It’s been a pretty booktastic month here at Four Colman Getty, with lots of new exciting publishing projects and not a few of ‘our’ books hitting the bestseller lists….
A regular August highlight for me is my annual visit to Edinburgh. For three weeks, the Athens of the North comes alive with the most extraordinary mix of international culture catering for every taste – from music, theatre, opera and dance to circus and stand-up comedy, much of it on the streets.
With just a few weeks to go before ‘the big decision’, the city was buzzier than ever this year as the ayes and the naes fought it out on every possible platform. You may not have a vote but if you’re interested in reading more about the forces that have unified Britain in the past (and could yet be responsible for driving it apart), you’ll find the distinguished historian Linda Colley’s Acts of Union and Disunion (Profile Books) invaluable.
I was in Edinburgh in part to celebrate last year’s Man Booker International Prize winner, Lydia Davis. Widely regarded as one of the greatest short story writers on the planet, Lydia had flown in from New York to discuss her new book of short fictions, Can’t and Won’t. Her reading, prefaced by a pyrotechnic introduction from Ali Smith, provoked some brilliant questions and observations from the audience in the packed marquee.
Val McDermid was every bit as much a draw at her talk to promote her new book, The Skeleton Road, due out on 11 September from Little, Brown. It’s a riveting read, partly set in Edinburgh and in the Balkans during the dreadful wars that tore the region apart in the 1990s.
Back in London the Four Colman Getty team was eagerly waiting the paperback publication of Be Careful What You Wish For, the fourth in Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles series, published by Pan Macmillan. Do read it if you haven’t already, it’s Pick of the Week in the Telegraph this week - the hardback spent four weeks at the top of the fiction bestseller lists and four months in the Top 10.
Still on the publishing front, but moving to breaking news non- fiction, we’ve been working for some months on the lead up to publication of Hack Attack (Chatto & Windus), the riveting and definitive account of the hacking trial by the award-winning investigative journalist, Nick Davies.
What started as a seemingly straightfoward crime story with the arrest in 2006 of a private investigator and a journalist from the News of the World has since turned out to be the account about the secret, powerful world of the elite and their discreet alliances.
Four Colman Getty hit the headlines too this month with the tale of the Bloxham Hotel, after it was revealed that the hotel is central to Sophie Hannah’s new book, The Monogram Murders, published next month by HarperCollins.
The hotel closed in the 1920s under suspicious circumstances shortly after the investigation of three murders. The murder case seemed to draw a lot of attention, in part no doubt because a certain world famous Belgian detective was integral to it being solved….
We worked closely with the in-house design and digital team at Four to create the entire campaign, starting with the launch of the website in June; coverage has since built to include features on Secret Escapes, Trivago and the Guardian books section. The Monogram Murders is the first ever Agatha Christie continuation novel. It shows Sophie Hannah at her chilling best and the launch will be celebrated at the annual Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay in a fortnight’s time.
One more book date for your diary is 9 September when the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize is announced. With five Americans in the running and Howard Jacobson longlisted once again, speculation is high as to what the judges will choose. Whatever the list, it’s bound to cause discussion and debate across the globe - no bad thing.
Moving on from books but again with an international focus this September sees Totally Thames, the month-long arts and cultural celebration of the River Thames. The action starts in earnest next week so watch out for any one of over 100 watery events across all 42 miles of the river.
Hampton Court Palace is a Totally Thames venue and we have of course worked with HCP on the RHS flower show this July. Orla Kiely and Emma Mawston, Head of Design at Liberty, decorated lettering on the show ground and were a terrific media magnet. Overall coverage and figures were stronger than ever this year as the UK celebrated one of the hottest summers in living memory.
While visitors to the RHS shows may have been enjoying their summer holiday time in the gardens, our campaigning team was issuing an ILM report showing that (perhaps unsurprisingly to some) the UK’s managers tend to miss out on summer holidays, with more than 40% failing to take their full time off. Needless to say the report generated an avalanche of coverage from sympathetic journalists chained to their desks….
So there’s been quite a lot happening in a traditionally quiet month and much more to come in September!
More from me then