The Man Behind the Talk

Scott Pack

Over the last four years Scott Pack has been able to work with writers, publishers and speakers to put on Around the World in 10 Books. He sings their praises as he introduces them, but is not nearly so descriptive of his own achievements.

A writer, editor and publisher, Scott has worked at publishing houses both big and small, as well as been Head of Buying for Waterstones. He has published many successful writers, including Nikesh Shukla, Natsume Soseki, Kristin Hersh, Julie Schumacher, Niven Govinden, and Brian Aldiss.

Scott has also written a number of humour and trivia books under the pseudonym Steve Stack and, under his own name, written for The Times, Guardian, Observer and Private Eye.

In 1991 he was commissioned to write a poetry collection, entitled aardvark. 25 years later he launched his second book of poetry, Weightless Fireworks. Published with Unbound, Weightless Fireworks is a collection of Japanese Haiku with a slightly different twist. The Haiku still all follow the rules: all three lines; 5, 7, 5 syllables; but they might be about eating crisps, or having your milk delivered, all manner of different things.


In my view, Haiku originated from poets who had seen or witnessed something that they wanted to share with someone else. Often with Haiku it was a natural thing, maybe a frog jumping in a pond, or snowfall.

But if you think about it, that’s what Twitter is. It’s people going ‘I’ve just seen this and I’ve got to tell you about it!’ in a limited number of characters. And Haiku was doing that a thousand years ago. It’s the original social media. It’s people wanting to share what they’ve experienced with other people, but choosing to do it through very tiny poems.

I think that it’s fascinating. And when Haiku are translated from Japanese, it’s doubly fascinating, because of course you can’t translate them with the syllable count. It’s just not possible to get a true translation.

2 Responses to The Man Behind the Talk

  1. Lily on June 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm says:

    At the launch for ‘Here and There’, it’s been so great to hear about someone’s experience of translated literature and film over (half) a lifetime.

  2. Kate Haines on June 22, 2017 at 6:21 pm says:

    Great to see already how by documenting this event at Bath Festivals this conversation about literature in translation can reach new audiences – evolving and continuing. At the launch of ‘Here and There’ Scott Pack and Amy Barrett both talked so engagingly and powerfully about the personal connections enabled by accessing creative writing and diverse voices in translation and why this work needs to be valued in the publishing industry.

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