Nigel Beale Shares His Passion at February Speaker Night

By Emily Stewart      

As usual, we started the evening with snacks and networking. It’s always a pleasure to chat with other editors about their work.  Nigel took the stage following the social time.

Nigel told us of his love of books and how it drove him to quit his job to pursue literature. He initiated his career by connecting with authors at writers’ festivals in Canada and beyond, and eventually gained credibility that fed a stream of interviews.

 For ten years he has conducted interviews with: best-selling authors, festival and book fair organizers, antiquarian book dealers, book collectors, literary critics, book designers, and various publishers and presses.

Given his history with interviewing, it should come as no surprise that Nigel developed a process and has some tips. When asked how he prepares for an interview, he said that he reads and takes notes on the books he’ll be discussing. He also listens to past interviews with the interviewee to avoid asking the same questions as other interviewers. Another tip he gave to avoid repetition, was to change the subject or interrupt if the interviewee repeated familiar speaking points.

“It should be a conversation,” he said. He doesn’t want to drill authors with questions or participate in gotcha journalism; he wants to have an honest and entertaining discussion. “Luckily”, he said, “authors make it easy since they naturally have stories to tell”.

Aside from the joy of discussing books, Nigel spoke of his pleasure in editing audio. He removes dead space, ums, and ahs, before releasing his interviews to the public. He believes audio editing is something text editors should try out as it has some of the same delights as text editing.

The other aspect of Nigel’s career involves literary tourism. He writes about bookstores around the world, researches the literary history of different locations, and consults with tourism industries about attracting travelers interested in books.

I can’t speak for other listeners, but I’m interested in the bookish side of travel, and I will be looking into literary destinations for my next trip. In fact, it was difficult to listen to Nigel talk about all the people he’s had the opportunity to meet and talk to, and not be inspired by and perhaps a bit jealous of, his ability to follow and live his passion.

If you’re interested in interviews with authors and others in the book industry, check out Nigel’s podcast, The Biblio File. And if you’re a traveller, check out Literary Tourist.

Couldn’t make it out this month? Our next speaker night is on March 20 and our speaker is graphic designer Andrea Emery who will discuss visual and verbal aspects of typography.

Editors’ Association of Canada / Association canadienne des réviseurs

Celebrating 40 years of editorial excellence / Célébrons 40 ans d’excellence en révision  

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