Fearless Leader of Notting Hill Editions
When did you discover your love for books? How did it happen?
My mother always read aloud to me as a child – long books that I wouldn’t have read by myself: The Hobbit, The Little Wooden Horse, and several old Victorian fairytales in worn leather covers inherited from my grandmother. Though these fairy tales were wordy and old-fashioned, my mother was an animated reader and they came alive in her hands. My father also used to invent scary bedtime tales for me and my siblings (in hindsight this was probably not ideal), so we grew up with stories. One of the first books I remember being hooked by is I am David by Anne Holm. I still value the smell and weight of real books.
If you could invite 5 fictional characters over for dinner, who would you invite and why?
The best dinner parties have laughter, heated debate and at least one person who’s had too much to drink. With that in mind, I’d invite
Tyrion (Game of Thrones) for his drunkenness, debauchery, and wit; Owen Meany (A Prayer for Owen Meany) for his voice and his humour; Miss Haversham (Great Expectations) for her alarming singularity of purpose; Humbert Humbert (Lolita) because, though unforgivable, he is utterly compelling; and Bridget Jones, because she reminds me of one of my best friends, and life is less predictable with her in the mix.
What inspired you to be in the book business?
My father, who at the age of eighty, decided it was the right time to launch a publishing business. He’d always loved literature but after a lifetime of working as a successful toy and games inventor and ideas man, he decided he would give his last years to reviving the art of the essay, and publishing them in the most beautiful linenbound books. That was his response to the ebook. At the time everyone said he was mad. I’d worked in childrens’ publishing several years before, and he asked me to join him in 2014. Working with him was sometimes frustrating, but always inspiring. His mantra was to try to do things differently to everyone else.
What 3 books must every GAL reader pick up right now, and why?
Middlemarch by George Eliot
There are so many layers in this book you could read it ten times and still not have got to the bottom of it. Read it and marvel.
Found and Lost by Alison Leslie Gold – published by Notting Hill Editions
When I read this, it made me want to be kinder, and to hold everyone dear to me closer. Her humanity shines through on every page, and her journey from alcoholic to writer.
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
A shocking, tough book but Tallent handles his characters with extraordinary tenderness and wisdom. Here’s a young female character who is strong in mind and body, a memorable creation. The nature writing is also beautiful – the setting is a character in the book.
Do you have any favourite books that revolve around the idea of Family?
I recently read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. It’s an original story that got under my skin, and it shows how even the closest-knit families can implode. Also My Absolute Darling is about the blood ties between father and daughter and the loyalty and love we instinctively give to our parents long before we are old enough to begin questioning that.
Kim Kremer is the fearless leader of Notting Hill Editions. Continuing where her father left off and with an attention to female authors she plans to focus on bringing together surprising thinkers of the past and present whilst paying homage to the art of the essay form.
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