Introduction 2023

In 2014, Prospect Books was bought by Marion Boyars Publishers, with Catheryn Kilgarriff at the helm, and Tom Jaine still involved as editor of Petits Propos Culinaires. Catheryn Kilgarriff has run Marion Boyars Publishers since her mother, Marion Boyars, passed away in 1999. She published authors who quickly became famous, including the Turkish writer Elif Shafak (The Flea Palace & The Gaze), Baghdad Burning by Riverbend, the first woman Iraqi blogger, and had commercial successes including K: The Art of Love by Hong Ying and The Alchemy of Paint by Spike Bucklow. Catheryn first became aware of Prospect Books when she had a meeting with Danielle Smith at the Frontline Club in Marylebone. Danielle is the founder of the charity, Sandblast which campaigns for the rights of the Saharawi people who are refugees in SW Algeria. Catheryn was publishing a novel by Luis Leante, See How Much I Love You, about the plight of the Saharawi people. Danielle arrived at the meeting with a copy of the most recent Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food, which she had just bought at Books for Cooks. The volume fascinated them both.

Catheryn was on the Writers in Translation committee at English Pen for six years, and is still a member of the organisation. She is a volunteer for Richmond Libraries. Her life is organised around her love of books.

Catheryn Kilgarriff at  St John restaurant in Smithfield, January 2020.
Prospect Books was founded by the late Alan Davidson and his wife Jane Davidson in 1979, at the same time as their journal of food history Petits Propos Culinaires. The new editor, from September 2023, is Sam Bilton. Prospect Books was owned by Tom Jaine from 1993 to 2014 (pictured here), and Tom Jaine became the editor of Petits Propos Culinaires in 2000. After 63 issues, he retiredin September 2023, and please email submissions to Sam Bilton, at Prospect Books publishes books on cookery, food history, occasionally books on gardening, and the ethnology of food. It is one of the very few British publishers to specialise in this field and produces four to eight books a year. Petits Propos Culinaires is published three times a year and contains articles, sometimes extracts from books or reprints, as well as reviews of current publications. More information is obtainable elsewhere on the site. Please read this two-part article by the late Alan Davidson describing the activities of Prospect Books and PPC from the time of its foundation in 1979. The original articles can be found in PPC 47 and 48.

Profile of Tom Jaine in the Telegraph