Freelance Journalist Interview with Josephine Bacon

Josephine Bacon’s work has popped up like mushrooms across the UK and USA over the course of her journalistic career. The fungi enthusiast is an author and book translator, and will also be at the Gourmand Cookbook Fair and Gefiltefest in London sharing her culinary knowledge. Read on for much more about the multi-talented food writer; she’s a (…wait for it…) fungi[rl]!

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
Mainly about food, but I have also written on other subjects, such as translation and interpreting, foreign languages in general (I am a professional translator and interpreter) and about the Middle East.

Where are we likely to see your work?
In professional journals such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting Bulletin, the ATA Chronicle, the Jewish Chronicle, etc. But you are more likely to see my work as an author and book translator. I have written around 15 books and translated over 100.

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
My favourite article was my interview with the then Housing Minister Patricia Hornsby-Smith which I wrote for Kemsley newspapers when I was thirteen!

Seriously, my favourite journalistic works were the food and travel articles I wrote for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in the 1980s. Please look me up on Google to see what I have written. My latest book is “The Popeye Cookbook”. I shall be appearing at the Gourmand Cookbook Fair in Paris where I shall be giving a demonstration from the book and also at the Gefiltefest in London, where I shall be giving a talk about the history of Jewish cookery books. I often give talks on this subject. I have written an article about my experience working on “The Good Cook” series for Time-Life Books in the 1970s which is available for publication. I think it is quite amusing, though I say so myself. Fortunately, the main protagonists, who are still well-known to this day (Richard Olney, Alan Davidson, etc.) are dead so they won’t be able to sue me!

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I would love to write regular features on the world of fungi, the third kingdom, amazing recent applications for fungi, such as new antibiotics, statins, etc. and work done on the usefulness of the macrofungi in medicine. I would also love to write political articles, such as the scandal of privatisation and how huge funds are being lavished on a few individual companies at the expense of the individuals who are forced to work for them at less than minimum wage. I would also like to write regularly about Jewish food, I have the right name for it!!!

About you and PRs:

Where do you source ideas for articles?
From my authorship and my daily work as a translator.

How can PRs be useful to you?
Yes, they often email me with ideas, kitchen gadgets, etc.

How and when do you like them to get in touch?
Via email preferably, also by phone (landline, not mobile).

Do you find press conferences, trips, parties and other events useful or an interruption?
Press trips are great but not parties. Some food events are also useful, as a member of the Guild of Foodwriters I get invited to a lot of them.

If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
If they gave me more and more lucrative work!

About you:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
As a translator/interpreter.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
On botox, and two crowns for my teeth! I am a great believer in cosmetic surgery, especially as you get older.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
Books: ‘Frying Tonight: The History of Fish and Chips’ by Gerald Priestland, ‘The Boys’ by Martin Gilbert, A compendium of short stories published in 1932.

Magazines: Private Eye (my Bible!), the Jewish Chronicle, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting Bulletin, the American Translators Association Chronicle, The Mycophile (magazine of the North American Mycological Association), Field Mycology published by the British Mycological Association.

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