Address: 19, Rue Aldringen, Luxembourg, L-1011
Born and lived: UK
Early life: Degrees from Oxford University and Masters from Stirling University
Professional career and activities: International Bookselling and publishing for more than 30 years. I was ceo of WH Smith in Europe, ceo of Waterstone’s book stores, I operated my own large independent book store in London, was General Manager of YBP in the UK. I have spent time writing and editing; author of several books and editor of a series of history titles. I have been very active in the design of public libraries and in campaigns for their improvement
Family: Married to Bridget Cave, we have two sons, Sam and Olly. Sam is deputy political editor of The Times in London; Olly has recently been named Royal Philharmonic International Young Artist of 2012- he is a ‘cellist.
In my spare time: I read and listen to music
Favorite books: thousands – but just this week “Dear Miss Landau” by James Christie
Pet peeves: Government officials
Philosophy: ‘It probably doesn’t matter’
Most memorable career achievement: My first book accepted for publication by Bloomsbury. And several professional programs and developments in bookselling:
Goal I hope to achieve five years from now: Bilbary to be a success
How/where do I see the industry in five years (please answer this question if you answer none of the others): The heart of the publishing industry is about writing (and reading). I don’t think that will ever change. I hope there will be wonderful new writers and I am sure there will be. Of course the industry is tumultuous – but it always has been- not because anything is wrong with it, but because writing is open to anyone to do; it costs nothing. Giant corporations scrabble over each other to make their fortunes out of something that cost nothing in the first place. All the technology that surrounds us is wonderful, but it is not the essence of what we do. Even more puzzling is that the best writing isn’t about anything- it can be about nothing. That is the magic of our medium- and that won’t change in five years or fifty
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