Reading Week Round-Up

By Helena McNish, on 13 February 2017

Happy Half-Term/Reading Week (however you choose to see it) everyone! This also serves as a casual reminder not to come into school this week 😉 But, as ever, the Publishing world is still out there and we still have news (not fake, we promise) to share…

Course Updates

Dissertation Proposals are due on Friday 24th February (i.e. Friday of next week). Make sure to email your personal tutors with any questions or concerns!

Course News

The UCL Publishers’ Prize has closed their submissions box and is preparing for the judges! Thank you from the team to everyone who has submitted – more news should be coming soon, so keep an eye on their Facebook, twitter, and website! (As well as this, ebook versions of the past prizes will soon be available at your favourite online retailers! All proceeds support the prize, both present and future)

Other than that, it’s reading week! Go have fun!

Industry News

The Faber and Faber CEO has opened up about his opinions on the house’s success following their win of independent publisher of the year

So you might have seen that J. K. Rowling and Piers Morgan were locked in a twitter battle over the last few days – and now the Big Green Bookshop in North London has decided to give Piers Morgan the chance to read the entirety of The Philosopher’s Stone… through tweets. Need a crash course in how to be a tweeting activist and one of the most popular authors on earth? Follow @jk_rowling (we love her)

Thoughts about translation from the Jaipur Book Festival

Need some thoughts about writers to watch in Spring 2017 for any essay/research/interest purposes? Publishers Weekly have some ideas

The CWA Short Story competition is open for submissions here. They’re looking for crime and mystery (ooer)

In a similar vein, cat-burglars have abseiled into a warehouse full of rare books and made off with £2m worth of tomes – reported the Guardian

Lots more fun news on BookBrunch!

Buzzfeed Listicle Fix

Thoughts about Viet Thanh Nguyen’s book The Refugees and its application to 2017 America

Fifty Shades Darker (the film version) is out – and it’s insane

Which unimportant Harry Potter character are you?

Want to win books/get them discounted?



That’s it from us this week! As ever, please let us know if you have anything you want us to write about, any news to share, or any comments!


Helena and Emily

The Wellcome Library: A Place to Reignite Your Curiosity, by Emily Martin

By Helena McNish, on 1 February 2017


Editor’s Note: This is the second in our series on our Wellcome Library visit, providing a different perspective on the room and coming commended by our blog post judge, Anna Faherty. 

While the Wellcome Collection may be best known for its fascinating exhibits, it’s also home to a unique Reading Room, the Wellcome Library, and Blackwell’s Bookstore. These spaces are special because they are all designed around the idea that removing the traditional divisions between disciplines opens up opportunities for creative discovery.

After browsing the exhibits, be sure to step into the Wellcome Reading Room. It’s the library you’d build for yourself if you were an eccentric millionaire. Instead of stiff rows of wooden tables decked in green lamps, the first thing you’ll see as you walk in are intriguing art and artefacts, such as the 1920’s dental station and the medical paintings on the wall.

A closer look at the bookshelves reveals another surprise: the books are not arranged alphabetically or by subject. Instead, each bookcase has a theme. A bookcase might have, in no particular order, a book on infectious diseases, books on the history of witchcraft, a travel journal, and novels such as The Wizard of Oz. This arrangement means there’s always something new to discover, and it’s up to you to think about how that book sheds a new light on the theme.

Once you’ve found your book, the room invites you to make yourself at home in any of its cosy corners. Perhaps you’ll write some notes at the vanity, cosy up for a nap in a beanbag on the stairs, or settle into a comfy armchair.

If the Reading Room doesn’t have what you’re looking for, or the photocopies of rare books found scattered around the room pique your interest, you can join the adjoining Library for free to gain access to the rest of the collection. The Library is the ultimate physical manifestation of the Wellcome Trust’s commitment to the interdisciplinary study of health. In the library you’ll continue to find books on everything from cutting edge research on neurochemistry to texts on botany and the occult. Venture deep in the stacks you’ll find one of the first modern-style cookbooks, medieval manuscripts, a beautifully illustrated manuscript by Carl Jung, and many more rare and wonderful pieces.

