Another Busy Conference Season for CVP/MM

As January draws to a close we’re looking forward to the upcoming spring conference season, which is always the busiest time of year for both Channel View and Multilingual Matters.

It all kicks off for Channel View in February with Sarah’s annual trip to the other side of the world for CAUTHE, being held this year in Cairns, Australia. Then March brings the usual flurry of US conferences for the Multilingual Matters contingent – between them Laura, Tommi and Anna will be attending NABE in Florida and AAAL and TESOL in Atlanta, all in the space of a week! As April comes around we’ll be staying a bit closer to home, with Laura heading off again, this time to IATEFL in Liverpool, while Sarah makes her way down south to Bournemouth University for the TTRA Europe conference.

If you’re planning to be at any of these conferences, do make sure you pop by the stand to say hello to us. We love catching up with our authors, having the opportunity to put faces to names and are always very happy to discuss potential projects with you. We’ll also have plenty of interesting titles for you to browse, including a whole host of brand new ones, and they’ll all be on sale at a special conference discount, so you’re bound to find a bargain!

You can keep up with our whereabouts this conference season by following us on social media.

The World is a Handkerchief: Our Favourite Idioms from Different Languages

Earlier this week we published a post by the author of our new book, Idiomatic Mastery in a First and Second Language, Monica Karlsson. This got us thinking about the idioms we’ve come across in different languages. Here are some of our favourites…

Laura

I like this one from German, which I think means that you’re mad. It is particularly poignant here as we do have all our cups in the cupboard! We must be a very sane office 😊

“Sie hat nicht alle Tassen im Schrank.” – She doesn’t have all her cups in the cupboard.

I also like “Être gourmand comme un chat” as it roughly translates as to eat like a pig, but has the added element of having high standards about what you eat, possibly reflecting the more stereotypical French appetite compared with the English one!

 

 

Flo

The French idiom “Poser un lapin à quelqu’un”, literally “To put a rabbit to someone”, or “Stand someone up” has always stuck with me… it makes something mean sound a lot cuter!

I like it when idioms reflect the culture of the country that language is spoken in, like the Russian “Любишь кататься – люби и саночки возить” – “If you like sledging, you’ve got to like pulling the sledge”, the idea that in order to do something we love, we have to do things we don’t – there is no pleasure without pain!

Another one is “Ни пуха, ни пера.” – “К чёрту!” This is like the English “Break a leg” whereby you wish someone bad luck in the hope it will bring them good luck, but in Russian it’s a hunting metaphor – you say “Neither down, nor feather” and they respond “To hell!”

 

Tommi

Finnish is rich with idioms…

Like “Katosi kuin pieru saharassa” – “Disappeared like a fart in the Sahara”…. Most recently used by film director Aki Kaurismäki to describe the leaders of the Brexit leave campaign who, when faced with any real responsibility, “disappeared like a fart in the Sahara”….

Or “Ei oo kaikki muumit laaksossa” – “To not have all the Moomins in the valley” – i.e. “One can short of a six pack”

Or “Juosta pää kolmantena jalkana” – “To run with your head as a third leg” – or to be in a massive rush but not really be very effective at it…

 

Rose

My favourite Somalian phrase, which I feel is my life’s motto:

“Canjeelo siday u kala korreyso ayaa loo cunaa” – As the pancakes are piled, so they should be eaten.

 

Elinor

My favourite Spanish idiom is: “El mundo es un pañuelo” which literally means “The world is a handkerchief” meaning “It’s a small world”.

In German, I like the phrase: “Man kann nicht auf zwei Hochzeiten tanzen” which literally means “You can’t dance at two weddings” or “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

 

 

 

For more information about Idiomatic Mastery in a First and Second Language please see our website.

Laura and Sarah: Christmas Book Q&A

In the final instalment of our Christmas-themed blog posts, Laura and Sarah team up to talk about Father Christmas and Anne of Green Gables.

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

Sarah: I always wanted to have dinner with the Blythe family from the Anne of Green Gables books. The most fun Christmas dinner guests would have to be the Weasley twins and Merry and Pippin 😊

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

Laura: As a child we used to read Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs many, many times over. I think I still know the words off by heart!

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Laura: I’ve asked for Oh My God What a Complete Aisling as it has been recommended to me by several friends who say it resonates with our generation while being funny and light-hearted too. Fingers crossed Father Christmas delivers!

