Who's who at newbooks


Each issue we include a brief paragraph from each of the people involved with that issue as to what they're reading currently. However, what follows is something a little more personal about who each of us are and how we've arrived at this point in time.


Guy Pringle




I was a secondary school English teacher in Whitley Bay for several years before escaping into the world of educational publishing with Thomas Nelson and Sons. I mention the publisher because I had a wry smile when I saw them credited in the foreword of Andrea Levy's The Long Song as one of the 'best publishing  houses in Britain'. Subsequent twists and turns in the world of publishing, including three redundancies, finally decided me to try an idea on my own. newBooks.mag, as it was initially, sprang from involvement with the library sector in the late 90s and the realisation that there was no magazine talking to and about this community of readers and reading groups which my many librarian friends had been cultivating. And last year we celebrated our 60th issue and 10th anniversary - which makes it the longest period of continuous employment I have had in the last 30 years. Along the way I have met many more readers and librarians who are always a delight. Even now I am known for talking at length to subscribers who ring up, quizzing them about what they like (or don't like!) about newbooks and, just as importantly, what they've read and enjoyed recently. Being self-employed has been a joy at a time of life when I would have been looking over my shoulder for another round of redundancies. Long may it continue.

Elsbeth Lindner



Predestination According to a wholly unbiased source (my mother), I was easily diverted by the printed word from the age of two. Starting with magazines but moving swiftly on to books, apparently I was reading before I started school. Although nursing ambitions to be a dentist, later a chip-shop owner, in fact my career path had already been ordained.


Application By the time I graduated (from Birmingham University with a degree in English), I'd decided radio was the work for me. Sadly the BBC didn't feel the same. So I took a menial job at the Arts Council, then another at Oxford University Press, and began the slow ladder-climb up to editorial work. As a publisher, I've been employed by Methuen, Reed International, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, The Women's Press and David Godine (of Boston).


Liberation But the best was yet to come - a freelance life made up of book reviewing, literary journalism and magazine editing.


Maturation and Expectation It was a pleasure to be involved with newbooks from issue one, from the publisher's side of the fence. Now, ten years later and having gone native, I am enjoying being a part of the magazine and its development. I wish all of us in the nb community a long and happy future together.


Madelaine Smith




Started career as: After I left University my first job was in a very large charity bookshop where I sat all day on a tall stool and priced up secondhand books. It was very Dickensian. Each day great truckloads of books arrived which had to be sorted and then priced up. Anything that was too damaged to sell was thrown into a pile to be recycled. By the end of the week the pile would reach the ceiling of the warehouse. I only worked there for a few months but in that time I learnt a huge amount about books and realised that I wanted to spend my career in some way or another associated with books. Since then I have worked as a Bookseller, a Book Department Manager, a Books Marketing Operations Manager, a 'Product Controller', a trainer for the Booksellers' Association, a Buying Director, a Promotions Manager with a publisher, and at newbooks! (Oh yes and for a short blip in my career I left the book trade and worked as a Marketing Manager at a theatre - but I did write a book about the history of the theatre while I was there).


First book I remember reading all by myself: A Big Ball of String (a Dr Suess book that I borrowed over and over again from the library)


Favourite bookish quote: I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

Favourite newbooks Featured Book: How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff (nb27)


Book I'd save from a burning house: My very battered copy (no dustjacket) of Antonia Forest's Falconer's Lure

Alison Glinn




Like most people here at newbooks, reading has played an important role in my life, but unlike most of the others my academic life and early career choices were not literary.

I too could read before I went to school and one of my earliest memories was my first teacher getting cross with me when I claimed to have read a whole book in Quiet Time; I did, honest!

As a child I always had my nose in a book, but when it came to A’Level choices my headmistress and father were of one mind; I could do the sciences so I should take those, I could always read in my spare time.

Two years later I found myself at Sussex Uni reading Physics with Medical Physics. Unsurprisingly I felt like the proverbial round peg in the square hole but struggled on to the end. Then, not being able to face a career making bombs or working with computers, I opted to do a PGCE at Marjons in Pymouth.




I met my husband in Plymouth so, wanting to be near him, I took a job as an infant teacher – lots of books and reading but not quite at my level. Children followed and I gave up teaching, but became involved in the NCT as an antenatal teacher.

Then we moved to the South East and I found myself going back to teaching to help pay the bills. However, our youngest was just two at this point and I hated giving all my energy to teaching, leaving little for my family. So took a job as a Science Technician at the Sixth Form College for a couple of years.

Eight years later, feeling a bit bored and in need of a change, I sent a note to newbooks basically saying, “Give us a job” and didn’t include my CV, as I didn’t want to be judged on my science background. Guy rang and my surprised husband passed on the message – I hadn’t mentioned the note to him as I thought it would come to nothing – to meet Guy at the café in Alresford.




Three years now and counting….