Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Who I am

I was born in Glasgow, and live in Glasgow. I am the author of several books and I have created this blog to promote my book Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know.

Here are some highly selective details on my publishing and writing career.


I joined William Collins in 1985 as an Assistant Editor, was promoted to Commissioning Editor in 1992, and was made redundant in October 2004. Over the course of my career I have been responsible for a wide variety of books, including the prestigious subject dictionary list, with titles such as the Collins Dictionary of Medicine, Collins Dictionary of Mathematics, Collins Dictionary of Economics and Collins Dictionary of Sociology becoming standard reference works in their fields.

Other books I organised or commissioned include the Collins Good Writing Guide, books for The Times such as the Brief Letters books, Questions Answered, The Times Style Guide, The Times Book of Quotations and The Times Book of English Verse, Collins Dictionary of Quotations and Nigel Rees's A Word in Your Shell-Like.

I was also responsible for the highly prestigious Alexander text of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (published from Glasgow since the early 1950s, with a full revision overseen by me published in 1994), and the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (in print since 1948 and also then published from Glasgow), which I managed in conjunction with Oscar Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland. In the mid-90s I also produced a series of collected works based on the old Collins Gift Classics series, with new introductions from authors such as Patrick O'Brian and Owen Dudley Edwards.

(Digression: I had the whole Shakespeare proofread in 93/94, which threw up some intriguing misprints native to the Alexander text, including a reference by the Doctor in Macbeth to 'Duninsane' rather than 'Dunsinane'. No one seems to have noticed for forty years.)

I have also produced many less glamorous but equally profitable books such as the Collins Quiz Books.

I was made redundant in October 2004. My redundancy received publicity in both the Sunday Herald business section and The Bookseller.

I have a sheaf of testimonials (a ‘blush sheet’; see below) from several of my authors which puts the case for me being a paragon of British and particularly Scottish publishing.

I was a fire officer at HarperCollins for seven years and was also the site health and safety representative for the National Union of Journalists.

I am also an occasional film and TV extra (or ‘supporting artiste’). Roles include

- a man in a hat being spat at by Jamie Bell in Hallam Foe

- a street drinker in Irvine Welsh’s Wedding Belles

- a drunk in Taggart; an awed audience  member at a seance in Taggart; a gallus stroller past the Citizens Theatre in Taggart; a nonchalant drinker at the Citz bar in Taggart

- a mad scientist in the Stagecoach ‘Bus of Britain’ advert (the one with the clipboard)

- the French personification of a Doritos Blue Cheese flavour crisp in a Doritos Collisions ad filmed in Arrochar (the one holding the big cheese)

In the late 1990s I was joint winner (hi Caroline) of a national anti-Turner Prize  self-portrait competition organised by The Bookseller . There were two entrants to the competition.


DR JOHN CAIRNEY, Actor and Author of The Man Who Played Robert Burns

I am by far the least successful author Edwin Moore has ever
dealt with in his near twenty years as an editor, yet he
dealt with me as if I were a best-seller and gave me the same
attention, courtesy and deference that so many better authors
deserve. Mine was a collection of Burns Poems and Songs,
which was to be edited and given an Introduction. There have
been hundreds of Burns editions but he made me feel that mine
for HarperCollins was not only the first, but the best, and
he worked on it with me as if it were. That is the mark of a
true professional. He loves words, good books and Scotland's
publishing pedigree. He deserves to be considered as an asset
to any company, which aims to provide quality with integrity.

JULIA CRESSWELL, Author of Collins Dictionary of First Names
and The Guinness Book of British Place Names

I have worked as an author with Edwin Moore and the Glasgow
reference department over 16 years and five books, and have
always found them the most approachable and easiest
department to get along with of all the publishers I have
worked for. At a meeting of the Society of Authors for
HarperCollins writers each author had their say of their
experiences working for the company. Each in turn complained
of never being able to get hold of people, not having their
letters and calls responded to, and of the high turnover of
staff which meant that you never knew who you were dealing
with, and no one knew you. Until, that is, it was my turn.
Everyone gaped as I said that I never had any trouble getting
hold of people, my calls were always returned and I got all
the help and support I needed; that even though I had never
met them, I had come to regard the editors as friends. The
difference, I explained, was that they were all dealing with
London, while I was dealing with Glasgow.

