Jul 11, 2022
Why listen to Alexandra
Pringle? Because Richard Charkin told me that she's the
best editor in the English speaking world, that's why.
Alexandra was editor-in-chief at
Bloomsbury Publishing for more than two decades. She was recently
appointed Executive Publisher.
She began her publishing career at the
British magazine Art Monthly before joining the
women's publisher Virago in 1978. She became Editorial Director in
1984, and moved to Hamish Hamilton in 1991 to undertake the same
role. Through much of the 1990s she was a literary agent for, among
others, Amanda Foreman, Geoff Dyer, Maggie O'Farrell and Ali Smith.
She joined Bloomsbury in 1999 as head of the adult publishing
division where her authors included Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth
Gilbert, Sheila Hancock, Anne Michaels, Ann Patchett, George
Saunders and Richard Ford. Among other things we talk about
editing's "what if" conversations, about houseboats, socialism,
building confidence, Harry Potter, tempering criticism, teasing,
instinct, luck, and yes, arm-hair.
Note to Listener: My apologies. The
Zoom connection was poor on this one. But what Alexandra has to say
is delightful and informative, so I hope you'll agree with me that
it's worth putting up with. I plan to interview her again. In
person. With a good microphone. On her houseboat.