Neil Belton (Head of Zeus, UK)

Neil Belton heads up a new non-fiction and literary list as editorial director and publisher at Head of Zeus. He previously worked for Jonathan Cape, Granta and Faber & Faber. In the course of his career he has published Jared Diamond, Stephen Jay Gould, Will Hutton, Brian Keenan, Eric Lomax, John Gray, James Hamilton-Paterson, Matthew Hollis and Orlando Figes. He has written two books, a biography and a novel, and was awarded the Irish Times Non-Fiction Prize for The Good Listener.


Danger on the border

  • The border between fiction and non-fiction is dangerous, endlessly debatable land. It’s a border thathas to be carefully controlled, because when fiction or fakery displaces truth the results can be disastrous.
  • The role of the editor can be very seductive, tempting him or her into improving a text at the expense of historical truth.
  • When authorship is diluted by researchers, co-writers and assistants, what is the status of the book we are being asked to believe in? There is aninteresting grey zone: ‘impure’ books that are not easy to categorize as either fiction or non-fiction.