Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Nicest Man in Publishing?

Not me. Actually, given the amount of hassling I've been doing this week, certainly not me. I am, instead, referring to the rather wonderful Alexander McCall Smith. I'm publishing a book in September called 'Whatever Happened to Tanganyika?', a charming and quirky book about old place names by first time author Harry Campbell. Harry and I discussed who we might send the book to for an advance quote. I tried Michael Palin -- his people politely declined, though given they replied about an entirely different book, I'm guessing he gets quite a few requests. Harry wrote to Alexander McCall Smith... who wrote straight back and asked to see a copy. He read it, loved it, offered to write a foreword, during which he very generously said, "In this marvellous and intriguing book, Harry Campbell has achieved something that most scholars would give anything to achieve. He has created a whole new discipline - one which we may perhaps call nostalgic geography". He even invited Harry to tea. What a top, top man.

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