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Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani

In the middle of 2006, we came up with loads of ideas for things for HarperPress to do with the paperback release of Gautam Malkani’s controversial debut novel Londonstani.

The brief was to do something that would bring the book to the attention of a different set of readers – people who didn’t care (or even know about) the fuss in literary London about the size of the advance paid.

The “big idea” we hoped would get through – but didn’t – was of taking over one of Hounslow’s tube stations, and covering it in graffiti pointing to a MySpace page for Londonstani. (Transport for London weren’t that keen.)

We suggested that the MySpace page be written in character, and would serialise Londonstani, in its entirety, over the course of the 3 months before publication.

At the same time, a quarter of a million samplers featuring the first 4 chapters of the book would be distributed in clubs, record shops, clothes shops and generally in not-very-bookish places. The photos at left are from The Notting HIll Arts Club’s night, Bombay Bronx, run by Radio 1 DJ Nihal.

Sadly neither of the first two happened, and the resulting MySpace page had nothing to do with us. But, the samplers were produced, albeit in smaller numbers, and given out with Don’t Panic.

And we did get to do some graffiti, creating the artwork for the print campaign with one of London’s finest (and nicest) writers, Remi.

At the end, we made a film of Remi, which we think is rather sweet. You can see it on the left, or on YouTube.

Produced by Peter Collingridge. Directed, shot and edited by Andy McGregor. Music by Nick Moore.

More projects like this: Book Promos, Film, Publishing

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