Inspired on the Man Booker Prize 2014 Part 2


I’m Abigail, the Managing Consultant here at Inspired Selection. I have a particular focus on professional publishing, coming from a professional services background myself.

I am not alone in this industry to hold an English degree and it was a joy to read this book for the blog. If I were stuck on a Desert Island however, the three books I would take with me would be Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières, Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. From a literature background, it’s a privilege to be surrounded by publishing people in my job and I look forward to working with all you readers of this blog in the near future.

The Lives of Others – Neel Mukherjee

Reading this book left me with a vast range of emotions but none of them was surprise at this piece of literature being shortlisted for this prestigious award. The storytelling was captivating and I was compelled to turn each page.

This is a piece of prose which built boundaries and broke them down. The two distinct fonts from different narratives achieved this physically, creating a boundary between story tellers and this is a microcosm for so much more. It was a reminder of the geographical and class boundaries that define this text and the world in which it exists. India in the 60s gives us cruel and graphic images and providing this to us in text form, Mukherjee champions the notion that there need not be a boundary between text and image as the reader experiences palpable colour and movement in the written words.


Esme 2

Hello! My name is Esme and I am a Senior Consultant at Inspired Selection, I have been with the company for almost 3 and a half years now and I can honestly say it has flown by. My role at Inspired is focused on recruiting into the STM (science, technical and medical) and Education publishing sectors, working with my clients and candidates to find the absolute best fit for everyone. My background is in science communication and outreach work in schools so this is an area that I absolutely love and thrive in.

What do I love most about my job? It’s got to be the people, and don’t just mean my colleagues (they are wonderful though), it’s about all the candidates and clients I get to meet every day, it’s about digging down and finding out what the persons niche is and what they absolutely love doing and then finding that perfect fit in a new job and company that makes them happy. It’s not just about finding people a ‘job’ – it’s about their career, their happiness and making sure they’ve had the best experience possible.

Some images that depict me –

 Esme ViewEsme AllotmentEsme cat

 How to be Both – Ali Smith

I really struggled to get into ‘How to be Both’ by Ali Smith. Normally, I’m a kind of, ‘pick up a book and finish it in two days’ kinda girl so it was a bit of a shock to end up dithering over this one for the best part of two weeks.
The story is in two parts – the book started with a disembodied spirit trying to find it’s way on the earth who ends up staring at the back of a boy looking at a painting in a museum gallery, this ‘boy’ was in fact George, a teenage girl from modern day Cambridge as we find out later on in the novel. She was looking at a painting by a relatively unknown renaissance artist of the 15th Century – Francesco del Cossa, a born girl disguised as a male in order to us her talent as an artist in some of the grandest courtyards in Italy.

Francesco’s story took up the first half of the novel and ended after she had completed three wall panels each showing a month of the year – this is what present day George was staring at when the spirit saw her. Francesco wrote a letter asking the Duke for more money than the other artists due to her level of skill – and this is how George’s mother, and the rest of the world came to find out about her.

The book then flips to modern day with George – her mother had recently died and it tells the tale of her typical teenage struggles but also, the lead up to the death and the trip to Italy to see Francesco’s work. I found George’s story the one that affected me most, and perhaps that’s because it is closer to home and closer to what I know and understand today.

Saying that, it was an interesting experiment for me, an intertwining story of completely different worlds and an example of how these can subtlety influence each other. How to be both is not the most enjoyable book I’ve ever read, it was sad and upsetting at times but having had time to reflect on the story, hats off to Ali Smith – it was an interesting one at that.