Saturday, March 01, 2008


NEVER EVER UNDERESTIMATE the importance of a well-taken author photograph. It can make or break a book, especially in an overcrowded literary marketplace where good writing is not the sole criterion in the reader’s buying decision. Yes, I am talking about the professionally taken photographs of authors you see on the flaps or back cover of books and even publicity stills. The photograph of James Wood which I used in a previous blogpost was taken by the amazing Miriam Berkley, a freelance photographer based in New York who specialises in capturing authors at their very best for newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs.

Berkley is indeed a wonderful photographer: so many of my favourite writers are in her portfolio! She has photographed authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Vikram Chandra, Charles Frasier, Romesh Gunasekara, Ha Jin, Aryn Kyle, Doris Lessing, Astrid Lindgren, Norman Mailer, David Malouf, Dinaw Mengestu, Denise Mina, Grace Paley, Arundhati Roy, José Saramago and Mark Slouka, among other literary heavyweights. She photographed Orhan Pamuk in Sweden a few weeks before he was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. Her colour photograph of David Mitchell crouching is on the jacket of Black Swan Green (2006) and has been published in many magazines and newspapers. Her photograph of Susanna Clarke embellishes the back jacket of the British edition of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004).

Who else has Berkley captured on film? Check out her webpage on Publishers Marketplace as well as on the Photoshop Users page to find out more about her work and the authors she has worked with. Who knows, you might want to put out a great photograph of yourself on your next book!

Photographs © Miriam Berkley
All photographs used with the kind permission of the photographer


Blogger E. Lee said...

Dear Mr. Forbes,

thank you for your lovely blog, it is very informative, visually pleasing and a joy to read. I look forward to more of your future posts. I am now secure in the knowledge that the Malaysian literary scene is more than thriving.

Friday, February 15, 2008 4:05:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Thanks for your vote of confidence ... and your kind words!

Friday, February 15, 2008 6:49:00 PM  

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