The Gentle Author Turns Publisher
Published by Spitalfields Life Books on 3rd July
After months of preparation, it is my delight to announce that I am to become a publisher and I hope you will join me on the evening of Wednesday 3rd July in celebrating the launch of this auspicious new endeavour. It may seem a curious decision to supplement publishing on the web with publishing between hard covers, but in writing more than a thirteen hundred stories here in the pages of Spitalfields Life, I constantly encounter exciting material that inspires me to create books of all kinds.
The first title I am publishing under the Spitalfields Life Books imprint will be a photography book of Colin O’Brien’s pictures of Travellers’ Children in London Fields. In 1987, Colin O’Brien was photographing buildings in London Fields when he was approached by some Irish travellers’ children who asked him to take their pictures. He gave them Polaroids to take back to their parents and, on the next day, the parents dressed up their children, requesting that Colin take more photographs. Over the following weeks, Colin took an exceptional series of over one hundred portrait photographs of the children and their parents.
The small selection of these spell-binding pictures that I first published here two years ago is one of my favourites and has long been one of the most popular sets of photographs on Spitalfields Life. So it was a great pleasure to take the complete set of images to distinguished book designer Friederike Huber, who designed Don McCullin’s books of photography, and give her carte blanche to create a volume of Colin’s pictures. With exemplary skill, Friederike has arranged the pictures in an elegant sequence that permits them be read like a novel, with recurring characters, with multiple story lines and with dramatic set pieces.
The result is a handsome hardback book bound in yellow cloth and printed in Spitalfields by The Aldgate Press with a cover price of £10. We are working in collaboration with The Broadway Bookshop to stage a launch two weeks today on Wednesday 3rd July from 6-9pm at the E5 Bakehouse beside London Fields Station, just fifty yards from where Colin took the photographs. At the E5 Bakehouse, there will be an exhibition of prints from the book, as well as drinks and Irish music, and an opportunity to join Colin O’Brien as he revisits the locations of his photographs and talks about their origins.
Copies will available online through this site and in the East End’s independent bookshops from 3rd July. Faber Factory Plus part of Faber & Faber are distributing Travellers’ Children in London Fields nationwide, so if you are a retailer and would like to sell copies in your shop please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who deals with trade orders.
The logo of Spitalfields Life Books designed by David Pearson, drawn by Joe McLaren
“These pictures record an extraordinary meeting between a photographer and a group of Irish travellers’ children in London Fields in 1987, yet the subject of Colin O’Brien’s tender and clear-eyed photographs is no less than the elusive drama of childhood itself.”
Colin O’Brien at The Aldgate Press in Brick Lane with the jacket of his book.
Travellers’ Children Photographs © Colin O’Brien
Photograph of Colin O’Brien © Alex Pink
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