Gastblogger Jamie Byng – Fair and Loathing

Day three and I’am struggling. Struggling with time, wishing it would stand still so I could have a nap, read one manuscript, eat something and chill. Right now I’m in a calm cab, on my own, en route to the Frankfurter Hof to meet Oscar van Gelderen, a great publisher and even better friend, who is throwing a party for Niccolo Ammaniti who we publish together along with about forty other publishers around the world.

It’s not often that we have authors at Frankfurt but this year I am delighted that three versions of Nicholas will be here. Niccolo from Italy, Nikolai from Siberia and Nick from Australia. Or Ammaniti, Lilin and Cave to give them their other names. They also share qualities as writers, exploring the darker sides of humanity through powerful and distinctive tales. It was in Frankfurt in 2003 that Oscar, Niccolo, Halfdan Freihow and I bonded in an extended session that resulted in Nic being published by Oscar in Holland. We were already publishing him at Canongate but this night forged a friendship between the three of us and tonight feels like an overdue reunion. It was Oscar who first tipped me off to Nicolai Lilin having pre-empted the Dutch rights in his strange quasi-memoir, Siberian Education. This sharing of books is one of the aspects of publishing I like so much as it creates a decentralised cohesiveness, a means by which stories travel and are shared. The conversations we have can change the way we understand what we read, helping us to plumb the depths of a book’s universality. Selling a book into many languages can be financially lucrative but it’s about much more than the money. Each one teach one.

Which brings me to the third nick in this unholy trinity – the Caveman! It was in Frankfurt last year that we started to sell „The Death of Bunny Munro“ internationally and so it is only fitting to have all his publishers meeting up at a party we are throwing for Nick tonight with his German publishers, Kiepenheuer & Witsch. The publication of his twisted, poignant and incredibly funny novel is one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved in. I’ve got to go as time is ticking and Nic has arrived. But before signing off I wanted to say that we’ve got 5 pairs of tickets to giveaway for the party tonight at which Nick Cave will do a short reading. All you need to do is to call 069 – 759 125 40 and tell the name of the last Bad Seeds studio album.

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