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Seems fine; isn't so fine

Wednesday 2/1/23

This is a letter from John Atkinson, who was the editor for Scrooge. Seems fine at first, right? Friendly. Etc.

Dear Colin

A very Happy New Year to you and I hope all’s well.

I’m writing with some news - I’m leaving LUP at the end of the month. I would’ve liked to have let you know sooner, but perhaps inevitably my departure has led to a bit of a reshuffle in Editorial and I wanted to make sure all the pieces were in place before I contacted you, so as to make the transition as smooth as possible.

My colleague Ally Lee is going to be taking over commissioning in film and, should you need to, will be your in-house editorial contact from 1 February. Ally has worked at LUP for a number of years, first in production and more recently in an editorial capacity. Ally has an academic background in film, and is a really lovely guy. You can reach him at

I’m leaving the Press of my own volition, on excellent terms and with their very best wishes (or so they say!). There are a number of overlapping reasons for my departure, but it broadly comes down to this – after running Auteur single-handedly for 20 years, then integrating it into LUP during a pandemic, I need a re-set. I’d begun to feel like an old computer with too many browser tabs open, getting slower and crankier and I felt I was in danger of doing the list I’d built up, and its new owners, a disservice if I kept doing it.

So, I’m going to do something else – although, at the time of writing, I don’t know what that is! So if you hear of anything where my particular skillset could be put to use, please do reach out. My [redacted] email address remains active and personal to me, so it would be lovely to hear from you from time to time. And of course there’s always the social medias. I do feel a bit sad to be leaving before most of the books I’ve commissioned at LUP are yet to see the light of day but I will be watching with interest and a little bit of pride in how the list develops.

I want to thank you for being a wonderful and collegial co-conspirator on Scrooge, a project I know meant a lot to you, and wish you nothing but the best for all your future projects.

Take care

John A

Here's the truth:


No offense, but it made me laugh that you mentioned me keeping you in mind.

In December 2021, I lined up an excerpt of the Scrooge book with one of highest circulation venues in America, by traffic, in The Daily Beast. You queered this. You sabotaged sales. It was insane. You worked as if you were someone who didn't want to sell books. A publicist would have killed for that kind of exposure, and you wrote an editor to say you didn't want that excerpt to run. You said I should just write something new--rather than, you know, show people what was in the actual book.

You never paid me for the few copies that did sell. (At a press that, at one point, had a price point of $100 for the needless "hardcover" version of the book. It was like anti-business.)

I nonetheless sent you a full chapter for a new book--so work for free--and an outline, and you ignored that.

Sadly, it doesn't surprise me that you take your leave with that little passive aggressive shot about how much the book meant to me. Not you. Not a single kind word about the book. You never said one. You wouldn't even say anything when other people raved about the book.

Again, no offense, but that's pretty funny.

Good luck with your next venture.



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