MPs, peers, publishers and leading figures in the UK’s books industry celebrated the power of books at the Publishers Association’s Summer Reception in Parliament yesterday (Monday 13 June).
The event was themed around ‘a book that made me’ to start conversations about the positive effect books can have on us.
Andrew Lewer MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Publishing, welcomed guests and shared that the works of Samuel Johnson had had an impact on his educational choices and eventually his career.
Dan Conway, incoming CEO of the Publishers Association, remarked on how wonderful it was to see so many supporters of the publishing industry in one place and shared that his book choice was Winnie the Pooh as he had loved it as a child and now enjoys reading it with his own children.
Nigel Newton, President of the Publishers Association and CEO and Founder of Bloomsbury Publishing, revealed that his choice for ‘a book that made me’ was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming and that it may have been this book that drew him to “imaginative worlds” and his career as a publisher.
Kamila Shamsie, author of the award-winning novel Home Fire, spoke about books bringing huge joy to her during her childhood in Karachi. Her choice was All Dogs Go To Heaven by Beth Brown which captured her imagination and prompted her to start writing as a child. Kamila also emphasised the importance of honouring and preserving the UK’s book ecosystem.
Jeffrey Boakye, author of I Heard What You Said, spoke about his experience as a teacher and the important role publishers play, supporting writers in interrogating ideas.