Nigel Beale grew up in England and Canada. He left Toronto for Sark in the Channel Islands at age five, sailing back to Saskatoon, at least part of the way, when he was eleven. He graduated with a BA (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan, then went to Queen´s University in Kingston, Ontario where he completed a Masters degree in Public Administration – not to work for government, but to sell to it.
During the mid-1980s he was Membership Director at the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Trade where he helped double membership in less than three years. It didn’t hurt that John Manley was Chairman for one of them.
In 1989 he established a media rep-house that provided ad sales representation to national magazines in the National Capital Region. Thanks to Ted Gittings he was soon representing some of the largest circulation magazines in the country. Ted put him in touch with Rob Morris and Paul Aunger, owners of a feature news distribution service, for whom he established an Ottawa office; within three years regional sales revenues had more than quadrupled. He also worked on a number of successful contract publishing ventures with Rod, including Canadian Tire’s Autoroute magazine, and membership directories for The Toronto Board of Trade and the FCM.
During this time he worked with virtually every Canadian federal government department and many leading national associations and blue chip corporations, writing, editing, and packaging into a variety of different formats (Print, CD, Audio/Video), news items that were distributed to, and used by, thousands of newspapers, and radio and TV stations across Canada. Many features he wrote enjoyed documented readership in the hundreds of millions. During this period Nigel was also, for a time, part owner of inMedia, a leading research-based public relations agency.
During the 1990s his articles and book reviews appeared in Policy Options magazine, Marketing magazine, PRCanada and Strategy Magazine, where, from 1994-1999, his monthly column On Media appeared.
In 2005 he decided to explore and indulge his passion for books and travel full-time.
Since then he’s been a passionate advocate for literary tourism spending much of his time travelling around the world visiting bookstores and literary destinations, attending literary festivals and events, and blogging and podcasting about them. As a result of wanting to both share his stories with other book-loving travellers – to inspire, and make it easier for them to enjoy the pleasures he’s experienced – and to encourage cities around the world to investigate, nurture and celebrate local literary life, both past and present, he launched www.literarytourist.org
Over the past decade he has photographed some 5000 books, bookshops, authors and booksellers; and written thousands of literary blog posts, and scores of book reviews and literary and travel features. He’s also compiled a number of impressive book collections, including one illustrating the evolution of Canadian book design, and another of English language publishers’ histories. Last, but not least – he’s conducted hundreds of interviews with renowned authors, booksellers, publishers, collectors, printers and sundry other book people around the world for a popular podcast he hosts and produces called The Biblio File
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