CHARLES DOYLE, Author of Collins Dictionary of Marketing and
Global Director of Marketing for Accenture

Edwin Moore identified and persuaded me to compile the Collins Dictionary
of Marketing, having been insightful enough to have spotted a
gap in the market (and indeed in the Collins reference book
range) for this increasingly important subject. I was
initially reluctant to do it, but Eddie persuaded me of its
value. I could not have compiled the Dictionary without
Eddie's help, support, expertise and suggestions. He has a
great gift of being demanding and helpful at the same time,
as my initial efforts were short of the target number of
pages, and I was in danger of overruning my deadlines. Eddie
got me to completion at the right length and depth by making
some innovative recommendations along the way. Eddie is not
only highly professional, deeply knowledgeable and rigorous,
he is also good fun to work with. He does a great job in
presenting the public and human face of HarperCollins to
people like me. I look forward to working with him again on
future editions, and other projects that I have in mind.

OWEN DUDLEY EDWARDS, Historian and Biographer

My deepest thanks are due to Edwin Moore, my commissioning
editor at HarperCollins, who has been a joy to work with from
start to finish: had he been on the Strand magazine Sherlock
Holmes would have been out of the Reichenbach five years
earlier than he was, so irresistible is his good nature.
(From the Acknowledgments to the Collins Complete Sherlock Holmes)

GEORGE MACDONALD FRASER, Novelist and Historian

I was shocked to hear that Edwin is going. Speaking as a contributor and
grateful reader and user of his reference books, I can say
that he's done a brilliant job over the years; the product
has been first class, and how the firm thinks they can do
without Edwin is beyond me.

BILL HALE, author of the Collins Dictionary of Biology

During the course of my career I have written many hundreds
of references, ranging from the very bad to those which have
been excellent. There is no adjective to improve upon this
latter description; the Oxford Dictionary defines it as
'pre-eminent' - and this is what Edwin is in his field.
Throughout the sixteen years of the existence of Collins
Dictionary of Biology, and prior to this during the course of
its having been written, Edwin has provided the support which
any author would pray for. I have written many articles for
magazines, innumerable papers for many different scientific
journals, seven books and contributed to many other books.
Never have I had an editor (and I have probably crossed
swords with a hundred or more) with Edwin's ability in all
aspects of the job. From calming my irritation (usually at
some ridiculous management decision - and here we have one of
the most ridiculous I have encountered with the implication
that Edwin is dispensable!) to correcting my errors with such
tact as to make me feel that he was really responsible for
them. Edwin is not dispensable! It is said frequently that
no-one is indispensable. Edwin is the exception which proves
the rule! I do not write open testimonials. Every reference I
have ever written has been confidential. I make the exception
here because Edwin is exceptional. Collins could find no
better editor or promoter of Collins as an organisation. I
cannot write too highly of him and I know that many others of
his authors feel similarly. Like any valuable institution
Edwin should be preserved!

I would like to record that in all my dealings with Ed Moore I
have found him unexceptionably helpful, knowledgeable,
enthusiastic and approachable. He seems to me to have every
quality, professional and personal, desirable in a top-class
editor in his field, and far from letting him go, any
sensible employer should be slapping a preservation order on him.

MERLIN HOLLAND, biographer and grandson of Oscar Wilde

Of all publishers' editors I have ever dealt with, I can think of none who came closer to every author's ideal: you inspired, you nursemaided, (you also played the governess when necessary), you listened, you reasoned, you had no preconceptions (other than an unshakable belief in high standards) and all this built on the foundation of a great breadth of knowledge and that intangible but indispensable quality in a publisher, a 'gut-feeling' for an idea, which in your case was almost always right. You also became a friend, which gave me the added incentive to deliver the very best of which I was capable, and an extra dimension of pleasure to seeing our projects successfully put into print.

Unfortunately these days you seldom hear authors saying that they are proud of the way their books have been produced. I can, however, say that the Collins Complete Works of Oscar Wilde was a book with which I was proud to be associated, not only editorially, but also as a physical object. Wilde scholars and students the world over continue to tell me what joy it is to use -- a clearly printed, properly stitched reference book which doesn't fall apart, which can be kept and enjoyed, as books once were. It was a decision which probably flew in the face of cost-cutting accountants at the time, but which has contributed to the book's enormous success, many reprints and present status as the definitive edition of Wilde's works. Just one small example of gut-feeling and attention to detail which paid handsomely in the long term and assured you of my loyalty and continued interest in updating the edition when you were at HC.

I respect your integrity, I admire your professional ability and I appreciate your sense of humour and your friendship, and I hope that I shall continue to enjoy them all.

