On the home straight


It’s been an exciting week in the Year of Reading the World camp. That stack of paper you see in the picture above is the edit of the penultimate draft of my book, Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, which comes out in the UK next year, published by Harvill Secker/Random House. (It will hopefully be coming out in some other countries too – watch this space.)

On Monday, I had a meeting with one of my editors, Gemma Wain, and we talked through the changes still to be made. It was an extraordinary moment. After 18 months, three drafts and quite a lot of headscratching about how you conjure a book from a blog like this, I realised that the finished product was nearly there. And – better yet – we were both rather pleased with it.

That’s not to say there isn’t still work to do. Those little red marks are Gemma’s comments – and yes, there are around three of them on each and every one of this draft’s 263 pages. Still, for the first time, I have the feeling that the finishing line is in sight.

The team at Harvill Secker seem to agree. Apparently, they are keen to send proofs out to key readers and reviewers as soon as possible. So I suppose I better stop writing this blog and get started.

Now, let me see, should I keep or delete that comma in paragraph one…

32 responses

  1. Congratulations. Getting this far is an amazing accomplishment that many writers only dream of. Take the time to revel in your success!

  2. So exciting! Hang on in there for the final (seemingly never-ending but really final) stretch! Looking forward to seeing/reading/buying the book so keep us updated.

  3. Congratulations! That’s wonderful. I’ve really enjoyed following your blog and now I get to read the book. Enjoy the next few months. There’s a lot of weird things to be done before pub date (my book launches tomorrow), but it’s all worth it in the end 🙂

  4. I had just bought your book (Part 1) and look forward to the Postcards. Does this mean that Part 2 will not be published? Will Postcards include the material from Part 1. You write well and I am am amazed at your self-discipline in completing this project. What is next?

  5. Aiie! I don’t know you but I’m definitely pleased for you. Looking at that binder there with all the comments takes me back to writing my thesis…took ages to write, ages to edit, but the feeling you get when you’ve done it is great 🙂 enjoy it.

  6. Let me add my congratulations to those that have already been registered. I’m already looking forward to your book, and presume I will be able to buy a copy, even though I live outside the UK. I hope so–without having to wait an additional year, I mean.

    I can imagine you starting a blog about the process of turning a blog into a book.

    By the way, I have begun Tete-Michel Kpomassie’s book, which in a general sort of way reminds me of Hunters of the Northern Ice, by RIchard K. Nelson. Both combine acute observation with complete respect for what they see.

  7. Congratulations! The editing part is always the hardest but the most rewarding – I Hope it all goes well for you, I am only a new follower to the blog but I love what I have read so far!

  8. Pingback: READING ROOM IX | Wadadli Pen

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