Scott Pack, previously publisher at HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project, has joined indie Gallic Books to set up a new imprint named Aardvark Bureau.
Gallic publishes a small list of French works in translation, as well as running its own bookshop Belgravia Books. Aardvark Bureau will publish "innovative and unusual writing from around the world", in print and e-book formats, and will start on a schedule of one book a month, commencing in September. Pack is keeping details close to his chest at present, but said he already had most of his first year's list lined up, describing it as "an eclectic and exciting selection that it will be impossible to pigeonhole."
"Curating this list has been the most fun I have had as a publisher and I hope we can entertain and surprise people with our books," he said.
Some of the titles have come from The Friday Project's publishing, he revealed: "HarperCollins very kindly let me take authors and books with me. There's still a bit of paperwork to do but a few books are coming across. It was very gracious."
Aardvark will be "at heart a traditional publisher" and "not as experimental as The Friday Project in terms of print and 'e' - there were huge benefits to the experiments we did at HarperCollins, but they were not all successful," Pack noted. However he also said he intended Aardvark Bureau to encompass live events, online content, the championing of new writers and the short story in the media, limited collectors' editions, and with a membership club. "Gallic has Belgravia Books, a ready-made venue, so we are looking at what we can do with our authors and other authors to create a series of live events with a London base," he commented.
Pack denies his quirky choice of imprint name has been governed by the chance to come first alphabetically in publisher lists. "I'm a big fan of aardvarks, I think they are quite cool – and if you can call a publishing house 'Head of Zeus', you can call one anything."
Jane Aiken, m.d. of Gallic Books, said: "We have wanted to expand our publishing beyond French books for some time and we have worked on and off with Scott since we launched in 2000 so he was the ideal person to head up our new venture. We are delighted we managed to lure him away from HarperCollins."
Aardvark Bureau will be sold by Compass Independent Publishing Services and distributed by MDL. Pack can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org