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

Laura: I heard and thoroughly enjoyed the serialisation of Becoming by Michele Obama so I am giving that to my sister this Christmas (fingers crossed she doesn’t follow the blog and see this spoiler!)

Sarah: I gave Anne of Green Gables to my friend’s daughter last year which was lovely – she then read it to me next time I babysat!

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

Laura: I’ve just started reading the complete Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis ahead of a trip to Belfast (his place of birth) in January. I’m really into them but the only problem is, Elinor accidentally told me a major plot spoiler!

Sarah: I really enjoyed The Astonishing Colour of After (Emily X.R. Pan), Love, Hate & Other Filters (Samira Ahmed), How to Stop Time (Matt Haig) and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Natasha Pulley) – difficult to pick one! 😊

My least favourite was The Bricks that Built the Houses (Kate Tempest) – it wasn’t awful but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

Anna: Christmas Book Q&A

Merry Christmas! Here’s the third instalment in our Christmassy book Q&A in which Anna talks Wind in the Willows, poetry and pulling a cracker with Professor McGonagall. 

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

A snowy view from Anna’s window

I do really like Chapter 5 of Wind in the Willows which is about many things, but includes an impromptu party thrown for carol-singing field-mice by Ratty and Mole. The chapter ends with Mole drifting off to sleep, thinking about the importance of having a community and a place to call home, which seems especially apt at this time of year and in 2018:

He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

We have a book with a short poem or extract from a book for every day of Advent, and I try and buy a new Christmas book for the girls each year (this year is Grandpa Christmas by Michael Morpurgo). I also try and find time on Christmas Eve to read A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas aloud to Alys and Elin…

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

I’d be happy with just about any book to be honest, but I would really love ‘Honey and Co. at Home’ or ‘The Phantom Atlas’, which is about mistakes on maps.

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

Mrs Cratchit, Professor McGonagall and Becky Sharp.

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

Jeanette Winterson’s ’Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days’

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

I hate giving up books, but I did abandon ‘Judas’ by Amos Oz this year. I felt like I had already read enough books about middle-aged men and their obsessions with beautiful and unobtainable women.

Some of my favourite authors have published new books this year, so it’s been a good year for favourite books, but I’d probably pick ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead. It’s a brutal read, but utterly engrossing and the central character Cora is a force of nature.

Rose: Christmas Book Q&A

Part two of our Christmas book Q&A is a chat with Rose about making Christmas candy and The Night Before Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

Predictably, given they are my favourite childhood books, the Christmases depicted in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. There is a gorgeous bit in The Little House in the Big Woods when the sisters make Christmas candy from molasses, drizzling shapes in pans of snow to freeze.

One morning Ma boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa bought in two pans of clean white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest were saved for Christmas Day.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

We have read The Night Before Christmas to Theo on Christmas Eve for the past 3 years so I guess we will keep doing that!

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Well, if you are asking, the new Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered, please! 😉

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

I’d feel terribly disloyal if I said anyone other than Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa but for an entirely unique experience, I’d certainly accept an invite to dine with the Mortmains (I Capture the Castle)

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

I’ve just bought my brother the new Michael Ondaatje, Warlight, but on the proviso that he lends it to me straight after he’s read it!

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

Perhaps controversially (and why I will never be a Booker judge!) but I’m just not getting on with Milkman. But I absolutely loved the new Markus Zuzak YA novel, Bridge of Clay. It is amazing and beautiful and heart wrenching. But a word of warning if you do read it, find a nice private place for the ending; read this on the bus and people might think you are having some kind of breakdown.

Tommi: Christmas Book Q&A

To celebrate the season we will be publishing a series of posts combining two of our favourite things – books and Christmas – in a festive book Q&A. Here’s the first one from Tommi…

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

I think my favourite Christmas “scene” in a book is probably from Mauri Kunnas’ “Joulupukki” and is basically the whole book. It’s a lovely book explaining how the real Father Christmas’ operations work in Finland.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

Yes! As well as always getting and giving books for Christmas, when we sit down for our Finnish Christmas meal on the 24th December, mum always reads the “Jouluevankeliumi” from the Bible. I don’t really have a faith myself, but whether you are a believer or not, it’s a nice way to quieten down on for the Christmas meal. Once mum has finished reading, we turn the electric lights off and we have a quiet meditative moment before enjoying the food on the table.

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Any book that someone has thought I might enjoy.

