Becky Harrison is the Engagement Manager at Comma Press, where she manages their marketing and publicity, and their programme of writer development events and courses. She also coordinates the Northern Fiction Alliance, a collective of independent presses, and their international showcasing project which will culminate with a stand at London Book Fair 2018. She is the co-editor of Conradology: A Celebration of the Work of Joseph Conrad, and the upcoming Mirror in the Mirror anthology of new writers.
What was the last book you read
Blindness by Jose Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero – it completely blew me away. The shifting between tenses, minimal punctuation and lack of structured dialogue leave you groping the air to make sense of who’s who, and where, and really connects you to the narrative. I couldn’t put it down, and feel a bit lost since finishing it.
How did you buy it?
I didn’t. My friend gave it to me as he knew I’d love it. I then lost it, and got a copy from the library so I could finish it. Now found, it’s been leant onwards to another friend. Such is the beautiful chain of books.
What’s next on your reading list?
Attrib. by Eley Williams. I can barely go five minutes without hearing how amazing it is, so really need to catch up!
What is the one thing about your company that we need to know?
That we love short stories! Promoting short form writing is at the heart of everything we do, and we think that no other form of writing has as much power and potential to transcend cultural, disciplinary, and genre boundaries.
What do you like about your job?
As coordinator of the Northern Fiction Alliance I get to work alongside a number of publishers that I admire, and contribute to the promotion of the north of England as a region full of risk-taking and noteworthy presses both to industry and readers in the UK and abroad. Having lived in the north for the last 6 years, and being from the midlands myself, it’s exciting to be able to represent where I call home in such a way.
How does social media aid the publishing industry?
As a small indie with a fairly niche output, we rely heavily on social media to connect to readers across the world and get the word out about our books. Particularly with translation and genre titles, online communities are extremely vocal and supportive of our work, and we really like the direct connection that we can have with our readers in this regard.
When was your first London Book Fair?
2017! Such a baby. But I’ve been lucky enough to visit a whole host of other book fairs besides London in the last year and a bit, and I’m looking forward to applying that knowledge and experience this year.
What do you love about The London Book Fair?
The effervescent atmosphere of having your entire industry in one, ridiculously huge space. And the free wine.
What is the one essential item you bring to the Fair?
The Northern Fiction Alliance had our first stand at Frankfurt last year, and the most important thing I brought was definitely a gang socket.
What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?
Be confident, enjoy it, absorb everything.
Meet the team behind the Northern Fiction Alliance at The London Book Fair 2018, Stand 6G15.