Philip Gwyn Jones

Philip Gwyn Jones – Editor

I can guide you to publishing success, having delivered it for Allende, Ballard, Boo, Catton, Coupland, Hankinson, Klein, Lahiri, Roy et al

Overview

A seasoned editor and publisher with 30 years' high-level experience at the heart of literary publishing in the UK, and a passionate and persuasive campaigner for the life-saving properties of great writing. Previously Publisher of [in reverse chronological order] Picador, Scribe UK, Granta/Portobello Books, Flamingo, Fontana Press. Let me advise you on how to bring your book to its rightful readership. I work flexibly, decisively, sympathetically and crisply with ambitious writers and thinkers.

I bring my editing and publishing experience to bear on your work, to help you shape your idea or material into something that will chime with commissioning editors in today's marketplace. Making a strong first impression is so crucial, and I will work with you to shape your pitch, your proposal, your platform and/or your pages into something that knocks recipients out. If you're keen to optimize your chances of submitting successfully and speed your passage to publication, try me!
Services
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs History Political Science & Current Affairs
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction Literary Fiction
Languages
English (UK)
Awards
  • Books and writers I have published have won the Nobel, Booker, Pulitzer, James Tait Black, Women’s, PEN, John Llewellyn Rhys, National Book Award, Goncourt, German Book, Governor General’s, NBCC and CWA Gold Dagger prizes, and been shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Orwell Prize, Goldsmiths Prize, Baillie Gifford Prize, Costa Book Award, Commonwealth Writers Prize, amongst others

Work experience

Picador

Jun, 2020 — Sep, 2022 (over 2 years)

I started as the Publisher of Picador during Lockdown in the heat of the Black Lives Matter debates, amid biases being challenged and histories reassessed. I looked to channel some of that energy and purpose into Picador's publishing, diversifying our commissioning, our strategy, our staffing, as Picador turned 50 and Picador Poetry turned 25. The pandemic years 2020-21 were two of Picador's finest three ever, financially. That commercial performance was matched by notable literary success, with the biggest prizes in fiction and nonfiction, Booker and Baillie Gifford, going to Picador books, by Douglas Stuart and Patrick Radden Keefe respectively. In 2022, nine different Picador books won literary prizes, and eleven others were shortlisted. I refreshed the team, looking to boost our issues, personality and gift publishing, reinforcing our backlist sub-imprints, and redoubling our focus on outsider stories, the future canon, and the new appetite for twisted-genre books.

Scribe UK

Jan, 2014 — Apr, 2020 (about 6 years)

Commissioning a list of carefully curated works of idea-led non-fiction and original fiction mostly from writers in the UK and EU, in the belief that each is a contender for literary prizes, for the UK start-up branch of the eminent Australian independent publishing house. Among my commissions here were books of memoir, reportage, popular science, historical fiction, polemic, health, nature writing, contemporary fiction, smart thinking and social science by Simon Akam, Elisabeth Asbrink, Michael Brooks, Elizabeth Cook, Sarah Dry, Danielle Dutton, Hedi Fried, Jeremy Gavron, Andrew Hankinson, Nino Haratischvili, Annaleese Jochems, Jill Lepore, Long Litt Woon, Thomas Maloney, Gavin McCrea, Tessa McWatt, Azadeh Moaveni, Emiliano Monge, Samer Nashef, Kathy O'Shaughnessy, Jude Piesse, Amanda Svensson, James Thornton, Eben Venter, and Tommy Wieringa.

Granta & Portobello Books

Oct, 2004 — Jul, 2013 (over 8 years)

I established new independent publishing house Portobello Books with backing from the philanthropist Sigrid Rausing. Portobello was issue-led and internationalist. In 2008, Portobello Books came together with Granta Books, and I became Executive Publisher overseeing both imprints, passionate about bringing stimulating writing to the widest readership. Among the authors whose publications I orchestrated were Lorraine Adams, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Elif Batuman, Katherine Boo, Eleanor Catton, Ian Cobain, Patrick deWitt, Richard Dowden, Hattie Ellis, Jenny Erpenbeck, Janice Galloway, Rose George, Edward Hollis, AM Homes, Cynan Jones, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Frances Larson, Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, DT Max, Rebecca Mead, Herta Müller, Raj Patel, Keith Ridgway, Kathryn Schulz, Jachym Topol and Tommy Wieringa. In 2013, my last year, twelve different books of ours were shortlisted for twelve different literary prizes, and we won five of them, including the Man Booker (Catton), the Women's Prize (Homes) and the Food Book of the Year (Ellis).

