The Biblio File Hosted by Nigel Beale
Twenty - forty minute interviews with accomplished authors, publishers, biblio people, conducted by an excitable bibliophile.

(last night at Art Matters)

Kate Pullinger is a novelist who also writes for film and various digital platforms. Born in Cranbrook British Columbia she went to high school on Vancouver Island, dropped out of McGill University, worked for a year in a copper mine in the Yukon, traveled, and eventually settled in London. Pullinger has written two short story collections; her  novels include When the Monster Dies (1989), Where Does Kissing End? (1992), A Little Stranger and most recently The Mistress of Nothing which has just won Canada’s GG Literary Award for best English Fiction (to be awarded this evening).

She has lectured and taught at, among other institutions: the Battersea Arts Centre, the University of Reading, and Cambridge University, as well as in various prisons. She currently teaches Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester.

The Mistress of Nothing (2009), takes its inspiration from the life of Lucie, Lady Duff Gordon, and is set in nineteenth-century Egypt. I met with Kate yesterday afternoon. Among other things we talk about what it’s like to win the GG, class structures, and the future of the book (check out her website here). Please listen here:


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Direct download: kate_Pullinger_GG121607-170335.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 11:26am EDT

Block head?

Listen here as  famed author of Life of Pi and self proclaimed political gadfly Yann Martel 1) Absorbs a barrage of punishing jabs I throw at him over his latest book What is Stephen Harper Reading? and 2) Punches back at a Canadian Prime Minister whom he considers to be a visionless, ‘fact’-mired, fiction-eschewing ideologue.

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Direct download: Yann_Martel_810301_01.mp3
Category:Author Interview -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

established Greyweathers Press

several years ago because of  a "love of beautifully designed type

skillfully arranged on a well-proportioned page."

His original plan was to print letterpress books only, however, as his enterprise evolved Larry became interested in relief block prints and now includes these in his work. Editorial focus is on the literature both of 19th and early 20th century British and American writers

and young, unpublished writers. All printing and typesetting

is done by hand on a Vandercook S-219AB proofing press.

Books are also bound by hand.

I met with Larry in his studio in Merrickville, Ontario (about a half hour drive south of Ottawa), to talk about what he does. Listen here as he takes us through the letterpress printing process.

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Direct download: Larry_Thompson.mp3
Category:Book Designer -- posted at: 7:57pm EDT

Researching ‘literary’ Portland (Maine) before trekking down there, I came across mention of Rabelais Book shop.  What an interesting concept it’s built upon:  the vertical integration of new titles on food, wine, gardening and farming, with rare out-of-print  books. Patrons therefore inhabit several distinct categories: Book lovers and collectors from around the globe, food lovers and cooks from around the block. Situated in Portland’s East End next door to Hugo’s (chef Rob Evans won the 2009 James Beard award for Best Chef Northeast) and within walking distance of half a dozen other great restaurants, including Bresca, Duckfat and Fore Street, the store, in several short years, has become the go-to place for New England’s foodies. Hosting author readings, art exhibits, film showings/dinners and  Slow Food meetings, the shop is a jointly owned by Samantha Hoyt Lindgren, a former photo editor and pastry chef, and her husband Don, an antiquarian book dealer. I met with Don at Hugo’s – we thought it would be quieter there than in the store – to talk food and books…listen for the names of titles you might want to start collecting here:

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Direct download: Don_Lindgren__Rabelais_801219_01.mp3
Category:Booksellers -- posted at: 3:19pm EDT

After working his way up through the publishing trade during the 1950s and 1960s, Tom Doherty became publisher of Tempo Books in 1972 and later Ace Books. In 1980 he established his own publishing firm Tom Doherty Associates Inc., with the help of several investors including silent partner Richard Gallen (of Dell Emerald Books fame), and with it the Tor Books imprint.

Early Tor titles included Norton’s Forerunner; Fred Saberhagen’s Water of Thought; Poul Anderson’s Winners, Starship, Explorations and Guardians of Time; Keith Laumer’s The Breaking Earth, Beyond the Imperium, and The House in November; Harry Harrison’s Planet of No Return and Planet of the Damned; Roger Zelazny and Fred Saberhagen’s Coils; and Steve Barnes and Larry Niven’s Belial

Honours during the early/mid eighties included The Prometheus Award for The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith (1982) and the Nebula Award for Best Novel for Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (1985).

