Frankfurt Book Fair – Interview – Kirsty Wilson


I hope you had a good start into December. Did you already buy all your Christmas presents? Well, I didn’t. Two chaotic months lie behind me. But I’m slowly getting in the mood for Christmas. I just love it! As promised, today I present you the first of the two interviews I did at Frankfurt Book Fair.

Kirsty Wilson works at Canongate and as I had difficulties making an appointment prior to the fair, I just walked up to the booth and Kirsty was so kind as to spontaneously squeeze our interview between two meetings. We had five minutes, so don’t be surprised, if there are sudden topic changes 😀 Also, I was nervous. This was my very first interview ever.

Canongate Booth at Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

So here you go ladies and gentlemen. Let’s find out more about what Kirsty Wilson’s job is like, what she did at Frankfurt Book Fair and what books she enjoys.

ATM (All That Magic): What’s your job at Canongate?
KW (Kirsty Wilson): I’m rights executive there.

ATM: And what do you do as a rights executive?
KW: I sell translation rights in our titles to countries where we use a subagent in Eastern and Central Europe, Turkey, Russia and Asia. And I also sell directly to Greece and Israel and handle audio and large print rights.

ATM: Oh that’s interesting.
KW: Yeah it really is, and lots of fun too. And then as well as, you know, the selling, I draft contracts for deals that we do and I make sure publishers send us artwork so the author can approve them and make sure they get manuscripts, reviews and everything they need to publish.

ATM: Okay, and you have lots of work to do at this fair I guess?
KW: Yeah, Frankfurt is like the biggest book fair of the year and it’s really important for us and we have meetings all day, usually from 9 ’til 6. It’s very busy but it’s really important for us to meet publishers from around the world. We discuss our titles with international editors and also discuss what they’re looking to buy and what they’re publishing lately, which really helps you get an idea of each particular market.

ATM: So you meet people who you normally only talk to via e-mail or phone?
KW: Yeah, usually and it’s so good to put a face to the name. ‘Cause e-mail can be quite impersonal sometimes. And also we meet a lot of publishers we don’t work with and introduce ourselves and find out about their lists and what kind of books they are looking for.

ATM: That sounds like you’re really busy here. So, what’s your favorite book so far this year?
KW: Uuh, You mean on our Canongate list, or just in general?

ATM: Any book.
KW: Um, I really loved Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

ATM: Me too, that’s my favorite.
KW: Isn’t it fantastic? I think she’s such a great writer. I really loved it.
I also read a really great crime novel by a Scottish writer called Malcolm Mackay. It’s called The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter and it’s really smart and fast-paced, really filmic in style.

ATM: And do you have any recommendations from Canongate?
KW: We just published a book called The Novel Cure which is amazing and we’ve produced a really beautiful edition, so it’s perfect for gift giving. The author’s recommend novels to any kind of ailments that you might have. So it can be something serious like feeling depressed to something light-hearted and funny. “What to do if you’re in love with a nun” is one of the ailments of the book. It’s great, it’s really enlightening and so good to read.

ATM: That book sounds fun! So thank you very much for your time!
KW: No problem!

Image provided by Canongate

The Novel Cure is on my letter to Santa. Oh yes it is!!

So what do you think?

Do you want to become a rights executive? Did you learn something new, or did you know all this already? I’d love to read about your thoughts.

And thanks again to Kirsty for taking the time to do this interview! I really enjoyed our chat.

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