In four weeks time I will be leaving 4th Estate publishers, where I have been for 10 years, to join the independent publisher Aurum Press to commission, amongst other things, sports books. Without wanting to over-egg the excitment, this will be something of a spiritual homecoming since they have published, along with other excellent books, Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith and the superlative Beyond a Boundary by CLR James.
Askwith’s book about Fell Running was the first in the running market that made it into the mainstream, and I think it’s success took everyone slightly by suprise since the narrative plot is based around his attempt to take on the off-piste Bob Graham Round in the Lake District. A 42 peak race that is still, rightly, treated with great reverence by those who have attempted it. In a publishing market that is flooded with celebrity sports ‘auto-biographies’ part of my job will be looking for these kinds of books through which people can live out adventures vicariously, and are cracking reads.
While I will miss many things about working here, Hammersmith won’t be one of them. What I will have to do though is work out how to get my running in. There’ll be no more 6-milers along the Thames at lunchtime, not least because I don’t think Aurum have a shower in the building. But Regent’s Park is just on the doorstep, and Mrs H is just around the corner. Sort of. So I think it will be back to the good old days of running home in the evening with a rucksack on the back, long socks pulled up against the cold and wondering how, with three bicycles to my name, none of them are in the right place and all I can do is take a deep breath and head underground with the rest of London’s commuters.
As for what I’ll be leaving behind – this is a neat account of the last decade or so.