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THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners on Robert Darnton's "communications circuit."

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Apr 6, 2020

Simon Beattie is a British antiquarian bookseller, literary translator and composer. He was the first British bookseller to be featured in Fine Books & Collections Magazine's series Bright Young Things.  

Beattie was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and the University of Exeter, where he took a double first in German and Russian (1997) and subsequently studied for an MA in Lexicography (1998), which he passed with Distinction. Whilst at Exeter, Beattie also held a choral scholarship at Exeter Cathedral. After a brief period freelancing in the publishing business Beattie joined the London antiquarian booksellers Bernard Quaritch Ltd in 1998.

In January 2010 he set up his own company specialising in European cross-cultural history. His printed catalogues, entitled Short Lists, have won numerous awards. 
 
He was a 2012 winner in the Smarta 100 Awards for 'the most resourceful, original, exciting and disruptive small businesses in the UK' and has taught at the York Antiquarian Book Seminar since its inception in 2014. It was Beattie who set in motion the worldwide strike by over 450 booksellers against AbeBooks' decision to withdraw from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, and South Korea in November 2018.

Beattie's translation of Gottfried Benn's shocking first poem 'Morgue' was published in 2018. His translation of the novel At the Edge of the Night by the German writer Friedo Lampe was published by Hesperus Press in 2019. Finally, Beattie also composes choral music. His setting of Advent Calendar, a poem by Rowan Williams, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of the 2008 Advent carol service from St John's College, Cambridge.
 
I met Simon in Boston, prior to last year's Antiquarian Book Fair, to talk books, more specifically endpapers and Simon's phenomenally successful 'We love Endpapers' Facebook group. We also talk about speaking foreign languages, cultures being curious about one another, exploration, the reception of Oscar Wilde in Russia, translation and censorship, pleasant surprises, marbled paper, brocade paper, bookseller catalogues, and enjoying what you do.