Finally, on your way out, stop by the Bookstore. Just past the canteen you’ll discover shelves piled high with office essentials: tentacle pens, giant eyeball beach balls, and finger puppets shaped like small hands. You’ll look up to see walls covered in books, postcards, and art. As you might have come to expect from the eclectic mix of titles in the Reading Room and Library, you’ll likely discover something you didn’t know you wanted, perhaps an illustrated book on birds, or a daring new novel exploring the current issues.

The Wellcome Trust provides a penicillin for apathy and an antidote to boredom: a visit to the Wellcome will give you food for thought and send you back out into the world feeling curious and inspired, ready to consider new perspectives and think creatively.

Round-Up Time!

By Helena McNish, on 31 January 2017

Happy last day of January, all! The time seems to have flown, and we are rapidly approaching reading week here at UCL Publishing – so, here is your weekly fix of Course and Publishing news, as well as a few other fun things…

Course Events

Dissertation Boot Camp is taking place Monday 13th February – the morning is compulsory and the afternoon is optional. Remember to bring along ideas for potential dissertation topics to discuss!

A History of Libraries seminar is taking place Tuesday 7th February at 5.30pm at the Warburg Institute. Jill Dye from the University of Stirling will be speaking on ‘The Library in the Middle of Nowhere: Innerpeffray Library, its Foundation, Collection, and Early Borrowers’.

Course News

As ever, the UCL Publishers’ Prize is still accepting both non-fiction and fiction submissions on the theme of METAMORPHOSIS. The deadline is approaching fast (7th February!), and there are prizes and guest judges, as well as a big launch event in June, so there’s plenty of reasons to submit (alongside the many metamorphoses our world is currently going through – what a thing to write about!) See the website here for more information, and be sure to check out their twitter and facebook!

Also, as always, with the most recent series of courseworks behind us, remember that the course reps, Jess and Lauren, are ready to take feedback to their next departmental meeting. Give them a bell with any thoughts/problems/suggestions!

Publishing News

Amazon is funding a legal challenge to President Trump’s controversial travel ban, with Jeff Bezos directly opposing it in an email to his employees – and other publishing companies are following suit, providing monetary support to their international staff

The Voice of Alexa – what might voice-searching mean for publishers?

Academic Book Week was going on all last week, with plenty of interesting events and discussions: see the website here to reminisce! One interesting wrapped-up debate was the title that most shaped modern Britain, won by John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, History, and Money. In a similar vein, our friends over at Edinburgh Napier hosted some great posts about AcBookWeek on their blog, particularly this one, written by Sarah Barnard!

The February 2017 cover design round up (drool!)

The Wellcome Book Prize longlist has been announced!

Industry Events

Harry Potter Book Nights will be taking place at Waterstones around London, celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of The Philosopher’s Stone, between the 2nd and 5th February

Indie bookshop Libreria will be holding a literary-themed drinks on the 29th March

Bookshop Crawl? Yes please!

Buzzfeed Listicle Fix 

What didn’t you know about your favourite childhood books?


Important novels about Muslim Life, perhaps pertinent for today’s politics

Tear up with some six-word stories

Want to win books this week?

Here (keep an eye out for Books on the Underground today!)



That’s it from us this week! As ever, do let us know if you have any content you’re interested in getting up on here, any guest posts you want to write, or any comments/suggestions! We’ll be hosting our next Wellcome Collection feature tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!


Helena and Emily

The Wellcome Library, by Sara Zo

By Helena McNish, on 26 January 2017

Editor’s Note: In our first week of the Publishing MA, we visited the Wellcome Library in the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road, to explore their curated collection with the guidance of Anna Faherty, the course leader for the MA in Publishing at Kingston University. Members of our course wrote blog posts contemplating the experience, and Anna chose this, written by Sara Zo, as the winner.

‘We shall never reach the bottom of the casket.’

Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty had a passion for collecting miniaturised versions of just about everything he encountered: antiques, landscapes, animals, poetry, art work. He curated these objects by commissioning curio boxes, spaces which not only acted as a means of storage, but were also truly exquisite pieces of art in the way they were intricately designed to reveal the curios hidden inside.

Like Emperor Qianlong, the founder of the Wellcome Trust, Sir Henry Wellcome also had an insatiable appetite for acquiring objects. His collection contains a wide array of items relating to the strange meeting point between medicine, art and culture. And like the curio boxes which surpassed functional requirements, theWellcome Collection has become ‘a free destination for the incurably curious’ in housing Sir Henry Wellcome’s curios.

