I keep coming across news and books by UK publisher Cannongate these days. Back in September, I discussed an amazingly artful limited edition of Robert Sabbag’s Snowblind. That rare book was published by Rebel, Inc, an imprint of Cannongate. And recently the publisher has been making the news for a series of books where contemporary authors rewrite ancient tales, myths, and legends to be simultaneously published in 33 countries around the world. The initial books in the series are by Jeanette Winterson and Margaret Atwood. Other writers in the series include Donna Tartt, David Grossman, Chinua Achebe, Alexander McCall Smith, and Ali Smith, among others.
The Scotsman provides an outstanding profile of Cannongate boss Jamie Byng. One of the most interesting parts of this profile focuses on Byng’s love and enthusiasm for his projects. “Your love, your excitement, is not something you can just turn on,” says Byng. “You either have that feeling or you don’t – and if you don’t, you shouldn’t be involved.” The article recounts how Byng convinced Yann Martel to sell Life of Pi to Cannongate. “I think what we offered was something you can’t put a value on, which was commitment to the book in terms of time and passion,” says Byng. Which is the exact same thing I recently heard from an author who chose not to publish his book through the UK division of an American publisher. Instead he went with Cannongate because “these guys are artists.”
It’s a good article about someone in the publishing industry we should all support. Read the entire piece here.