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News & Features » April 2013 » Akashic on the Road: London Dispatch

Akashic on the Road: London Dispatch

Some highlights from the London International Book Fair, compiled in the Garden View Hotel on Nevern Square, overlooking a, well, a garden, after three full days of half-hour upon half-hour meetings culminating in two cocktail engagements with three amazing people who reminded us why we do what we do, even if what we do sometimes leads us to write a blog post from the London International Book Fair following three full days of half-hour upon half-hour meetings in which we spoke the same sentences but not always coherently (directly proportional to the amount of coffee we had consumed) to a wide and sometimes wild array of publishers and agents and colleagues and authors from France and from China and from Hungary and from Italy and from Brazil and Spain and Sweden and Mexico and Japan and Finland and Iceland who spoke the same sentences much more coherently to us as they undoubtedly had in half-hour upon half-hour meetings with publishers and agents and authors and scouts from America and from Portugal and from Germany and Canada and Serbia and Korea and Belgium and from our host country, in the UK, in Great Britain, in Southwest London, where every block has a garden, every garden a flower, every flower blooming, every bloom pollinating, every particle of pollen wafting through our open windows as we compose our Dispatch from London, lying, we have to say, on our backs, with our laptops, recovering from three full days of half-hour upon half-hour meetings that culminated with two amazing meetings with three spectacular people in two classically British pubs: Hannah and Jeremy from our new imprint partners at Peepal Tree (go to Bocas for more information) and our delightful new author Montague Kobbé (The Night of the Rambler).

Night to remember.

—Aaron & Johanna

Special thanks to Norbert (Lex Copyright, Hungary) for lending us a table, and to Alana (Coach House, Toronto) for lending us your ear.

Best Johnny Temple References:

“Johnny of the Second Temple.”
—Rebecca Servadio, literary scout for Koukla MacLehose Associates (UK)

“His bass is either way too big, or he’s very small.”
—Markus Naegele, Heyne (Germany), about seeing GVSB in 1991

“Johnny’s not here?”

Best Food:

We achieved Gold Card status at the Delhi Brasserie in Soho. Kicking Saag Paneer.

Best Drink:

Consumed during the authoring of this Akashic Insider post. Brown.

Best Phrase:

“Where’s the mug with the whiskey in it?”

Best Bathroom:

At the rear of the IRC.

Best Setting for a Meeting:

6 p.m. on Tuesday: We met with Valentin from Univers Poche at a bar in the French Quarter and talked about Richard Brautigan and Prodigy over champagne as the day turned to night.

Best Coin:

The pound. Would that the US Dollar had such girth.

Worst Coin:

Every other coin, because we have no idea what they mean.

Best Accidental Meeting:

FILI and Icelandic Literature Center at Prince of Teck. Nordic Nightcap. Priceless.

Best Intentional Meeting:

The desk clerk at the Garden View Hotel, when we first arrived after an overnight flight and found that we could check in immediately.

Best Embrace:

One of us accidentally gave a Western hug to a European who had been attempting a Continental triple-kiss. Insecurities ensued. Another one of us attempted a European double-kiss but missed. To the center. Twice.

Worst Embrace:

In the bathroom at the rear of the IRC.


Before the Book Fair began, as we boarded the plane from JFK, we found ourselves seated behind Dennis and Valerie from Melville House. Never has there been a better start to a business trip.


While meeting with our effervescent Brazilian agents, Laura and JP, we were interrupted by Susan Raihofer, a David Black Agency representative, who wanted to have a quick chat with JP. Upon being introduced to us, she revealed that she had just been asked if she knew how to find Akashic Books. Susan had looked us up on her cell phone, and delighted in the coincidence of finding us with Laura and JP, presenting her bookmarked search as evidence. The inquirer turned out to be Jennifer Hoje, Spanish agent for Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys). Jennifer, we’re so sorry we missed you! Susan, come to our office in Gowanus.


Aaron: The Croatian Writer’s Society is where it’s at.

Johanna: But only because Aaron has never been to Finland. FILI-way or the highway.


We’ve benefited from the unforgettable experience of presenting our titles to our colleagues in the international publishing industry, and we’re constantly amazed by their commitment to discovering, recognizing, celebrating, and promoting authors around the world. But our thoughts have not left the finish line of the Boston Marathon, not for a minute. Every minute, all our thoughts, all of our love, all that we are, all that we have, we have with you.

Posted: Apr 18, 2013

Category: Akashic Insider | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,