Sheila Markham

in conversation

The originality of Sheila Markham’s conversations with the antiquarian book trade is the privileged insight they give into the quirky yet fascinating world of rare books, demonstrating how very much alive it is today.

She allows every bookseller his or her own monologue to talk about what interests them in their job, how they fell in love with books, or their views on the current state of the trade. Each bookseller has an individual voice – be it modest, earnest, anxious, ironic, zestful, measured, proud, humorous, business-like, secretive or nonchalant.

- Michael Meredith

 

Sheila Markham’s role is that of a silent recording angel, benign and encouraging, bringing forth occasional glissandos of egotism and ambition, wistful memories of happier or more profitable times, and occasional revelations of life in the real world as Buddhist monk, fashion photographer, drystone waller, bus driver, actor or pedagogue.

- Paul Grinke

 

An invaluable mine of fact, anecdote, memories, few lies and no statistics. Thank God for all the persons that Sheila Markham has immortalized, and all the rest that she has yet to reach.

- Nicolas Barker

 

Sketch by the Victorian artist John Leech

English is such a wordy language.

This sketch by the Victorian artist John Leech (Mary Evans Picture Library) appears on the dust-jacket of the two volumes of Sheila Markham’s conversations with the antiquarian book trade published in 2004 and 2014.

The sketch lends itself to a caption competition. If you would like to enter, please send your suggestion to sheilamarkham@hotmail.com

The Voice of Experience
The secret to any form of bookselling is to have a clear idea, even if you cannot articulate it, as to what an object is worth. 

Charles Russell

Interview of the week Greg Coombes

Greg Coombes

Booksellers are judged, by their peers at least, solely on the strength of their stock. You can criticise a bookseller’s wife, his wardrobe or his personal hygiene. But if you criticise his stock, he will never speak to you again.

Read on ...

Latest updates


New website

Posted on 30/06/2017 at 12:06

Welcome to the new design of my website. I hope that you will find it a more engaging experience, and that you will return from time to time as  I plan to introduce new features with the collaboration of my colleagues, to whom this website is devoted.

Why haven’t you interviewed so-and-so?

Posted on 30/06/2017 at 12:06

I’ve been asked this question many times, and usually the answer is that they don’t want to be interviewed, or that I should come back in a few years’ time. Meanwhile perhaps the best thing I can do is to let their catalogues speak for them, starting with Susanne Schulz-Falster’s outstanding catalogue on bookbinding and paper manufacture, produced jointly with Michael Banzhaf.

View the catalogue

A Poland & Steery Co-production