Every city-pick title is a labour of love. The research, the travel, the meetings, the recommendations, the translations, the rights negotiations (the latter you don't want to hear about!).
We work closely with writers and translators. We also quite often work with a co-editor based in the city such as Katy Derbyshire in Berlin or Victor Schiferli in Amsterdam who know their writers well and let us know the best books on their cities that will make a big appeal to city-break visitors and armchair readers.
But - and this is a major but - we still worry about the reception of each book in its city of origin. Have we included enough local writers? Are there too many 'outsiders' giving a skewed vision of the city? Do our English translations do justice to the local writers - especially bearing in mind that many of these we are translating into English for the first time? Most importantly, have we captured that difficult concept of the 'soul' of a city as those who live there perceive it every day?
Well, without sounding too boastful, we feel we can breath a little more easily, having just received some more reviews from our cuttings agency.
The lovely Sylvia Whitman, owner of Paris's legendary Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, says that our Paris title is: 'a great set of writings ... an original book on Paris.' Living Venice was impressed enough with city-pick Venice to mention its 'rich variety of well-hewn chroniclers ... a worthy and rewarding read.' Berlin, says Englishman in Berlin 'is a book that you dip in and out of, picking up a gem of writing as you walk around the city.' city-pick Amsterdam was described by Time Out Amsterdam as 'a new breed of city guide ... it makes for some delightful discoveries - even for those of us who think we know the city well.'
Phew! It was nice that few of our fears had materialized but there were still other cities to come.
Snarky Londoners? Fortunately not. The Museum of London's Peter Matthews said that our London title 'is full of unexpected pleasures' while city-pick Dublin, according to Irish World is 'a handily compact tome to take with you on your city-break and be all the richer for it.' Time Out Istanbul was impressed enough to say: 'Bored stiff by traditional guide books? Find your way in the company of the new city-pick Istanbul anthology.' The St Petersburg Times called city-pick St Petersburg 'a fascinating view of Russia's northern capital as seen by more than sixty writers, poets, dancers and artists from different eras.'
The observant will have noticed that New York hasn't had any local feedback yet. Any New Yorker who would like to offer us their view of city-pick New York please contact us!
Some of the best writing on favourite world cities and some of the best praise from local reviewers. We're pretty pleased with the result and hope our city-pick readers will be too.