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

The aforementioned “Joulupukki” of course! It would mean that he definitely had visited my house, and I imagine he has a lot of stories to tell. And since he has the ability to slow time in order to reach everyone on Christmas eve, it would give me more time to eat and digest my food too…

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

Another of Mauri Kunnas’ books “The Book of Finnish Elves”, which explains the rich variety of Finnish elves or “tonttu”. An elf is not just for Christmas, a fact that is often forgotten in the modern world.

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

I have a very short memory and I know I read some really good books earlier in the year, both in Finnish and English that I cannot remember. I am currently enjoying reading “Full Tilt” by Dervla Murphy, “Alone in Berlin” by Hans Fallada, and dipping in and out of the No Such Thing as a Fish “The Book of the Year 2017”. As for least favourite, I also have a selective memory and have forgotten the books I didn’t enjoy reading!

Publishing Workshop, Lund University, Sweden, November 2018

In this post Sarah talks about her recent visit to Lund University in Sweden where she co-facilitated a publishing workshop.

Planning, Preparing and Publishing a Book Manuscript
Department of Service Management, Lund University, 21st November 2018
Facilitators: Dianne Dredge, Johan Edelheim and Sarah Williams
Organiser: Erika Andersson Cederholm

At the TEFI conference in June, Dianne Dredge asked me if I’d be interested in taking part in an event she was putting together designed to encourage academics who are new to book publishing. Fast forward five months and I was on my way to the Helsingborg campus of Lund University to help facilitate a publishing workshop on preparing a book proposal and manuscript!

Dianne’s vision for the day centred around helping each of the 12 participants develop a book idea and we started the day by everyone sharing the titles of the book they would most like to write. The workshop was split into two parts – the morning focused on understanding the publishing process and looking at different writing strategies. Johan shared his experiences of adapting his PhD thesis into a book (the bestselling Tourist Attractions) and all it can entail – and the main points to focus on when you embark on the rewriting process. The afternoon was more interactive, when we went in-depth into developing a proposal. The ultimate outcomes for the workshop were:

  • Strategies, tips and advice.
  • Inspiration through shared experience.
  • Build your ‘keep me grounded’ network.
  • A basic template of your proposal.
  • Feedback on your ideas.
  • A plan to get you started.

 

It was great that each participant enthusiastically and openly shared their ideas, and their writing motivations and challenges. As well as explaining the publishing process to everyone, I certainly learned a lot about authors’ processes when it comes to writing – things that I will definitely bear in mind next time I’m chasing someone for a late manuscript!

For the afternoon session on developing a proposal, Dianne had prepared a Lean Book Concept Canvas (an adaptation of a business model canvas – see the beautifully-illustrated jpeg below!) The idea for this was so the participants could develop their ideas in a more organic way before starting on the proposal template guidelines.

Lean Book Concept Canvas A3 new
Lean Book Concept Canvas

The book ideas that were pitched were strong and it was useful to be there on the spot to provide guidance (for me it was like having one of our in-house editorial meetings but where authors were present for face-to-face feedback!) on things like really thinking about who your audience is and reworking the title so it gives a good idea of what the book is about.

It was a great event to be part of thanks to Dianne’s overall vision and preparation for the day and Johan’s openness in sharing his experiences and sage advice. And to Erika Andersson Cederholm’s efficient organisation – including the fika and AW – wholeheartedly appreciated!

I had time on my return via Copenhagen for a fun visit to Tivoli Gardens with Dianne and one of the workshop participants, Giang Phi – though we didn’t manage a visit to Santa Claus this time round!

 

Dianne and I would like to hold this event elsewhere in the future – so watch this space!

Welcoming Rose to the Team

In September we were very excited to welcome a new recruit to the team. Rose is our new Editorial Administrator and although she’s only been with us for a couple of months, she already feels like one of the family! In this blog post we learn a bit more about her…

What were you doing before you joined us?

Most recently I was working at The Cheltenham Literature Festival as their Programme Manager, but prior to Cheltenham, after graduating from Exeter Uni with an English Lit degree and a PGCE in Secondary English, I spent eight years in Publishing: the majority of that as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers… So, it’s really always been about the authors and their books!

What attracted you to the job?

Having had a few years ‘off’ (HA!) at home with my baby son, I couldn’t wait to return to the world of books. Being able to work in an industry I love, with like-minded people, but still be there to pick Theo up from nursery at the end of his day, feels like I’ve won the lottery.

What were your first impressions?

