The Book: A Talk at the British Library on Monday 3rd July

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving a talk about books and book history at the British Library’s Knowledge Centre, 96 Euston Road, London, at 7pm on Monday 3rd July. The talk will be about an hour long and there will be plenty of time to ask questions if you so desire. (The bar will be open later, too, until 10pm — I’ll be needing a stiff drink afterwards, I’m sure!)

Advance tickets go on sale this Thursday, the 1st of June, and on general release a week later, on the 8th of June. Learn more about the event and get ready to order you tickets here!

The photograph featured above was taken at the British Library by Steve Cadman.

Książka: The Book is now available in Polish

I’m pleased to say that the first translated edition of The Book is now available: Książka* is published in Poland by Karakter and is available there in all good bookshops. Paweł Lipszyc was the translator.

Cover of "Książka", published by
Cover of of Książka, the Polish edition of The Book, published by (Image courtesy of Piotr Wawrzeńczyk of book/lab.)

If you’d like to learn more about The Book (or rather Książka), you can read my interview on the occasion of its publication with Zofia Zaleska of Dwutygodnik. Alternatively, you can take a look at Juliusz Kurkiewicz’s review for Gazeta Wyborcza or Jakub Nowak’s review for his blog Qbuś pożera książki — which translates, aptly, as “Qbus devours books”.

Thank you to everyone involved in making the Polish edition happen: Laurie Abkemeier and others at DeFiore and Company; Karakter and book/lab in Poland. I think it looks great, and, if you happen to buy a copy, I hope you enjoy it!

Props to Sindre Bremnes of Monokrom type foundry, whose Satyr and Faunus typefaces deal so well with all the accented Polish letters here. You can read more about them here↩︎

St Bride competition: the winners!

Congratulations to Scott Pack and Ryan Pullen (@rpullen86), winners of the St Bride ticket giveaway! Their names were picked at random from the set of all entrants who replied to or retweeted the original posts about the competition.* Thank you all for entering!

In more detail: I arranged the names of all entrants in a text file, then used to pick two numbers between 1 and the total number of lines in that file. ↩︎

Win tickets to “The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration” at the St Bride Foundation, London

It’s almost here! As I mentioned before, I’ll be giving a talk at the St Bride Foundation in London on the 23rd of March — just a couple of weeks away now. I’ll be talking about the overlapping histories of writing, printing and books, and signing some books of my own afterwards. Tickets are on sale at £12.50 (£8).

But. But! If you’d like the chance to attend for free, courtesy of the St Bride Foundation, I’m giving away two complimentary tickets to the event. To enter, just do one of the following:

  • leave a comment on this post, making sure to supply a valid email address so that I can contact you in the event that you win, or
  • reply to or retweet the tweet announcing this contest, making sure to follow @shadychars so that I can send you a direct message if you win. (Please don’t create multiple accounts or repeatedly reply to the message — Twitter may ban you as a result. One entry is fine!)

This contest will close at noon GMT on Sunday 19th March 2017, so make sure you enter before then. After that I’ll pick two winners from the list of all unique entrants and make sure their names are on the guest list for the event. (Of course, please enter only if you can make it to London in time for the event.)

Good luck!

The image featured above is Q450.5, “A Noble Fragment being a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, 1450-1455, verso and recto”, courtesy of Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library.

Shady Characters at Adelaide Writers’ Week!

I’m happy to announce that I’m going to be taking part in Adelaide Writers’ Week 2017, running from Saturday 4th March to Thursday 9th March.

First, on Monday 6th March I’ll be appearing with Alberto Manguel in “Books & Reading” to discuss writing, reading, and the intersection of the two in the form of the book. Here’s how the festival programme describes it:

There are few things more enjoyable than reading books about books and reading. This session brings together one of the great writers about reading, Alberto Manguel, with one of the great writers about book history, Keith Houston. It will be a celebration of the object that perhaps most defines our lives and can define the way we live, as both an object and an idea.


Then, on Tuesday 7th March, I’ll be chatting with Michael Williams about The Book. We have a full hour to luxuriate in book history, and it promises to be a lot of fun. You can learn more about both events and book tickets at the festival’s website.

It’ll be my first time in Australia for a good number of years (and my first visit to Adelaide itself), and I am very much looking forward to it. Moreover, I’ll be in and around the Adelaide Festival all week — if any Shady Characters readers are planning to be in or near the festival, do drop me a line via the Contact page or Twitter if you’d like to meet up!

As a bonus, an interview I did with Kara Miller of WGBH’s Innovation Hub last year has just been posted online. It was fun to record — it covers some of the same ground I expect to be talking about in Adelaide, and has insight and wit aplenty from Kara herself. Listen to it here!