Category book signings

For any debut author, the road to being published is an exciting one – even for those used to the limelight. When actress and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis came into the office to sign her book proofs, she was completely delighted at this milestone. A joy to see and be part of, not only for Janet, but for all our authors when the publishing show starts to hit the road. There was much celebration which obviously necessitated cake (but then what doesn’t?)

We’re extremely mindful that for each author, debut, or not – all the stages need to be celebrated and cherished.

Janet Ellis THE BUTCHER'S HOOK Two Roads Books

Janet Ellis signing proofs in the Two Roads office

Janet Ellis THE BUTCHER'S HOOK proof signing (2) Two Roads

Janet Ellis THE BUTCHER’S HOOK – proofs and cake

Last weekend our travelling editor Lisa went on a little trip to a beautiful part of the world: Iceland. She was there with Two Roads author Sally Magnusson to attend the annual Meeting of the Magnusson Fellows at the Hannesarholt Cultural Center in Reykjavik. The fellowship, run by the Glasgow Caledonian University, has been created in honour of the late Chancellor of the University, television presenter, journalist, writer, historian and professional Icelander Magnus Magnusson, Sally’s father.

But there was another reason for the trip: on Tuesday 30th September Sally was at the official launch of the Icelandic translation of her bestselling book, Where Memories Go (find out more here). And what a success it was: not only did many of Iceland’s most prominent public figures attend the event, but the book itself made it onto the bestsellers chart after just one day in the shops. Hurrah!

And now for a few pictures from the trip…

Dr Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the (first woman) President of Iceland from 1980 to 1996

Ragnheiður Jóna Jónsdóttir, who started the Hannesarholt Cultural Centre – Sally was their first international guest

Sally signing copies of her book

Inside Reykjavik’s iconic concert hall and conference centre, Harpa


























Sally and her intrepid editor Lisa


































Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementiaLisa is travelling around Scotland this week, and paid a visit to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to attend Sally Magnusson‘s event. Here’s her take:

Last night I attended Sally Magnusson‘s event at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Although I have read Sally’s book countless times and been to many many events, there was a particular magic to this one. Was it the rain drumming on the tent roof, the rapt attention of almost six hundred people, the expressive interpretation of the signer standing alongside or the magic of Sally’s words as she conducted us through her experience? All of the above of course.

As Sally spoke to each and every person in the quiet and patient signing queue for over an hour afterwards, the magic continued. Every person had something personal to share, something unique and yet universal. Where Memories Go has touched so many lives because dementia touches so many. As Sally says ‘ this is my story but it could be anybody’s’.

But last night, as Jim Naughtie and the Edinburgh Festival sound director said, ‘Wow, that was something …’

See a few pictures taken by Lisa below. Well done, Sally!

Find out more about Where Memories Go: why dementia changes everything here.

Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementia

Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementia








Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementia










There’s nothing better on a rainy, cold, gloomy day than running around a muddy field in Wales.

Seriously, there isn’t, especially if that field in Wales belongs to the charming little village of Hay-on-Wye. That’s where one of the two roads was, accompanying our author Kirsty Wark while she was on duty at the Hay Literary Festival. If you’ve never been, we definitely recommend it: ten days packed with author events, book signings and lots of other bookish activities (the festival is perfect for children too!)… seriously, what’s not to like?

Kirsty was in conversation with Sarah Compton of the Daily Telegraph, talking about her novel The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, her career at the BBC and her latest documentary about sexism, Blurred Lines. She then did a quick live interview for BBC Radio 6 with Radcliffe & Maconie (listen here) and finally chaired an author event with Philipp Meyer and Linda Spalding.

Take a look below…

Welcome to Hay!










Kirsty with Sarah Compton 













Kirsty with Radcliffe & Maconie of BBC 6
























Nancy Horan was featured in the Book Expo America Daily edition of Publishers Weekly and luckily we had an insider in New York ready to bring back evidence (thanks Lisa!). Read the interview below and head over to our Facebook page to see pics of Nancy signing advance readers copies of Under the Wide and Starry Sky.


