On the Acropolis, Athens - birthplace of Oxygen Books, May 2008. (It was Malcolm's idea ...)
To show how serious we were, we went to the 60th Frankfurt Book Fair (15-19 October, 2008) where Turkey was the Guest of Honour. The young man in the photo on the left is writer Bariş Müstecaplıoğlu (you'll see him again later ...). At the end of the Fair, Turkey handed over to the next year's guest - China. Barely 'out of the egg' publishers, we were not, of course, invited to the ceremony. But four years later, when China had been 'Market Focus' at the London Book Fair and was handing over to Turkey for 2013, we were there!
And so we brought out our first anthology. Paris. Some wonderful pieces on the Gare du Nord (left) and the Canal Saint Martin (right - and I'm pretty sure that's Malcolm on the bridge ...) were among the first extracts specially translated for our series.
The launch of our Paris anthology - at Daunt's bookshop, Fulham Road (April 2009). Left, Malcolm and Heather with Stephen Clarke (who wrote our introduction); right, Malcolm chats to cover designer Michael Munday ... and you can also see Eduardo Reyes (on the left, glass in hand!) who has illustrated most of our books. And just behind him is our wonderful typist, Wendy Sanford.
The London Book Fair 2009. Malcolm holding our first baby! Promotion on local radio ...
Book number two, London. Left, the launch of the London anthology at the Eastside bookshop in Brick Lane. Far left, London journalist Peter Watts (who wrote the introduction), next to Rachel Lichtenstein (author of On Brick Lane) and Clare Clark (author of The Great Stink). The photo on the right was taken at a 'London' event we were invited to do at Redbridge Library (again, with Peter Watts).
Next stop, a very cold Berlin ... Malcolm outside the wonderful Marga Schoeller bookshop where we were made very welcome and given advice. Heather in the snow, outside the Reichstag, and Malcolm outside the Berliner Ensemble Theatre, with statue of Brecht on the right.
A colourful bit of the old Berlin Wall; Russian and American flags by the Brandenburg Gate; memorials to those killed trying to cross from East to West Germany before the Wall came down. Our Berlin anthology was published to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Wall's fall.
Our marvellous Berlin-based co-editor and principal translator, Katy Derbyshire organised a Berlin launch at the St George's bookshop (it's Katy on the left, doing a nice plug for our book). Some guests dressed as writers included in our volume and read extracts accordingly. In the centre is 'John le Carré', and on the right is 'Christopher Isherwood' -aka translator Steph Morris, who also made it to our London launch at the Goethe Institute.
London launch of the Berlin book - at the Goethe Institute. left-hand photo: left to right - co-editor Kay Derbyshire; Heather (doing her 'school-marm' look!); guests Chloë Aridjis (author of The Book of Clouds) and travel writer Rory Maclean (who wrote our introduction). right-hand photo: Rory again; with back to camera, Mieke Ziervogel (founder of Peirene Press); Rosie Goldsmith, broadcaster and dedicated champion of European literature; and Katharina Bielenberg (publisher), whose mother, Christabel Bielenberg, wrote The Past is Myself - of which there extracts in our Berlin book.
On our 'research trip' to Dublin - a city full of the statues of writers, including a really strange one of Oscar Wilde (on the far right). For some reason I can't find photos of the launch of the Dublin book - at which novelist Orna Ross (who wrote the introduction) was our guest speaker. (Sorry, Orna!)
And so to Amsterdam ... Malcolm outside a big Anglophone bookshop; Heather at the Spinoza memorial; and a piece of 'street art' commending the act of translation. Our Amsterdam anthology contains lots of wonderful writing translated from Dutch for the first time, so we were especially pleased to find this!
Left, our Amsterdam co-editor, writer Victor Schiferli. Right, Malcolm at the Jewish memorial.
When it came to 'doing' Venice, we didn't take a trip there (we'd visited twice in the past) but were closely in touch with part-time Venice resident and well-known writer on the city, Michelle Lovric, and Jeff Cotton, who writes about all things Venetian. Here we are with Jeff at the launch event.
For Christmas 2010, we put together a 'gift-set' offer of our six books to date - delivered in splendid 'Venice' gift-wrap ...
Our New York book came out in 2011. Various family pressures (mainly elderly and sick parents needing a lot of support) meant that, for New York, St Petersburg and Istanbul we weren't able to travel and we had to rely on research and memories of past trips to New York, and on experts in St Petersburg and Istanbul who helped us tremendously. It also helped that our illustrator, Eduardo Reyes, was very familiar with New York and had also been to Istanbul.
Left: the cover of our New York book proved very popular. Two of our favourite 'finds' for the book was the newly published Open City by Teju Cole (second from left): we utterly adored it ... and the hilarious Who Sleeps With Katz, by Todd McEwen. When we 'do' our 'Around the World in 80 Books' event, we usually finish it with the Father Christmas extract from that book (which, of course, is in ours). It's just brilliant!
When it came to St Petersburg, we were hugely helped by Russian specialist James Rann (left, working for Academia Rossica at that time), who also put us in touch with Marina Samsonova - who became my chief co-editor. We were all set to have a launch at the great Russian Bookshop in Waterstone's famous Piccadilly branch, but pressure of work (we were well into Istanbul by the time St Petersburg came out, and were also organising and running other literary events) led us to cancel it. Just one thing too many! - especially with Christmas approaching, too ... A lot of people decided that our snowy cover made the book an ideal seasonal gift. And it was long-listed for the Pushkin Prize. Above, Malcolm at Waterstone's Russian Bookshop for the shortlist event, 25th April 2013 - and some of the giant tomes that made it to the shortlist of six.
Which brings us to our most recent book - city-pick ISTANBUL, brought out to coincide with Turkey being 'Market Focus' at the London Book Fair 2013.
We had so much generous help and enthusiasm for our Istanbul project that it's impossible to show pictures of everyone - but here are a few. Left to right: Nermin Mollaoğlu of the Kalem Agency; translator Feyza Howell; novelist Barbara Nadel (who wrote our introduction); author Gül İrepoğlu (translated by Feyza); Amy Spangler, translator and head of the Anatolialit agency.
With advice from Nermin, we applied for a grant from the Turkish government, through their TEDA programme, for funding towards the print costs of our Istanbul book. We were successful - so I just had to have my photo taken by the TEDA banner near the entrance to the 2013 London Book Fair!
One little book, so much work! (Here it is on one of the Turkish stands at the Book Fair.) And the great excitement of actually meeting a number of the writers in the book. Left to right: Elif Shafak; Oya Baydar; Aslı Perker; Esmahan Aykol ...
Bariş Müstecaplıoğlu , Inci Aral, and Mario Levi being interviewed by our wonderful translation consultant , Amanda Hopkinson.
And that brings us just about up to date. We'd like to finish by saying an enormous thank you to the countless people who have accompanied us on our Oxygen travels over the past five years. We can't tell you how much we have appreciated your expertise, enthusiasm, and hard work. And if your photo isn't here, it's because we don't always remember to take our camera with us (or if we do, we sometimes forget to use it ...). If you have any photos of Oxygen events you've attended and would like to send us some for our archives, please do!