Agents, authors and retailers joined Pan Macmillan at a party last night (22nd July) to celebrate the company’s Publisher of the Year win earlier this year.
The party, held at RIBA in central London, was also attended by many of Pan Macmillan’s employees.
All authors published by the company in 2014 were invited, with attendees including Lord Jeffrey Archer and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.
Guests including author Jessie Burton (second left), actor Pip Carter and literary agent Juliet Mushens, enjoy the party
Pan Macmillan won Publisher of the Year at the Bookseller Industry Awards for a “standout” year in 2014.
In his speech at last night’s party, Pan Macmillan m.d. Anthony Forbes Watson [pictured] said: “It’s really exciting to see so many of you are here to celebrate it with us.
Effectively almost every person who works at Pan Macmillan is here tonight, and they are here because they want to thank you individually – author, booksellers, agents and general pundits in our industry – for everything that you did to play your part in getting us to filch the prize.”
Using a quote by Martin Amis – “it is the summit of idleness to deplore the present, to deplore actuality” – to argue that the book was not in danger, Forbes Watson said: “Pretty much everyday some bookish wiseacre opines about the latest existential threat to the book and it just seems to, a bit like the clouds tonight, it hangs over our industry and somehow if the book isn’t dead, it should be, and if it isn’t yet, it soon will be,” he said. “But the actuality is that probably today, almost certainly today, more books were read in this country than were read yesterday, and fewer books were read today than will be read tomorrow.
“And the trend is completely unmistakable, and the fundamentals of our industry are wonderful. Children’s publishing is exploding and everybody is reading books.
“The very slight snag we have is that the booksellers and the publishers, we’re in the middle of this love affair… and it falls to us how to make sense of it. That’s quite tricky, but it’s what we were put on earth to do.”
Forbes Watson also said Pan Macmillan’s attitude “is that every author has their own strategy and their own plan”.
“We just have to work out with them what it is and then we have to work out how to make it happen,” he continued. “And the same is true with our illustrators, and the same is true with our bookselling customers. No two people are the same.
“And it is idle to treat people as if they were some sort of generic block. And I hope that everybody at Pan Macmillan feels that they are not treated as a generic block because it’s our aim and commitment to be unidle enough to see what is distinctive about everybody we work with and try and find personal routes through to whatever it is we have a shared objective to reach.
“And it is a bit knackering, and it is complicated, but it is the only way to do justice to the books we advocate and champion and the readers who are reading more books every day. So we are really quite jolly about the prospect.”