BAMB 7Qs with Jenny Swann of Candlestick Press

Jenny Swann will be joining us on Books Are My Bag day - Saturday 10 October -  between 3 pm and 4:30 pm! Jenny will be enjoying cake as well as chats, photos and book signings!

Jenny Swann set up Candlestick Press in 2008. What initially began as a tiny printing company at her home near Nottingham quickly grew into a brand that now publishes poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Benjamin Zephaniah and Michael Rosen. As well as publishing high profile poets, Jenny asks famous faces to write the introductions to the pamphlets -  Monty Don for gardens, Nigel Slater for puddings and Sophie Dahl did tea. By October there will be 37 pamphlets in print!

1) Why are high street and independent bookshops important to you?

“Because a high street without them is like a house with no books or a heart with no love - sterile."

2) Name your three favourite independent bookshops (apart from us, of course!). What makes them special?

“Apart from your lovely selves?  My local, Five Leaves Bookshop, in the centre of Nottingham is a favourite; I try to always go in there when I am in town.  It is a bookshop with its heart very much in the right place. 
Likewise, The Bookcase in Lowdham Village, my 'nearest rural' bookshop, is a favourite, not least for its connections with the Lowdham Book Festival. 
And my third favourite, apart from yourselves and our two local indies mentioned above, is...absolutely everyone else who is running an independent local bookshop!  Through Candlestick Press, we have come to know of many independent bookshops (if I start listing them, this will be a very, very long reply).  We love and admire them all."

3) What is the best, funniest, quirkiest or most moving experience you have ever had in a bookshop?

“Can I answer a different question - what is the funniest experience I have had with a book?  I was in an amateur operatic theatrical production when I was about ten years old - it was Britten's 'The Little Sweep'.  In one scene, the little group of children, myself included, had to sit on the stage pretending to read books while the adults were singing.  The book I picked up was called 'The Red Balloon'.  (I later discovered it was the tie-in book for a film of the same name.)  And of course, it so carried me away that I quite forgot I was on stage in the middle of a performance until someone dug me in my ribs to put the book down and get singing!  I still remember the regret with which I closed the unfinished book, and the terror of realising that I had quite forgotten I was in the middle of a performance.  I'm afraid I haven't changed much - still liable to forget the requirements of reality when reading a good book!"


4) What three words come to mind when you think of Wenlock Books?

“Irresistible, beautiful, welcoming."

5) What has been your favourite book of 2015 so far?

“The Kindness by Polly Samson. I have also enjoyed Roy Fisher's An Easily Bewildered Child, also H is for Hawk and The Miniaturist. Vanessa Nicolson's memoir Have You Been Good?  And more poetry collections than I can count."

6) What books are you looking forward to reading before the end of the year?

“Jane Clark, The River (a copy is waiting for me in the office!), some of the Booker longlist, and more poetry collections than I can count."

7) What are your top three desert island reads?

“Assuming that, as per R4, I already have the Bible and Shakespeare, then probably Tennyson's In Memoriam, Frances Hodgson Burnet, A Little Princess and Carol Ann Duffy, The World's Wife. 
ie Something to offer a memorial to mortality, something to give me hope and something to make me think and laugh."

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