Follows Her Heart

by Genevieve Valentine


In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson was on a train to California in pursuit of Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, 10 years his senior and married, with whom he’d fallen in love. For Nancy Horan, the journey sparked her curiosity; her curiosity sparked a new novel.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky (Two Roads, January 2014) uses letters, diaries, and essays to chart a complicated love story.

He was from an upper-class Scottish family, she was almost like a Henry James character, a very independent woman – self-made, pre-feminist, she explains.

Horan began ‘an exploration of an amazing pair of people.’ The relationship spanned two decades and three continents, and left plenty of material. ‘ Stevenson alone, eight volumes of letters!’ she says, laughing. But Horan’s careful process (the book was five years in the making) relies on the historical context the documents provide.

That’s what really draws me to a story. I like it if there’s an engaging series of events and a change in the characters. I begin by doing research, but it continues all the way through, and it’s absolutely the case with this story. I know where it’s going, I have a general idea of what they’re doing in a given year and what their lives were like, but during that process there’s so much to read and so much to learn.

It doesn’t all find a place (‘Chapters will bite the dust,’ she explains pragmatically), but the background ‘enriches the whole process.’

Horan is no stranger to reconstructing historical figures: her 2007 blockbuster debut, Loving Frank, took Fran Lloyd Wright’s mistress, Mamah Borthwick Cheney, from historical footnote to heroine of a novel about identity and the

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public eye. That approac brought Osbourne’s voice to the fore in Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Though their stories differ, Horan sees both women in conversation within the genre of historical fiction.

You find they were up against challenges that we don’t necessarily face any more. In particular, the issue of divorce was alive for both of those women, and a very hard obstacle to overcome.

Despite being well-regarded among his contemporaries, Stevenson’s writing fell out of favor in the 20th century. However he’s enjoying a critical renaissance, and Horan hopes that readers might come back to Stevenson’s work with a new eye.

But historical and literary significance aside, she considers the novel a personal journey.

I hope that people are as engaged and captivated by these people as I was.

Book Expo is the foremost US book trade fair and, I think, fair to say unique around the world. I don’t know of anywhere else that has such total focus on connecting booksellers, librarians, bloggers, influencers of all shades and writers and their new books from breakfast to nightfall. Booksellers, librarians, publishers and authors come from all

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over the country to beguile and be beguiled — publishers are doing everything in their power to help make good word of mouth happen. And there’s no formula for that, it really is magic.

Hachette stand BEA

A small shot of the fair, with the Hachette stand in sight

As well as authors speaking almost continuously for four days there are the signing sessions, hundreds and hundreds of proofs given away and booksellers lining up to get them signed and to chat with their authors (in some case their heroes, e.g. Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith and in some cases complete unknowns). These are held in what’s called the sheep pens, a remarkably democratic affair, reducing all authors to a talking Sharpie (the ubiquitous signing pen). Even the editors get in on the act. There is a session called the Editors Buzz Panel (or Editoridol as it’s nicknamed), in which 6 prominent editors speak passionately about the book on their list they love the most. This year’s six were:

  • The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
  • Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  • Panorama City by Antoine Wilson
  • A Million Heavens by John Brandon
Karen Engelmann signs The Stockholm Octavo at BEA

Karen signs proofs of The Stockholm Octavo at BEA

Interesting to check out their fates in a year’s time.


Will Schwalbe signing BEA

Will signs The End of Your Life Book Club proofs at BEA

Three Two Roads authors were also working hard at BEA. Karen Engelmann, THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO; Will Schwalbe, THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB and Gretchen Rubin, HAPPIER AT HOME. Here are some shots of their

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signing sessions and some general pics of the weird and the wonderful!


For as much as publishing is a very professional business, with much at stake BEA also has a streak of daftness. Long may that continue.

There are more postings and photos of BEA on our Facebook page here







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