Author Simon Winchester Visits the Orion Office

On Friday, January 7, Orion had the honor and pleasure of hosting renowned writer and resident of the Berkshires, Simon Winchester, for conversation and lunch. An Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and the author of more than twenty books, Mr. Winchester recently returned from a global book tour for his latest offering Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (HarperCollins, 2010).

The subject of the informal discussion was the present and future of the publishing world, taking into consideration the pull and proliferation of e-readers, the infusion of multimedia into the reading experience, and the intricate process of publicizing a book. Mr. Winchester, fresh from his experience of publishing Atlantic, described how he prepared the book to take form not only in print, but in audio, Kindle, and enhanced e-book versions as well. Readers will notice in the enhanced e-book version that embedded in various places in the book are mini-clips or videos of Mr. Winchester giving the definition of obscure words, describing his travels on the Atlantic Ocean, and delivering a dedication to his wife. A natural, consequent question is: how does multimedia influence the reading experience?

With charm and flair, Mr. Winchester concluded our lunch with a recitation of poet Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse.” We hope he visits us again, and urge readers to look out for his books.

Atlantic was reviewed in the January/February 2011 issue of the magazine.