I was immediately struck by what a wonderfully friendly and supportive team you are; and how positive, passionate and knowledgeable you are! You seem to genuinely care hugely about the work you do, and for each other. That’s a very inspiring workplace to be in.

Do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading at the moment?

Both have their place; I love the fact that I can get a book recommendation from a friend or read a review and think, ‘ooh, that sounds interesting’ and within 5 minutes it’s there on my Kindle. That is amazing. But, it’s not quite the same as, say, browsing a bookshop, the smell of ‘real’ pages, a piece of stunning cover art or lending a favourite to a friend…

I have some treasured books inscribed by authors with whom I’ve worked, and as a children’s book editor, I also worked with some incredibly talented illustrators, too. My three year old son would argue very much in favour of the printed book!

I’m currently re-reading, for the eleventy-billionth time, Flambards by KM Peyton for a hit of childhood nostalgia and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

Do you have a favourite book?

How can you ask me this Flo?! Absolutely impossible to pick only one, or even narrow it down to less than about 50!

But if you absolutely insist, The Little House novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder which I’ve probably re-read every year since I was seven, Remains of the Day as my ‘grown up’ choice and Polo by Jilly Cooper as my guilty secret (shhhhh).

What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?

Scuffling about in wellies, outdoors, with my husband (occasionally), our three-year-old son and our spaniel. Followed by a G&T. or 3. And a good book. Obvs.

Rose with her dog, Percy

The Benefits and Challenges of Working from Home

Over the past couple of years there has been a lot of change in our office as more members of staff have started working part time and/or from home. Elinor and Anna both work part time, some of which is from home, while Sarah, who has recently moved to Dawlish, is working full time from home with a few days a month in the office. In this post they talk about the benefits and challenges of working from home. 

Anna

Anna’s view from her home office

I work at home two days a week to fit in around the school run and cut down on commuting time. We moved house earlier in the year and I now have an actual desk, instead of using the dining table. I have a lovely view of our neighbour’s huge garden (with deer!) and the bird table. I do miss being in the office when I’m working at home – I’m excessively friendly to delivery guys and the post woman – but I can listen to music as loudly as I like without anyone tutting.

Elinor

Elinor’s view from her home office

When I returned from maternity leave earlier this year I changed from working full time to 2.5 days a week. As I don’t live in Bristol it doesn’t make sense to commute in for just 4 hours in the office so I work my half day from home. It’s a lot more peaceful working at home as there’s nobody to distract me with questions or chat about what they’ve been up to. But this is what I miss most and it’s nice to go into the office on a Thursday and Friday and catch up with everyone in person. I’m glad that I can do some of my hours at home as it makes it easier to arrange childcare and it means I can avoid spending too much time waiting for delayed trains. I certainly prefer sitting in my dining room looking out at my garden and watching the squirrels running around to being bombarded by traffic noise in the centre of Bristol.

Sarah

Sarah’s view from her home office

After 16 years of mostly working in the office, working at home almost all the time has taken some getting used to. Dawlish is a big change from Bristol but everything seems a bit slower down here which helps keep me calm when I have a lot to do (and the views help)! It’s been good for my productivity but at the same time I think having people to chat to and being in a team environment can make you feel more motivated. This is where our instant messaging has been great – it’s really useful for quick work matters but we can all chat about fun things too so the team spirit comes through even though we’re not all in the same room. I miss my lovely colleagues but I’ll still be coming into the office several times a month and I’ve been able to go to the office a few times already since I moved. It’s been nice to have a catch-up with what everyone is doing and have our usual meetings, and to get to know Rose, our newest staff member at CVP.

I just feel very lucky as it feels like I have the best of both worlds 😊

Happy 20th Anniversary to Tommi!

This month Tommi had his 20 year anniversary working for the company. In this post we ask him a few questions about the past two decades(!) of loyal service…

What was your first role at the company and what did it involve?

My first role at the company was working in subscriptions processing. In 1998 the Y2K bug was on everyone’s mind, and it became apparent that the programme that my father had developed to process subscriptions and maintain our mailing list was not Y2K compliant, and so my job was to make sure that all addresses and subscriptions were transferred to the new system.

How has the company changed over the last 20 years?

