We spoke to some of the Picador editorial team to find out all about their summer holiday plans, including which books are making it into their suitcases, and the holiday reads they'd recommend. 


Georgina Morley, Non-fiction Editorial Director

Where are you going/where have you been on holiday this summer?

Rome, Normandy and Andalusia

What books did you take with you and why?

Rome: Mrs Gaskell & me, Home Fires, The House of Names, Siracusa.  Mrs Gaskell & Me because it is partly set in Rome and I adored Bleaker House.  Home Fires & House of Names because I am - as it seems are many readers - fascinated by contemporary reworkings of stories that have enthralled humankind for millennia.  The Greeks seem particularly potent at the moment. Siracusa for the city break equivalent of a witty, clever and engrossing beach read.

The list of books coming to France and Spain is too long!  But I will be taking, as I always do, a book a day, and a couple of spares. I may not read them all but the prospect of being without a satisfactory book is too awful to contemplate.

Which book would you recommend for a holiday read?

Liza Klaussman's Tigers in Red Weather is a perfect holiday read. It's enthralling and would work whether you're in a city or on a beach, whether in its setting of Martha's Vineyard or a sun lounger in southern Spain.

What did you most enjoy/are most looking forward to?

I adored Mrs Gaskell & Me and am looking forward finally to reading Judith Mackrell's The Unfinished Palazzo.


Sophie Jonathan, Senior Commisioning Editor


Where are you going/where have you been on holiday this summer?

Slovenia. Go. It's sublime.

What books did you take with you and why?

Transcription by Kate Atkinson. Because if you're lucky enough to get your hands on a proof of the latest Kate Atkinson, you'd be mad not to! Transcription is delightful, I've not had so much fun reading a book for a long time.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante. It's been a summer tradition of mine for the last four years to read one of the Neopolitan Quartet on holiday. The Story of the Lost Child is the last in the series and now it's finished, I am bereft.

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer. Picador is publishing this extraordinary novel about the passionate and tempestuous story of Lee Miller and Man Ray in 2019 and I have been so excited to read it. It's a perfect novel in many ways, but I adored it so much I almost wish it was 300 pages longer - I just wanted it to go on.

The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Picador will publish Kiran's debut adult novel, The Mercies, in 2020, and I couldn't resist taking this wintery book, her new children's novel, out later this year, on holiday. It's a sparkling, enthralling story of courageous girls and their determination to save the people and the place they love.

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell. I've been desperate to read this for ages, and then swallowed it whole in one afternoon. The stories in this memoir are heart-stopping, hilarious, alarming, desperately sad. You come away from I Am, I Am, I Am marveling at the fine and delicate thread that is human existence.

Circe by Madeline Miller. My husband took this on holiday and adored it so much I practically snatched it away as he turned the last page. It's utterly wonderful. Circe left me fizzing - that's the best way I can describe it. I've not read The Song of Achilles, but that's next on my list (and needless to say, my husband has already beaten me to it).

Is there a book you would recommend for a specific destination?

It's pretty special reading Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan Quartet when you're in Naples or down that way. The novels are the story of a female friendship, but perhaps even more they are a portrait of a city, so to look up and know you're not far away is thrilling. Otherwise, the best family holiday reads are the ones that are so talked about over dinner that they develop an orderly (or not so orderly) reading queue. I've had that with several books, including Room by Emma Donoghue, Plainsong by Kent Haruf, and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

What did you most enjoy/are most looking forward to?

I find it genuinely hard to choose between the books I read in Slovenia, so I'll say what I'm most excited to read next: I never got round to reading A Sport of Kings by C E Morgan when it was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, but I've heard so many wonderful things that I've decided to re-prioritize it. And The Song of Achilles, of course. . .


Paul Baggaley, Publisher


Where are you going/where have you been on holiday this summer?

I have already been to New York and Boston on holiday. This allowed me to walk in the footsteps of the writers and artists of Megan Bradbury's Everyone is Watching and Olivia Laing's The Lonely City, two wonderful books about the creativity of the city and its inhabitants. I also stayed within spitting distance of Jude's apartment in Lispenard Street, so Hanya Yanagihara's heartbreaking A Little Life was never far from my mind.

We are also walking the Dales Way this week - and I will be taking Alan Garner's memoir Where Shall We Run To? - not strictly en route, but close enough as he remembers his early childhood in a Cheshire village.

What books did you take with you and why?

As well as lots of wonderful new Picador manuscripts, I managed to get hold of a copy of Sally Rooney's Normal People - a brilliant, clever, moving novel about two young people navigating the challenge of love and relationships. And I loved Craig Brown's hugely inventive Ma'am Darling, a unique take on the biography, with its subject the monstrous Princess Margaret who spent a lifetime failing to navigate the challenge of love and relationships.

Is there a book you would recommend for a specific destination?

One of the most spectacular and unique landscapes must be the bleak and inhospitable north of Iceland - I can't think of a more atmospheric or brilliantly evoked setting for a novel than that described by Hannah Kent in her masterly historical novel Burial Rites.


Kris Doyle, Senior Commisioning Editor

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Where are you going/where have you been on holiday this summer?

It's been such a lovely summer in London that I'm actually staying here, but that's all the more reason to pick up a book and take a journey of the mind.  

What books will you be reading over the summer?

Next up for me will be West by Carys Davies: the story of a widower who leaves his home and daughter behind in the hope of finding dinosaurs beyond the American frontier.  I've also recently bought Nick Laird's new collection of poems, Feel Free, and Richard Lloyd Parry's Ghosts of the Tsunami, so I hope I can travel with them too, all without leaving the comfort of my local London park, where I intend to sprawl beneath the hot sun and read them.

Which book would you recommend for readers wanting to travel vicariously through a book while enjoying the sun at home?

If I were recommending books to others, two recent Picador books spring to mind: Guy Stagg's magnificent non-fiction book The Crossway will take you on an extraordinary journey across 10 countries, as he recounts the 5,500 kilometers he walked from Canterbury to Jerusalem in 2013; while How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs is a collection of short stories that will take you to the island, but also take you inside the minds and hearts of Jamaicans who left home in order to paint a vivid and varied portrait of a place that's more than its geography in the 21st century: it's not something usually said of short story collections, but I just couldn't put this book down.


Ravi Mirchandani, Associate Publisher

Where are you going/where have you been on holiday this summer?

Russia, Rome.

What books did you take with you and why?

Russia: Gogol's The Overcoat and Dead Souls. I have never read him and really should have done so before.

Rome: Barbara Kingsolver's new book Unsheltered. Because I think she's one of the finest American novelists currently writing. Sally Rooney's Normal People, because everyone is talking about it!

Is there a book you would recommend for a specific destination?

Were I planning on reading translations from Italian in Italy, I might be reading Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard or Giorgio Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, both splendid holiday reading.

What did you most enjoy/are most looking forward to?

It will have to wait until I am home as it's so big, but the book I am most looking forward to reading is Noel Malcolm 's Agents of Empire: Knights, Corsairs, Jesuits and Spies in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean World.