Flamingo [an imprint of HarperCollins UK]

May, 1996 — May, 2004 (about 8 years)

Flamingo was the literary imprint of HarperCollins. The first book I acquired was Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, which won the Booker. The proverbial lucky start.

Other writers I commissioned, edited and published at Flamingo were Isabel Allende, JG Ballard, Nicola Barker, Michael Bracewell, Judy Budnitz, Anna Burns, Douglas Coupland, Rana Dasgupta, Agnes Desarthe, Anthony Doerr, Suzannah Dunn, Barbara Gowdy, Lavinia Greenlaw, Philip Hensher, Judith Hermann, Marya Hornbacher, Steve Jones, Sadakat Kadri, Naomi Klein, Jhumpa Lahiri, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Doris Lessing, Jim Lewis, Mark Lynas, Maria McCann, Frank McCourt, Louis Menand, Magnus Mills, George Monbiot, Patrick Ness, Mikael Niemi, Samantha Power, Gianni Riotta, Lionel Shriver, Jane Smiley, Amy Tan and Louisa Young. I had come into publishing fantasizing about reviving the UK reputation of my literary heroine Joan Didion, and that dream came true preposterously quickly, when I was just 25. Everything since has been icing on top.

Fontana Press [an imprint of HarperCollins UK]

May, 1989 — May, 1996 (about 7 years)

Fontana Press was an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers devoted to intellectual non-fiction aimed at curious general readers and undergraduates -- in a period when students could still afford to read around their subject, and not just consume textbooks.

I edited books by professors Malcolm Bowie, JAG Griffith, Frank Kermode, RJ Knecht, Paul Preston, Roy Porter, John Sturrock, Nick Timmins et al, and on the series Fontana History of Science, Fontana History of the Ancient World, Fontana History of Europe, Fontana History of France, Fontana History of Germany, Fontana Masterguides and Fontana Modern Masters.

Portfolio

Lavinia Greenlaw’s mesmerising debut novel about growing up in the surreal banality of mid-’70s Essex. Lavinia Greenlaw puts before us the monochrome, immemorial middle England of the 1970s in all its dowdy glory, and has us see through the mercurial, bewitchi... read more
the first clear anatomy of a confused decade, the 1990s – ‘Bracewell, with great verve and style, animates the cultural conversation’, Greil Marcus 'Michael Bracewell is the most adroitly gifted writer of his generation.' Morrissey Michael Bracewell is now cle... read more
A TIMES POLITICAL BOOK OF THE YEAR A LONGMAN/HISTORY TODAY BOOK OF THE YEAR The award-winning history of the British Welfare State –now fully revised and updated for the 21st Century. ‘A masterpiece’ Sunday Times Giant Want. Giant Disease. Giant Ignorance. Gia... read more
‘They all broke the rules. They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much.’ This is the story of Rahel and Estha, twins growing up among the banana jam vats and peppercorns of... read more
Mrs Engels

Gavin McCrea

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 WALKER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION LONGLISTED FOR THE 2015 GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD Love is a bygone idea, centuries-worn. There are things we can go without, and love is among the... read more
The Age of Consent

George Monbiot

A manifesto for a new world order. Having made a hugely significant contribution to the increasingly irrefutable, if alarming, diagnosis of the ills of early 21st century consumerist culture and its free-market myths, George Monbiot sets out now with this book... read more
The Dance Tree

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The gripping new novel from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Mercies‘Intriguing, haunting, beautiful’ – Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne'I absolutely loved this book' – Elodie Harper, author of The Wolf DenLisbet is pregnant, an... read more
'Ceaselessly interesting, knowledgeable and evocative' Spectator'A fresh way to write history' Alan Johnson'A quirky, amused, erudite homage to France ... ambitious and original' Times'A rich and vibrant narrative . . . clear-eyed but imaginative storytelling'... read more
A Shock

Keith Ridgway

WINNER OF THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE FOR FICTION 2022‘Remarkable' - Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn'Like Finnegans Wake, only readable' - The TimesIn A Shock, a clutch of more or less loosely connected characters appear, disappear and reappear. They are all of... read more
The charming and hilarious tonic we’ve all been waiting for. The Times bestseller, Yours Cheerfully, is the uplifting sequel to Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce.‘The best possible antidote for the blahs, the doldrums, all slumps, all dumps . . . Loved. Every. Word.'... read more
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2022'Original, memorable, shimmering' - Sarah Moss'Extraordinary, kaleidoscopic' - Daisy Johnson'Restlessly inventive . . . delicate and persuasive... read more
The Passenger

Cormac McCarthy

THE TOP TEN BESTSELLER‘[McCarthy] writes prose as clean as a bullet cutting through the air and constructs tales as compelling as any you will read’ – TelegraphA SUNKEN JET. NINE PASSENGERS. A MISSING BODY.The Passenger is the story of a salvage diver, haunted... read more
Very Cold People

