&N. She has always published incredible non-fiction and in particular we look at Motherwell by Deborah Orr, The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and Out of the Woods by Luke Turner.Listeners in London will get the chance to see What Editors Want LIVE on 25th November as part of The Literary Consultancy's 25th birthday celebrations. For more details on that keep an eye on @WhatEditorsWant on Twitter. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A Short Update...
1:21Thank you to everyone who listened to Season 1, here's a short update on what's happened with the show.Apologies to anyone waiting for the episode featuring Jenny Lord. Jenny and I recorded a fantastic show in which we discussed authors including Deborah Orr. However following yesterday's sad news that Deborah has passed away, Jenny and I decided to postpone releasing the episode. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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Fitzcarraldo Editions - Jacques Testard
44:26Founded in only 2014, Fitzcarraldo Editions specialising in contemporary fiction and long-form essays. In only five years they have won the International Booker Prize for Olga Tokarczuk's Flights and two of their authors have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Svetlana Alexievich in 2015 and Olga Tokarczuk in 2018.Jacques Testard, their founder and publisher, joined me to discuss starting the press from scratch, taking inspiration from classic French publishers and his belief of publishing authors for their whole career rather than specific books.‘Fitzcarraldo Editions is probably the most exciting publishing house in the UK right now.’— Stuart Evers, New Statesman See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Daunt Books - Željka Marošević
38:20Daunt Books is London's famous chain of bookstores, and Željka Marošević is the Publisher at their imprint.We met to discuss the relationship between the bookstore and the publisher, and her feminist project of republishing unjustly out of print women. We spoke about bringing novels including Dorothy Baker's Cassandra at the Wedding back into print, and non-fiction by the likes of Natalia Ginzburg and MFK Fisher. Daunt also publish contemporary fiction including the Pulitzer Prize finalist, In the Distance by Hernan DiazŽeljka also tells us about her time at Melville House - and working on Maggie Nelson’s seminal The Argonauts - and as Co-Editor of The White Review, the amazing arts and literature magazine. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Piece of Paper Press - Tony White
52:07This week's guest is Tony White, founder and publisher of Piece of Paper Press, a lo-tech, sustainable publisher of new writings and illustrative works. Each book is manufactured from a single A4 sheet that is printed on both sides, and then folded, stapled and trimmed by hand to create the book. Piece of Paper Press titles are always distributed free, either by post and/or at an event. Authors who have contributed include Joanna Walsh and Michael MoorcockTony is also the author of books including Foxy-T and Shackleton’s Man Goes South. His latest novel The Fountain in the Forest is published by Faber and Faber, which the Guardian described as 'An avant-garde take on the pulp crime genre becomes a paean to liberty and a secret history of the 1980s'. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Serpent's Tail - Hannah Westland
41:04Hannah Westland is the publisher at Serpent's Tail, the literary arm of Profile Books. Serpent's Tail launching the careers of writers such as David Peace, Michel Houellebecq and Colm Tóibín and made books such as Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and Karen Jay Fowler's We Are Completely Beside Ourselves into bestsellers.Hannah joined me to talk about books like Alix Nathan's The Warlow Experiment and the literary phenomenon that is Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent. Hannah also tells us how representing Esi Edugyan, the author of the Booker shortlisted Washington Black, as an agent helped Hannah transition into publishing. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Atlantic Books - James Roxburgh
58:43My guest this week is the Senior Editor at Atlantic Books, James Roxburgh. We're discussing book fairs, the different types of reading and the perceived death of literary fiction, as well as James' amazing list of literary fiction from around the globe including books like:When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy (shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize), House of Stone by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (Winner of the Edward Stanford Prize for Fiction with a Sense of Place, Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Orwell Prize, and longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize), and My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Women's Prize for Fiction). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
OneWorld - Alex Christofi
50:29Alex Christofi is the first guest on the podcast who is both an editor and author. Alex has written two novels, Let Us Be True and Glass, which won the 2016 Betty Trask Prize and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. We met to discuss the relationship between writing and editing, whether all great authors are great self-editors, and Alex reveals the three questions all non-fiction authors should ask themselves before sending their book to a publisher.Alex is also a former agent and he told me about securing a massive US deal for his very first book to represent, The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell.But, as always, Alex is on the show primarily as an editor of non-fiction. Alex is a commissioning editor at OneWorld, the publisher who recently won back-to-back Booker Prizes. At OneWorld, Alex has published non-fiction including A Field Guide to the English Clergy by Fergus Butler-Gallie, a Book of the Year for The Times, Mail on Sunday and BBC History Magazine from a young vicar Alex discovered on Twitter, and what the TLS called 'the decade's most important book', The Panama Papers. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Bloomsbury - Alexa Von Hirschberg
53:57Alexa Von Hirschberg is the editorial director at Bloomsbury. She told me about how starting a jazz night got her her first job in publishing at Canongate, working with legends like Kate Tempest and Patrick DeWitt and on amazing novels like Natasha Pulley's The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison.We also spoke about Ben Myers' new novel The Offing and her work on the seminal Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
John Murray Press - Mark Richards
55:39This week's guest is Mark Richards, Publisher at John Murray Press. John Murray are over 250 years old, the longest running independent trade publisher in the UK. They published authors like Jane Austen, Lord Byron and Charles Darwin.Mark and I met to talk about the rise, and potential pitfalls, of autofiction, and the importance of prizes to literary publishing. Mark's first novel to commission was Anjali Joseph’s Saraswati Park while at 4th Estate, and we also talk about books lie the Costa Prize winning The Loney by Andrew Hurley, Olivia Glazebrook's The Frank Business, and my favourite novel of 2018, Sight by Jessie Greengrass. Mark also tells us about his work with the Nick Drake estate. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.