 In 1986 Doherty sold his company to St. Martin’s Press and TDA/Tor Books became a division of the larger company. Over time the portion of non-SF "mainstream" titles at Tor grew, to a point where,  by 1993, they made up more than half the list. As a result a new imprint, Forge Books, was established in order to better market these titles.

Tom does a much better job of charting the history of his career and these companies than I have here. Listen and learn how and why he has enjoyed such success; you can just tell how much fun he’s had in the business.

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Direct download: Tom_Doherty_801120_01.mp3
Category:Book Publishers -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

David Hartwell has worked as a Science Fiction and Fantasy editor for Signet, Berkley Putnam, Pocket (where he founded the Timescape imprint and created the Pocket Books Star Trek publishing line), and Tor (where he headed Tor’s Canadian publishing initiative, and introduced many Australian writers to the US market). Since 1995, his title at Tor/Forge Books has been "Senior Editor." He chairs the board of directors of the World Fantasy Convention and is an administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative medieval literature and lives in Pleasantville, New York with his wife Kathryn Cramer and their two children

Each year, with Cramer, he edits two anthologies, Year’s Best SF and Year’s Best Fantasy. Both anthologies have consistently placed in the top 10 of the Locus annual reader poll. In 1988, Hartwell won the World Fantasy Award in the category Best Anthology for The Dark Descent. He has been nominated for Hugo Awards on numerous occasions, and won in 2006, 2008 and 2009.  Hartwell has also edited four best-novel Nebula Award-winners. 

I interviewed Hartwell and Cramer recently at their home/bookstore in upstate New York. We talk about the differences between SF editors and their more general literary kin.

Direct download: Hartwells_SF_editors.mp3
Category:Science Fiction -- posted at: 6:12pm EDT

Roderick ‘Rocky’ Stinehour is a very pleasant, accomplished gentleman from Vermont. He’s also recognized internationally as a printer of high repute and a designer of beautiful, scholarly books. His career spans over much change in printing technology and the way in which books are produced and distributed. In 1950, after graduating from Dartmouth College, he, along with his wife and brother, established The Stinehour Press in the village of Lunenburg, Vermont.

From modest beginnings the Press flourished thanks to persistence, vision, and the ability to attract skilled passionate co-workers; due to the quality of its books, the company will long be remembered as one of America’s finest scholarly publishers. 

I visited Rocky in the ‘Northeast Kingdom’ recently. Listen here to our conversation

Direct download: Rocky_Stinehour_801116_01.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 2:15pm EDT

Claire Van Vliet is the owner of the Janus Press founded in 1955 located, since 1966, in Newark, Vermont. Janus Press has to date produced approximately 100 publications — books, pamphlets, and broadsides- , many of them designed, illustrated, type-set, printed (sometimes on paper made by the artist), and bound by Van Vliet herself  in a well-equipped studio, printshop, bindery of her own design.

Born in Ottawa, Canada, she has lived in the United States since 1947. After graduating with an MFA degree from Claremont Graduate School (1954), Van Vliet traveled in Europe, apprenticing herself for a time as a hand typesetter. During these travels she taught herself etching while working as a craft instructor at the United States European Headquarters in Germany.  For the remainder of the ’50s and early 1960s she taught printmaking, typography and drawing at the Philadelphia Museum School (now The University of the Arts) and worked as a type compositor for John Anderson, first at The Lanston Monotype Company in Philadelphia, and then at his own Pickering Press in New Jersey. In 1965 to ‘66 she was hired by the Art Department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a Visiting Lecturer in Printmaking.

Primarily a publisher of first edition poetry (including the work of Seamus Heaney), Van Vliet pioneered the use of colored paper pulps for book illustration, and more recently has developed a variety of distinctive non-adhesive book structures. Museums that collect Van Vliet’s  work include The National Gallery in Washington, DC; the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute. In addition to her many honors, in 1993 the University of the Arts in Philadelphia named Van Vliet an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. We met in her studio recently to talk about artist books and a long, outstanding career. Please listen here:

Direct download: the_janus_press_801115_02.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 7:38am EDT