An early photo of the original team in Clevedon

Wow, well it has changed and it hasn’t. The most obvious change perhaps is that we no longer publish journals, and we publish over twice as many books per year as we did in 1998. In 1998 we had only just started publishing our journals online, and although we were using email to communicate, it was through a dial up modem that only connected to the internet once per hour. Much of our correspondence was letters delivered by our local postman, and our filing was all in paper files in filing cabinets. In 2018 all of our books are published simultaneously in print and ebook formats, we are able to work from home and connect into our files online, and there are many days in which nobody has the need to go to the post office. Although the faces have changed and I no longer work with my parents, we are still very true to the original values of the company that they started. We are committed to being a supportive company, whether that is to new authors, established senior academics, or to ourselves and our colleagues. We still all fit around a restaurant table and we remain faithful to our goal of publishing high quality books, whether they be research monographs about language acquisition, edited volumes about sustainable tourism, or guidance for parents and teachers about bringing up their children multilingually.

Do you remember your first Frankfurt Book Fair?

Yes! I visited Frankfurt first in 1998. My immediate impression was sheer incredulity as we travelled down the never-ending “via mobile” from the main entrance to Halle 8.0 where the Anglophone publishers had their exhibits. I have now been to the bookfair 21 times, and whilst it has compacted a little since my first visit, I still remain awestruck by the sheer number and range of books that are published around the world, and enthused by the number of German teenagers that choose the bookfair as their place to come and hang out, dress up in outlandish costumes, and share their love of literature.

What has been your biggest achievement/success?

The whole team at Tommi’s 20th anniversary meal

There have been many achievements and successes over the years and it is hard to single them out, but amongst the many hundreds of books we have published I remember commissioning Kate Menken’s “English Learners Left Behind” on the spot as she talked to me about her fascinating thesis. But really the achievement I am most proud of is that in an age of consolidation where the larger corporate publishers are working to hoover up the lion’s share of library budgets with the effect of homogenising research outputs into somewhat stale prescriptive formats, we are still managing to carve out our own little niche where we can continue to publish interesting work in a nurturing manner. Whilst I sometimes wonder what problems I might have on my desk when I come into the office I have never had a day when I’ve woken up and thought “I wish I didn’t have to go to work today”. I’ve worked with some of my colleagues for well over 15 years, and we have a very low staff turnover, which says to me that together we’ve succeeded in creating an environment where people feel comfortable and happy to work, and if that isn’t an achievement to be proud of then I don’t know what is!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Oddly, these days it could very well be paying royalties. Although our royalties bill to our authors is one of the larger expense items on our accounts, and I always complain loudly to friends, colleagues, and passers-by in the street before having to sit down and manually sign cheques, it was strangely satisfying to work through the list of 478 authors that we owed royalties to in 2018, ticking them off methodically as each one was paid. As I have taken more of a managerial and finance role in the business in the last few years I feel a bit more detached from the regular contact with series editors and authors that I used to have, so paying the royalties each year reminds me of projects that I worked on years ago!

What’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to for work?

I have been lucky to travel to a good number of wonderful places, but two stand out in my memory. In second place is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado where I attended a publishers summit organised by NetLibrary in the early days of ebook publishing. This is the hotel that Stephen King took for his inspiration for the Overlook hotel in the Shining, and the hotel took great delight in dedicating one channel on the TV to 24hr looped broadcasting of the movie. The chairs and tables in the corridors were often found in different and strange places in the morning, although whether this was a shrewd marketing ploy of the staff or something more sinister, I never found out…..

Tommi with Elinor in Kyoto

But my stand out favourite place to travel has got to be Japan. I really enjoy the ease of moving around both the country and the major cities, the food is always outstanding, the countryside beautiful, and the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto which I visit most often are so different that the contrast itself is fascinating. Our contacts at the major booksellers and importers are both friendly and professional, and so meetings are always productive.

What’s your favourite memory?

Oh crikey, what to choose from? I have worked with so many nice people over the past 20 years, both inside and outside of our office, and have a great number of happy memories of all of those people. I can’t pin down what my favourite memory is in a moment, but generally the memory of working successfully and (mostly) harmoniously with both of my parents has got to be the favourite. They taught me most of what I now know, and gave me the space and time to learn the rest myself, letting me make my own mistakes when they felt that was necessary. If I had to pick a moment it might very well be the evening when I sat with Dad in a pub in London and he tentatively suggested that perhaps I should consider coming to work with him and Mum…

Mike, Tommi’s dad, handing over the MD title
Tommi and his mum, Marjukka, in Frankfurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to the next 20 years!