Booker Prize entrants need to play by the rules. So why did the judges not feel the need to do so, asks Sam Jordison.
To be one of the publishers of Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport will always be a source of pride and joy for me. But if I started to tell you about the merits of this novel I would never stop. Copies are out there if you want to find out why I love it so much. Let me instead tell you about a few of the logistical aspects of publishing a book of this size and importance.
Ducks, Newburyport is 1,030 pages long, largely one single unspooling sentence – and I take great satisfaction in the way my co-director at Galley Beggar Press (and wife), Eloise Millar, edited this huge, complicated book and brought it to press. And did it quickly, because we wanted to publish this book, that said so much about the United States of America, on July 4. We worked flat out. Our initial print run was 4,500 copies. Not the same as Margaret Atwood’s Testaments, I know, but a significant risk for a press as small as Galley Beggar. 600 of those copies arrived at our office – which is also our small terraced house in Norwich. We couldn’t move for books. We were exhausted. But we were also elated. It felt like we were about to give the world a tremendous gift...Keep reading on TLS