Jun 17, 2006
Jamie Byng is Publisher at Canongate Books, an independent publishing firm based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Thanks in part to his tireless efforts, and the huge success of its Booker-winning novel Life Of Pi, Canongate won Publisher Of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2003. It won again in 2009. Jamie is also the originator, and (was) first Chair of World Book Night.
In 2005 he launched the first in a series of Canongate novellas that feature ancient myths from various cultures reimagined and rewritten. Though the initial titles received mixed reviews, the series was branded by many as "bold" and "ambitious."
I met with Jamie at Book Expo 2006 in Washington D.C. We talk here about, among other things, this myth series and his appreciation of mythology; the bible underlying creative imagination and the Western Canon and his skill presenting and capitalizing on the concept; ambiguity; the responsibility we parents have to make the lives of our children interesting, at least; Joseph Campbell; Margaret Atwood; and living without fear.