September 05, 2014 13:00
We’ve got 12 fantastic new books out this month. From our collection of essential election reading, to brilliant biographies and memoirs, not to mention an exciting compendium of spy stories, September really will spoil readers rotten.
How To Be A Minister: A 21st-Century Guide
By John Hutton and Leigh Lewis
The failsafe guide on how to be a minister – and how to resign if it fails…
John Hutton and Leigh Lewis have teamed up to produce this vibrant, informative and interesting guide on how to survive in Her Majesty’s government. Recommended reading for those who enjoyed How To Be An MP by Paul Flynn.
“For anyone who wants to know how government really works, this book is a must.” Lord O’Donnell
George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor
By Janan Ganesh
Recently serialised in The Times
Janan Ganesh tells the illuminating story of George Osborne and the era he helped to shape. By analysing his ascent through British politics and dissecting the revival of the Tories to the reformation of the state, Ganesh paints a portrait of a truly fascinating character.
Biteback’s Why Vote 2015: A short, affordable series to help you decide
Why Vote Conservative 2015 by Nick Herbert
Why Vote Labour 2015 by Dan Jarvis
Why Vote Liberal Democrat 2015 by Jeremy Browne
Why Vote UKIP 2015 by Suzanne Evans
The May 2015 General Election is fast approaching and promises to be the most exciting for generations. For those who still aren’t 100% sure which party has the manifesto that best represents them, these are the perfect guides to help you determine who to vote for.
Seize The Day
By Mike Read
Full of lively anecdotes, nostalgic reminiscences and humour, Mike Read delivers a whirlwind tour through his life in showbiz. The broadcasting legend covers all aspects of his career, from hosting prime time entertainment shows to his recent adventures on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, this witty and candid autobiography is not to be missed.
Breaking The Code: Westminster Diaries
By Gyles Brandreth
Revised and updated, Brandreth’s warts and all Westminster diaries are being rereleased with loads of brand new material (as well as previously excised diaries about Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the premiership of David Cameron). A contemporary and honest portrait of Whitehall and Westminster, and the first ever insider’s account of the hitherto secret world that is the government whips’ office.
“Incredibly funny” Daily Mail
The Secret Agent’s Bedside Reader
Edited by Michael Smith
One of the leading authorities on the history of Britain’s spies and former intelligence officer, Michael Smith, has compiled the best espionage stories from around the world. Featuring tales from John Le Carré, John Buchan, Joseph Conrad, Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, Kim Philby, Christopher Marlowe and more… This enthralling compendium will keep you awake long past your bedtime.
The Politicos Guide to the 2015 Election
Edited by Greg Callus, Iain Dale, Daniel Hamilton and Robert Waller
Everything you need to know for the 2015 general election is enclosed in these pages.
There are lists of prospective candidates, analysis of key marginal seats and an extensive assessment of the political landscape, and so much more.
Want to make an informed decision in 2015? This book is for you.
Enoch at 100: A re-evaluation of the life, politics and philosophy of Enoch Powell
Edited by Lord Howard of Rising
Leading political figures, writers and commentators reassess Enoch Powell’s legacy in this fantastic collection, exploring the role of the government, the current state of the economy, immigration, the European Union and much more.
“A superb set of essays” Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
Basil Feldman: Memoirs
By Lord Basil Feldman
The businessman, politician and revered character has finally penned his autobiography. Bursting with stories of interactions with some of the most interesting, powerful figures of his lifetime, Lord Feldman’s Memoirs provide a compelling account for keen politicos.
“Basil Feldman’s story is extraordinary.” Lord Michael Dobbs
All these books will be available on our two week price promise, so don’t miss out!
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August 22, 2014 13:00
PRESS & EVENTS OFFICER
Biteback Publishing, Britain’s leading political publisher is looking for a Press and Events Officer to join their small, friendly team.
This is an ideal role for someone who’s ready for their second job in publishing.
We are looking for a creative, dynamic, well-organised individual who can run their own PR campaigns. Reporting to the Publicity Director, you will be working on an exciting list of both political and general non-fiction titles. You will have good media contacts and be familiar with online and digital PR. The role will also involve working on the Political Book Awards, organising launches and events, and liaising with literary festivals, so good organisational skills and an ability to work well under pressure are essential. This is a small team, so flexibility and a willingness to get involved in all areas of publicity are vital!
The successful candidate will have:
• Good media contacts
• Experience of online and digital PR
• Experience of organising events
• Flexibility and an enthusiastic, calm manner
Please send your CV, a covering letter and details of your current salary to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing Date: Friday 12th September
August 15, 2014 15:00
Esteemed colleague, friend, author and editor-at-large Michael Smith is also a screen-writer… (How does he fit it all in?)
Today sees the opening of The Unbeatables – an animation that we think you’d be stupid to miss.
The Argentinean animation The Unbeatables follows the adventures of a young boy and a magical football team who rise to life from an arcade game.
Amadeo is a champion table football player in a small town, who is challenged to a real-life match by his old rival Grosso, a professional football player with bad intentions. With the fate of the town in his hands, Amadeo’s arcade footballers leap off the table to make their mark on the real world!
“A joyous delight.” The Telegraph
The Unbeatables is directed by Juan José Campanella, the Oscar-winning director behind ‘The Secret In Their Eyes’.