PHILIP HOWARD, The Times columnist

I have always enjoyed working with Edwin, the professional. I
look forward to working with him again. He is the least
redundant and most professional editor I know. He is a friend
as well as a colleague. And he makes me laugh.

historian and biographer of WB Yeats

I have known Edwin Moore for over 15 years and have the highest opinion of and regard for him. He is learned, has critical insight and a nice sense
of humour. Additional reasons for my considering him an
outstanding publisher are that he brings to his work,
especially his editing, a balanced judgement and a high
degree of efficiency. Edwin obviously gets the best out of
his colleagues and to be edited by him means that any
suggestions or questions will be given the most careful and
courteous attention and consideration. He is prompt to reply,
very easy to work with, and he has a certain flair, something
hard to define but invaluable in a publisher. I have had the
pleasure of working with Edwin on several projects, such as
the Collins Dictionary of Quotations, the Gem Yeats
Anthology, and The Complete Novels of Charlotte and Emily
Bronte, and I have always found him impeccable, inventive and
with an innate 'feel' for any book with which he is
concerned. I consider Collins extremely fortunate in having
his services. It surprises me that he has not been given the
senior management role for which he is so obviously suited. I
shall be happy to answer any detailed questions about him.

MIKE MUNRO, Author of The Patter

I have been involved in publishing for 25 years and in all
that time I've never come across a better publishing brain
than Edwin Moore's. In the 14 years that I've known him, his
intelligence, thoughtfulness and creativity have constantly
been in evidence. No-one is more adept at keeping several
balls in the air at once and adhering to the most demanding
of deadlines, and he is always in full command of any project
he initiates or runs, no matter how complex or seemingly
intractable. His generosity, kindness and humour make him a
delight both to work with and to claim as a friend.

CHRISTOPHER PASS, Author of Collins Dictionary of
Economics and Collins Dictionary of Business

Edwin has been helping me produce the Dictionary of Economics
and the Dictionary of Business for the past twelve years.
This work has involved annual updates of entries to existing
editions and the more onerous task of bringing out new
editions. A 4th Edition of the Dictionary of Economics is
shortly to appear, while the Dictionary of Business is in its
3rd Edition.

As a result of this work I have been in regular contact with
Edwin. Edwin has been an immense help in offering advice and
in attention to detail regarding publishing matters. It has
been a pleasure in having such an experienced, enthusiastic
and efficient editor on my side. I have had 12 other books
published including titles with Blackwell, Routledge and
Prentice Hall. Their editions have been good, but Edwin has
always put in that little bit extra which makes him stand out.

ROGER PORKESS, Author of the Collins Dictionary of Statistics

Working with Edwin Moore was a privilege and a pleasure. His
experience and savoir faire make him the sort of editor that
authors really hope to find themselves working with.

We communicated frequently while the book was in progress,
both by e-mail and telephone, and he was unfailingly
courteous and appreciative of what I was trying to say.
Whenever a difficulty arose, as happens inevitably during the
production of a book, Edwin was quick to understand the point
at issue, to suggest a way forward, and to make any
appropriate support available.

The publishing industry needs, and should cherish, people like Edwin.

NIGEL REES, Broadcaster and Author

I have known Edwin Moore since 1995 and in that time he has
edited my Dictionary of Slogans and most recently A Word In
Your Shell-Like: 6000 Curious & Everyday Phrases Explained.
Ed captured the latter extremely successful venture for
Collins when it might have been snapped up by two other
prominent publishing houses. My decision to have it published
by Collins owes a great deal to the enormous friendliness and
enthusiasm Ed had shown towards me and my work in the period
between these two books. It is an object lesson in the value
of editor and author keeping in touch over time, chatting,
swapping ideas, even when there is no book in prospect. I am
most grateful to him.

IAN SINCLAIR, author of the Collins Dictionary of Electronics
and Collins Dictionary of Computers and IT
My association with Edwin Moore has been fruitful and friendly, enjoyable
and rewarding. We first worked together in 1987 on my
Dictionary of Computing, now into a fourth edition, and from
the beginning I greatly admired his unflappable approach to
the work as much as his assiduous efforts to ensure

BILL TIDY, Cartoonist and Broadcaster

Edwin carries on the great tradition I read about as a kid.
Everyone wrote about editors who were hard and ruthless yet
in the end they always met someone like Ed who coaxed and
encouraged them and was aware of their problems. Collins
must be mad to claymore him.

ROBERT YOUNGSON, author of Collins Dictionary of Medicine

Edwin Moore has been my editor throughout the preparation of
the second and third editions of the Collins Dictionary of
Medicine. I have nothing but praise for the splendid work he
has done in the design and production of these two books. I
do not think I have ever had a more approachable, agreeable,
cooperative or helpful editor and, having worked with editors
at seventeen other houses, I have grounds for comparison. I
am proud of the books that Edwin has produced for me and will
always look on the Medical Dictionary with greater
satisfaction than I have had from any of my other books. By
December 2003 almost 113,000 copies had been sold.

1 comment:

  1. My Eddie you're a dark horse! I've known you more than 2o years and have realised how little I know you - you enigmatic devil!. That was quite a read. Do you think when I grow up I'll be famous? There's no better compliment than an insult from The SUN.