On Wednesday this week Biteback's MD Iain Dale and I were in conference at a hotel near Slough made famous by the England football team, presenting next year’s titles to the tireless men and women of Compass DSA charged with getting them into the book shops.

As usual, Compass, led by the redoubtable Alan Jessop and Derek Searle, gave us the benefit of their considerable experience and some valuable feedback from the trade itself, in return for highlights of next year’s crop.

Among the books discussed, How to Cut Public Spending (and still win an election) by Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Listening to his somewhat anaemic Pre-Budget Report on the way back to London I couldn’t help but feel this is a book Chancellor Alistair Darling might make use of on title alone. Also in the mix were memoirs by political figures as diverse as Labour’s Peter Kilfoyle and Nigel Farage of UKIP. Alongside these, some serious political analysis by writers as eminent as The Times’ Peter Riddell, whose Politics: The Case for the Defence will offer a timely and considered re-examination of the British political process; and former BBC political correspondent Nick Jones, whose Campaign 2010 will tell the story of next year’s general election in the voice of one of Westminster’s most seasoned observers.

In April we are publishing Mary K. Blewitt’s You Alone May Live. Mary lost fifty members of her family in the Rwandan genocide – a hundred days of state-sanctioned killing that claimed the lives of up to a million Rwandan Tutsi. The book is harrowing but important, and will come out to coincide with the anniversary of the genocide. The title comes from the story of a woman who was raped in front of her own family, who were then murdered. Her rapist told her, “You alone may live, so that you will die of sadness.” This was a common experience for woman survivors. Mary herself is a remarkable person who has used her experiences to help others. She began the Survivors Fund (SURF) to help Rwandan survivors and was later awarded the OBE.

In July we are set to publish the first part of Michael Smith’s epic history of MI6 and Britain’s external intelligence community. Mick is defence correspondent on the Sunday Times as well as a former intelligence officer and best-selling author of The Spying Game and Station X. He is an expert on espionage and security, with unparalleled contacts within the UK’s intelligence and Special Forces communities. Six: The Real James Bonds will be an exhaustive, anecdote-filled biography of the most secretive of Britain’s secret services.

Lover of the Russian queen? Possibly. Russia’s greatest love machine? Difficult to say, but what’s beyond argument is that love for Rasputin himself was by no means universal. In his book Rasputin: the role of the British secret service in his torture and murder, former Met police Commander Richard Cullen reveals how jealous elements within the Russian court conspired with the pre-cursor of MI6 to have the mad monk eliminated.

Finally, we discussed the mysterious “Book X”, a title potentially so explosive that everything about it must be kept under wraps until it comes out in January next year! All told, 2010 promises to be an exciting and important year for Biteback Publishing. Bring it on!

James Stephens
Sales & Marketing Manager
Biteback Publishing