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

Did I really order the large-print edition?

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
I don’t run things very economically – I still write a six-inch blurb for a £20 book, which is probably an absolute nonsense.

Robin de Beaumont

Interview of the week Graham Weiner

Graham Weiner

The book trade is a nice hideout for misfits, but you can’t be completely mad to run a business. 

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Latest updates


John Saumarez Smith's Swansong?

Posted on 30/09/2017 at 11:09

John Saumarez Smith has just added an afterword to his interview, which was originally conducted in 2003.  The afterword coincides with the publication of a catalogue with the codeword ‘SWANSONG’. In the introduction to the catalogue, John writes, ‘When the Swan has Sung, I very much hope to keep in touch with those of you who have supported me since my departure from [Heywood Hill,] Curzon Street. Booksellers don’t retire but hope to continue to share their pleasure in books with their bookish friends’.

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 in the trade, to whom this website is devoted.

A Poland & Steery Co-production