I can’t remember not being able to read. Reading is my comfort, pleasure, hobby and addiction. Reading makes me think, laugh, cry and gives me a powerful sense of being connected to the world.
I have written a memoir called The Last Act of Love about the life and death of my brother. It will be published in July 2015 by Picador. Press release here.
Working in books…
I am the Project Director of book industry charity Quick Reads. I am particularly pleased to be doing this because my Dad used to struggle with reading and is now a massive reader so I have first hand experience of both the causes and effects of low literacy and also the huge pleasure that becoming a reader can bring. This is the speech I made at our launch event in February 2014, and this is a clip of me and my Dad on BBC Breakfast News.
The Bookseller and other journalism
I am Associate Editor at The Bookseller and We Love This Book. This is me on the opening of The Library of Birmingham and on reading William Boyd’s Bond novel in The Dorchester. Here I am on Channel Five News, on Front Row and in the Guardian about Noel Gallagher. I write regular features on books and authors for Metro newspaper, do a book club with Nikki Bedi on her BBC Radio London show and write a monthly books column for Prima.
Other interesting things…
I’ve chaired the Booksellers’ Association conference for the last two years which I love as I am very fond of bookshops and the people who work in them. I went to Korea for the British Council, which was an amazing experience and regularly talk to groups of visitors to the UK on literacy, literature and the UK book industry.
What I did before
Before this I worked for Waterstones for 1o years. I started as a Christmas temp at Harrods, then worked in six other shops including Hatchards before moving to a head office role as Publisher Relationship Manager.
My favourite book/author
I cannot cope with this question. It’s an ever-changing list. I might be able to narrow it down to twenty but never just one.
When I’m not reading….
I have a very lovely and boisterous five-year-old boy. I like chatting, drinking, eating and am often to be found propping up a bar, deep in conversation…
Quote of the moment:
As Linda says in The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford: ‘Life is sometimes sad and often dull, but there are currants in the cake…’