1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
We like to call it a carnival of voices, which translates as fiction from Wales (and other places) in English, fiction in translation and creative non-fiction. Our recent hits in those respective categories have included Alys Conran’s Pigeon, which won the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2017; Women Who Blow on Knots, a road trip of a novel across the Middle East through the embers of the Arab Spring by Turkish writer Ece Temelkuran, which won the Edinburgh International Festival First Book Award; and Biddy Wells’ A Van of One’s Own, about a woman traveling through Portugal in a camper van.
3 What's the story of the company?
Gillian Griffiths, Ravi Pawar and Richard Davies started Parthian with a loan from the Princes’ Youth Business Trust and Cardiff City Council to publish a first novel called Work, Sex and Rugby by a young Welsh writer called Lewis Davies. The book was a hit and is still in print. That was 25 years ago. Lewis isn’t quite as young any more, but he’s still running the company with his alter ego, Richard Davies, and Gillian Griffiths. Ravi Pawar is now Chair of the board.
4 How's business?
The new year started well, with Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes winning the Stanford’s Travel Award for Fiction With a Sense of Place. Last year was a bit of a roller coaster as we gambled on bigger print runs to reduce the unit cost on a few selected titles. I [Richard Davies] have got a lot more grey hair than I did 25 years ago.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
Publishing is such a wonderfully interesting business to be involved in. We meet the most fascinating people who really love books.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
For an independent, it is access to the market. This year we have a wonderfully written first novel set in the north-east of England called Ironopolis by Glen James Brown. Ideally I’d like to see his name on a billboard outside Middlesbrough, where the book is set, but you are always at risk at being squeezed out of the conversation by companies with more money to spend on marketing and promotion.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
Publishing is such a wonderfully interesting business to be involved in. You meet the most fascinating people who really love books.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
An ongoing conversation.
Richard will be speaking about 25 years in publishing at the Hay Independence Festival on Saturday 31 March 2018. Click here for more information. Parthian will also be celebrating its anniversary at the Wales stand (5C129) at The London Book Fair at 5pm on Wednesday 11 April 2018.