Burying the Hachette with Manchester’s new super publisher

'We are all very, very tense. The atmosphere is roughly equivalent to running into your ex’s new partner at a party’

Dear Millers — for today’s piece we visited Blackfriars House, the new Mancunian home of Hachette. We sent Sophie Atkinson back for a follow-up interview with its CEO David Shelley to find out what one of the UK’s biggest publishers has planned for the writers and illustrators of the North.

Yesterday we published a story by Dani who spoke to Zia, an Afghan asylum seeker who has made a new life in Manchester. He told her about his harrowing journey to the UK. You can read that here.

He was detained in what he describes as an army prison. The conditions were cramped: there was no toilet, and as many as 300 people were crowded inside, sleeping on the bare concrete. He shared his cell with 50 people. 

One day he was told, “You will be released today,” a phrase that was met with trepidation — it was usually a euphemism for execution. People were killed, even though “you could be as innocent as a child,” he says. “It’s one of those things which is beyond imagination.” After two months, he wa…

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