Books are everything

Hi – this is Thalia Proctor, signing in from London as guest blogger for today.

I’m rather daunted, looking at previous posts, by being asked to do this; not being an author or reviewer but mostly being known in our friendly world of crime fiction, as Mark B championed in his guest spot, for working in all the crime bookshops of London and now doing editorial stuff at Orion. Sarah says I should write about myself, though. So my news is that I’m going to become Editor at Little, Brown UK in October, in posh job move. The publishing world really is about Who You Know and I do have the crime fiction world to thank for this. I’m been incredibly lucky to make a lot of varied contacts. Through the bookshops, I got to know authors and reps, and of course other booksellers; through my foray into literary scouting at Van Lear Limited, to find out about agents; and now in publishing that all ties together beautifully. It’s hugely interesting to see things from either end of a book’s life. I miss the aesthetic satisfaction of rows of books and the challenge of recommending to crime fans but now, being able to shape the phrasing on book jackets, to have the heady power of deciding where commas should go in the text and liaising with an author about an odd character trait makes me feel on top of the world. (I’m easily pleased.) Mostly I have my marvellous friend Wayne Brookes from HarperCollins UK

to thank, for pushing me towards copyediting, recommending me to Orion,

and starting the whole ball rolling. I’ve loved it at Orion – everyone has been great and I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I’ll be very sad to leave but I couldn’t resist the offer to work on the crime list at Little,Brown with David Shelley and get back to being critical with people’s manuscripts.

Wow, this is getting to be an Oscar speech. Enough about me – oh, except for this. 

So now I’ll give you some award news. The CWA have been in the press enough recently with all the award changes…and the Short Story Dagger has been one of the casualties, having been ripped from the main body of awards to form its own thing. Our friends Ayo Onatade and Ali Karim are the judges along with the marvellous Peter Lovesey as the Chair. Thought you might like to see who’s on it:

Robert Barnard for Sins of Scarlet from I.D Crimes of Identity (Comma Press)
The ultimate in locked-room murders, set in the Sistine Chapel during the election of a Pope.

Ken Bruen for Loaded from London Noir (Serpent’s Tail)
Brixton noir, tough as they come, strong, finely crafted and convincing.

PD James for The Part-Time Job from The Detection Collection (Orion)
The account of an original form of revenge, with revelation after revelation.

Stuart Pawson for Les’s Story from I.D. Crimes of Identity (Comma Press)
Perfectly fitting the I.D. theme, this story told by a tearaway kid is compelling, moving and surprising.

Martyn Waites for Love from London Noir (Serpent’s Tail)
The voice of a skinhead tells powerfully and ironically of racial conflict and self-discovery.

The winner will be announced at the Off the Shelf Festival in Sheffield on October 18.

Best to all