Tuesday 28 September 2021

Out to lunch

Reading and writing are both essentially private activities, Protestant rather than Catholic, as opposed to publishing, which is more communal and last week involved lunch, twice. Roy Watkins (Simple Annals, published earlier this year: ‘an astonishing achievement’, TLS) came to London from France. Dan O’Brien (A Story that Happens, also published earlier this year: ‘a book for our times’, TLS; and three books of poetry) lives in Los Angeles but is in London right now and was keen to meet Paul Bailey (Inheritance: ‘throw[s] open a whole closed century of English class-shift and time-shift in a loving and piercing evocation of family, childhood, love, loss, sangfroid, survival’, Ali Smith, New Statesman).

And Carmel Doohan’s Seesaw was officially launched last week at Burley Fisher Books (above). Thank you to everyone who came. The Scotsman likes it (Laura Waddell: ‘an unexpected, novel challenge to binary thinking’) and the website page quotes a blog review: ‘CB editions has released many interesting and mind-bending books in the past but Seesaw might be their best one to date.’ To be discussed, preferably over lunch.

Other books are available. For example, ten of your own choice from the website for £70, post-free: Lockdown Subscription from the website home page. It’s been running since March last year and I need to keep this going. Next week will include publication of Caroline Clark’s Sovetica, and a guest post here by the author.