Outdoor Focus Spring 2019 - Page 16

OUR ASSOCIATE MEMBERS Continuing the series in which the companies and organisations that share our aims and values introduce themselves. An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, Conway publishes books that open up the world through tales of contemporary and historical exploration and adventure. G iven that we’ve been publishing books about sailing for the better part of 75 years – becoming the world’s largest nautical publisher in the process – in hindsight it’s actually a surprise that it took us so long to branch out into publishing books about other outdoor activities. Now it seems an obvious progression, because sailing has a lot in common with many other outdoor pursuits: getting closer to nature, renewing a sense of freedom, indulging a thirst for adventure, and chasing excitement or relaxation – depending on where the mood takes you. We have none other than Ray Mears to thank for expanding our publishing horizons as well as our literal ones. We originally approached Ray to write the Foreword for our defi nitive edition of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. He wrote a fi ne piece about how the story has endured for 300 years precisely because it taps into that spirit of adventure that is in all of us, even if many don’t pay it enough heed. When Ray came back to us with an intriguing proposal for his latest book, diff erent from anything he had ever written before, we couldn’t resist – even though it had nothing to do with the sea. That proposal became Out on the Land, a beautifully photographed journey into the Boreal forest of the North to study and demonstrate the traditional bushcraft skills of the region that have survived and thrived for centuries. The book has proved a fantastic success – but one book does not make a publishing list. So we began our search for more ideas that would take both us and our readers outside our comfort zones. Other big successes that have followed include Martin Dorey’s The Camper Van Bible and his new Take the Slow Road series. Martin has made a lifestyle and a career out of his camper van adventures, and his inspirational writing is enough to make anyone quietly envious of his travels. Who needs a hotel when you can drive your own accommodation to your destination and, if you fi nd a better spot en- route, stay there instead? You don’t need a camper van to do that, of course, and Stephen Neale’s two books for us – Camping by the Waterside and Wild Camping - are beautifully written and sometimes provocative celebrations of camping, whether that’s on a stunning site overlooking the sea with watersports facilities in abundance, or in a remote part of the highlands, far from ‘civilisation’. Along with Sian Lewis’ The Girl Outdoors, Jen and Sim Benson’s The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain and the soon-to-be-published Days Out Underground by Peter Naldrett, ideas for fun outside the offi ce are being happily fed by our work indoors. So where are we looking to go next? The truth is we want authors who can answer that question for us. Whether the canvas is a tent or a sail, and the engine is in a camper van or on the back of a boat, if someone wants to read a book that will help them pursue their adventure, we want to publish it. And if someone wants to be the one who writes that book, we want to hear from them. www.bloomsbury.com/uk/non-fiction/travel-and-adventure 16 Outdoor focus | spring 2019