In awe of authors

14 September 2010

As an editor, you work with all kinds of authors. Sometimes, you're lucky enough to work with authors you've previously read and admired - and, occasionally, you get to work with someone you've even, perhaps, been slightly - or maybe completely - in awe of.

For me, Jonathan Raban is one such author; Clive James is another.


Both Raban and James are 'big name' authors; both have been at Picador far longer than I have; and both are authors I've previously read for pleasure rather than work. They're also both authors I would read on pretty much any subject, just for their voice, their way with words, their ear for language, and their eye for detail - so to take on the task of editing one/other (let alone both!) of them? That's daunting. Definitely. It's also thrilling, however - and while it does (I suppose) count as work, it's been a pleasure too - once I'd got over my trepidation at editing two such Picador stalwarts, that is. (And, if I'm honest, they're both such fine wordsmiths, it's not as if I actually had to do much at all. But I might not tell my boss that...)


I still find myself in awe of them, both, though. Not sure I'll ever quite get over that. I mean: Jonathan Raban. And Clive James. I guess it doesn't get much better than that...

Jonathan Raban's book, Driving Home, was published in July; read Patrick McGrath's review in the Guardian.

Clive James's book, The Revolt of the Pendulum, was published in paperback in June; read Nick Lezard's review in the Guardian.

Which authors are you in awe of?