Writers and publishers have always needed readers, but is that enough any more? Does future success depend on building reader communities?
Our next New Space of Publishing Panel explores this question, with the help of:
Auriol Bishop & Alex Pheby, co‐directors of Greenwich Book Festival
As co-directors of Greenwich Book Festival, Auriol and Alex worked with fellow director Patricia Nicol to launch Greenwich Book Festival in May 2015, with the theme of discovery. Strands included history, politics and music (memoirs from Viv Albertine and Tracey Thorn), as well as fiction highlights, such as Jessie Burton, South London author of international bestseller The Miniaturist. The festival also featured a strong focus on childrens’ books, with workshops and other participatory events, and a showcase of new writing from the University of Greenwich’s creative writing students. In addition to their festival experience, Alex and Auriol bring their individual professional experiences to the topic of building reader communities. As Creative Director at Hodder & Stoughton, Auriol is responsible for creative strategy, consumer campaigns, positioning and packaging across Hodder’s publishing output. Alex is himself a novelist and a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich.
Meike has a background as a journalist, working for Reuters in London and Agence France Presse in Paris and is the author of three novels, Magda, Clara’s Daughter and Kauthar. Meike founded boutique publishing house Peirene Press in 2008, to bring contemporary, award winning European literature in translation to English language readers. Peirene Press specializes in novellas and short novels ‘that can be read in the same time it takes to watch a DVD’ and offers its readers an annual subscription option, as well as individual titles for sale. Peirene Press also produces a newspaper and hosts regular events, including literary salons and coffee mornings. Meike will be sharing her particular approach to building the writer-reader and publisher-reader relationship.
Alexis Kennedy, CEO of interactive fiction studio Failbetter Games
Alexis Kennedy is creative director of Failbetter Games, best known for their interactive fiction game Fallen London, which has a large and loyal community. The expansive community and world of Fallen London provided a strong foundation from which to launch the videogame Sunless Sea and was key to its critical and commercial success. Alexis will discuss the relationship between story and community and how it is essential to Failbetter Games’ business model.
Kate Russell, tech reporter and author of sci-fi novel ‘Elite: Mostly Harmless’.
Kate is currently writing her second book with her online community, enabled by TWITCH streaming and linking to the Elite: Dangerous games platform (the fourth release of the original Elite video game, which was a British video game phenomenon in the 1980s). Kate’s knowledge of how to build a community and work with social media is encapsulated in her book Working the Cloud. She will be bringing these insights to the panel via a specially commissioned video.
Our panel will be discussing questions such as what distinguishes a community from an audience? and why might writers and publishers need to build such communities? We will also consider the implications for the writer‐reader and publisher‐reader relationship
Join us to explore these and other questions on the 2nd of March. The evening will begin with welcome drinks at 6pm in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery Project Space which is based within the Stockwell Street Building. The panel will follow at 6.30pm.
The Stockwell Street Building is located at 10 Stockwell Street, Greenwich, London, SE10 9BD
Video of this panel event is available here