The cast includes Rupert Grint, Rob Brydon, Anthony Head, Stanley Townsend, Ralf Little, Alistair McGowan, Peter Serafinowicz and Eve Ponsonby
Watch the official trailer now
For behind-the-scenes information click here
Visit 369 Productions’ Website
August 14, 2014 12:35
From Bookbrunch by Liz Thomson
Biteback has withdrawn the offer of a book contract to Roger Lewis following a homophobic review of a Robson Press [Biteback’s sister imprint] title on the late Dusty Springfield.
Writing in The Spectator, Lewis began: “Call me a crazy old physiognomist, but my theory is that you can always spot a lesbian by her big thrusting chin. Celebrity Eskimo Sandi Toksvig, Ellen DeGeneres, Jodie Foster, Clare Balding, Vita Sackville-West, God love them: there’s a touch of Desperate Dan in the jaw-bone area, no doubt the better to go bobbing for apples.”
In a letter to The Spectator, Dale said: “I’m surprised and appalled by your decision to publish Roger Lewis’ review of our book Dusty: An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend. The reviewer clearly displays homophobic sentiments towards his subject and, indeed, a litany of other lesbian celebrities. The reasoning behind your decision is as incomprehensible to me as his overt homophobia is. We had been discussing with Mr Lewis the possibility of publishing his next book. He has just been told those discussions are at an end.”
Dale told BookBrunch: “I and several members of staff at Biteback, found Roger Lewis’s comments homophobic and totally unacceptable, and we are not prepared to work with someone who holds those views.”
My letter is published in this week’s edition of The Spectator. Mr Lewis has accused me of ‘totalitarianism’ and being obsessed by political correctness. No, Mr Lewis, it’s not political correctness, it’s common decency. Had he expressed any degree of regret or understanding of the offence he has caused we might be in a different place, but we are where we are.
Actions do indeed have consequences, and I am fully aware that he is unlikely to ever give a favourable review to any of our books in the future in The Spectator or the Mail on Sunday. So be it. At least I can look my colleagues in the eye and myself in the mirror.
August 08, 2014 15:45
Today is my last day at Biteback. I joined this company five years ago, fresh from the bar. Behind the bar, I should say – The Carpenter’s Arms, to be exact. It’s safe to say they took a bit of a punt on this one. Having just revisited my initial letter to try to secure an interview, I can confirm that I actually likened myself to Mary Poppins and somewhere along the way decided that it was appropriate to use the adjective ‘juicy’ to describe the magazine Iain Dale was then publishing, Total Politics.
I can’t really begin to describe what the last five years have been like.
That’d be like trying to describe the fear I felt when Hilary Devey was scheduled to be my first presenter but suffered a bout of the runs an hour before we were due to go live with the Political Book Awards. Or the elation I felt when my colleagues and I spent half an hour replacing words in our book titles with ‘muff’, which was time acceptably spent because our MD found them funniest of all. Or the embarrassment I felt when, at a Daily Mail party, speaking to Anne de Courcy I confused Margot Asquith with Nancy Astor (don’t ask) and she prodded me hard in the chest, yelled ‘NO! Bone up!’ and immediately found other company.
A mix, shall we say…
Once or twice, perhaps thrice, I’ve been shown ‘the line’. ‘The line’ is a trail of Biteback catalogues laid out across the floor. They’re placed there to delineate the division between what is acceptable and what is not. If I have crossed the line, James Stephens, my line manager, will take me by the arm and make me step over it in front of my colleagues (that’s what a real line manager is, by the way). In extreme cases I’ve been asked resolutely to leave the room and think about what I’ve done. Proper HR.
There really is one thing I’ll miss above all, however. And it requires a little context, so bear with me.
Last Thursday The Spectator ran a review of one of our books. A biography of Dusty Springfield. Dusty, famously, was bisexual. This is the opening paragraph of the review:
“Call me a crazy old physiognomist, but my theory is that you can always spot a lesbian by her big thrusting chin. Celebrity Eskimo Sandi Toksvig, Ellen DeGeneres, Jodie Foster, Clare Balding, Vita Sackville-West, God love them: there’s a touch of Desperate Dan in the jaw-bone area, no doubt the better to go bobbing for apples.”
In this paragraph alone the reviewer has: wrongly equated bisexuality with lesbianism, made derogatory and sweeping remarks about the appearance of a number of female celebrities and literary women based solely on their sexual orientation, and, just for good measure, added a great smattering of condescension. It’s one hell of an achievement; I can’t even express how offensive it is in so few words.
The reviewer is Roger Lewis. What I didn’t realise while reading this last week – becoming increasingly riled and appalled at The Spectator’s decision to run such a crass review – is that the wheels were in motion, and a contract drawn up, for us to publish Mr Lewis’s next book. When I was told, I decided this was something Iain Dale should know about. His response (this is where Iain’s ever-poetic turn of phrase comes into play): ‘Fuck me gently. Put everything on hold.’ In the space of a week after the review was published, Mr Lewis and his agent have been informed that we will not be proceeding with the book in light of Mr Lewis’s homophobic comments, a letter has been sent to The Spectator, and we’ve burned bridges with one of the principal reviewers at the Daily Mail and The Speccie.
Roger Lewis is a highly respected, well-connected and prolific book reviewer. Indeed, he’s reviewed a great many of our books in the past. The decision that was made and the action that was taken could conceivably come back and bite us. But that’s what it means to be a Bitebacker. And I couldn’t be prouder.
Now I’m off to Sky News. I wonder what they draw their lines with…