When we think of interior spaces like the bookshop, the library and reading spaces, we tend to only focus on them as locked spaces in how well the design fulfils the practical requirements of us as readers and purchasers of books. Where is the till? Will the books be sorted by author in alphabetical order?

Where are the available seating areas?

However, the interior spaces we enjoy the most are always designed with more in mind, simultaneously opening our mind, and none do this as well in this as the Wellcome Collection. Here, the Wellcome Shop, the Wellcome Library and the Reading Room become intimate spaces that consist of artwork, books and objects; all collectively encouraging us to ‘LOOK. TOUCH. READ. COLLECT. TALK. SHARE.’

The Reading Room especially is an area where boundaries between environment and inhabitant have been skilfully redefined because of the six words above: visitors can cease to be passive spectators and go on to interact with the cultural space given. As well as art, there are medical instruments and artefacts on display for visitors to consider. Books have bookmarks with messages from the previous reader, and plenty more bookmarks around with the explicit Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-esque instruction: ‘LEAVE IN A BOOK/SHARE COMMENT’. Children are not left out; there are books, games and activities for them too. Many copies of Reading Room Companion (an encyclopaedia of items within the space) are also left across tables, chairs, and even on beanbags piled up on the stairs. Comfortable zones for reading and talking.

There is no Dewey Decimal system imposed on the curious visitor fingering through the volumes contained here. Books are categorised by broad themes: alchemy, travel, body, breath, face, pain, mind, faith and lives. Each section contains a diverse collection of books related to the themes, open to interpretation and wonder. For instance, in Breath, someone can find a non-fiction book about smoking next to a novel about a sea voyage.Within the Face area, there is a vanity table where a person is free to possibly either examine their face in the mirror or use the table to carry out work.

Though the room is a finite space, it has been well curated to ensure there is a limitless dimension to the curiosity it inspires.

Having achieved valorization of the contents by valorization of the container, Jean-Pierre Richard makes the following penetrating comment: “We shall never reach the bottom of the casket.” The infinite quality of the intimate dimension could not be better expressed.

The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard

Weekly Round-up: Week of 23rd January

By Emily E E Brodowicz, on 24 January 2017

Happy third week of term! Our second term is officially in full swing. Below you will find news, events, and plenty of stuff to distract yourself from this week’s test with!

Course Events

  • Not strictly course related: For all the Potterheads out there, UCLU Give it a Go is organizing a trip to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio. The tour isn’t until 25th February, but tickets go on sale Wednesday 25th January. Grab them fast!

Course News

  • As mentioned above, we have our Publishing Entrepreneurship test on Wednesday 25 January. Don’t forget to get to the Anatomy Building room G29 J Z Young LT by 1:45. After the test, we are officially done with term one!
  • UCL Publishers’ Prize
    Only one week left for UCL Publishers’ Prize submissions! They are accepting all forms of writing to the theme METAMORPHOSIS.
    Find them and more information here

Publishing News

  • The European Commission has pressured Amazon into dropping its Most Favored Nation clause. Amazon also disbanded an exclusive agreement with Apple to sell and supply audiobooks. Read all about it here.
  • Simon & Schuster US is trying to reassure its authors and customers that it does not support hate speech following its $250,000 book deal with Milo Yiannopoulos. Many bookstores, authors, and readers are calling for a boycott of S&S while others, including English PEN, are arguing for Yiannopoulos’ right to free expression. Whichever side of the debate you are on, it is a fascinating freedom of speech case study. Read about it here and here and here.

Industry Events

  • The Charles Holden Lecture will take place on 2nd February at 6 pm.
    “In this year’s Charles Holden Lecture, Professor Simon Eliot will explore Senate House and the work of the MOI, starting with a discussion of Holden’s early work for the London Underground, which combined new typography and new mapping with architecture.”
    Find more information here
  • The Stationers are holding a debate on press freedom on 13th February. Find tickets and more information here.
  • The Byte the Book event: Publishing for Consumers: How Can We Use Data to Maximise Sales? is coming up on 30th January. Non-member tickets are £20, but it sounds like a great networking opportunity for those who can go!

Bookophile Stuff

That’s it from us this week! Let us know if you have any suggestions, questions or if you want to submit a blog post!


Helena and Emily