Sarah Manguso

‘I can’t think of a writer who is at once so formally daring and so rigorously uncompromising as Sarah Manguso' - Miranda July, author of The First Bad ManNo-one’s there to watch her, so she just waits for the lights to turn on, waits to begin her performance.... read more
Everybody

Olivia Laing

'Intensely moving, vital and artful' - Guardian'A dizzying ride . . . both timely and beguiling' - Sunday TimesAt a moment in which basic rights are once again in danger, Olivia Laing conducts an ambitious investigation into the body and its discontents, using... read more
Orlam

PJ Harvey

Nine-year-old Ira-Abel Rawles lives on Hook Farm in the village of UNDERWHELEM. Next to the farm is Gore Woods, Ira’s sanctuary, overseen by Orlam, the all-seeing lamb’s eyeball who is Ira-Abel’s guardian and protector. Here, drawing on the rituals, children’s... read more
Trust

Hernan Diaz

Longlisted for the Booker PrizeThe Sunday Times BestsellerBest Books of 2022 pick - New York Times, TIME, Slate, Oprah Daily, Kirkus, LA Times, EWTrust by Hernan Diaz is a sweeping, unpredicatable novel about power, wealth and truth, told by four unique, inter... read more
A beautiful celebratory tribute to the powers of one of our most undervalued skills — an ideal gift for the avid reader. ‘What you are doing right now is, cosmically speaking, against the odds.’ As young children, we are taught to read, but soon go on to forge... read more
Client Earth

James Thornton

Environmentally, our planet lacks the laws to keep it safe and those laws we do have are feebly enforced. Every new year is the hottest in human history, while forest, reef, ice, tundra, and species are disappearing forever. It is easy to lose all hope. Who wi... read more
The Digital Ape

Nigel Shadbolt

How smart machines are transforming us all — and what we should do about it. The smart machines revolution is re-shaping our lives and our societies. Here, Nigel Shadbolt (one of Britain’s leading authorities on artificial intelligence) and Roger Hampson dispe... read more
In Love with George Eliot

Kathy O’Shaughnessy

A TLS BOOK OF THE YEAR Who was the real George Eliot? In Love with George Eliot is a glorious debut novel which tells the compelling story of England’s greatest woman novelist as you’ve never read it before. Marian Evans is a scandalous figure, living in sin w... read more
A pioneering cardiac surgeon expertly sews up the heart of surgery, the health of the nation, and the NHS. The Angina Monologues speeds from the transporting of a donor’s heart up the motorway hard shoulder, to cautionary stories of excessive intervention gone... read more
An intimate, deeply reported account of the women who made a shocking decision: to leave their comfortable lives behind and join the Islamic State. In early 2014, the Islamic State clinched its control of Raqqa in Syria. Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, urged Mus... read more
The Eighth Life

Nino Haratischvili

AN OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR ‘That night Stasia took an oath, swearing to learn the recipe by heart and destroy the paper. And when she was lying in her bed again, recalling the taste with all her senses, she was sure that this secret recipe could heal wounds,... read more
Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and a Northern Writers Award These are the last days of Raoul Moat. Raoul Moat was the fugitive Geordie bodybuilder-mechanic who became notorious one hot July week when, after killing his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfri... read more
The Middlepause

Marina Benjamin

In a society obsessed with living longer and looking younger, what does middle age nowadays mean? How should a fifty-something be in a world ceaselessly redefining ageing, youth, and experience? The Middlepause offers hope, and heart. Cutting through society’s... read more
The Creator

Gudrun Eva Minervudottir

When La's car gets a puncture out in the countryside, the man who lives nearest proves recalcitrantly helpful. She ends up falling asleep in his armchair and wakes to intense guilt at neglecting her daughter back in Reykjavik, followed by shock at what she fin... read more
David Foster Wallace is to contemporary literature what Kurt Cobain is to music. He died young enough for his promise and his achievements to solidify into a legend. For many, he became someone worth reading, revering, following.How had a teen tennis prodigy t... read more
Tsukiko is in her late 30s and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, 'Sensei', in a bar. He is at least thirty years her senior, retired and, she presumes, a widower. After this initial encounter, the pair cont... read more
The plans are drawn up, a site is chosen, foundations are dug: a building comes into being with the expectation that it will stay put and stay for ever. But a building is a capricious thing: it is inhabited and changed, and its existence is a tale of constant ... read more
Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, hidden by euphemism, shit is rarely out in the open in 'civilized' society, but the world of waste - and the people who deal with it, work with it and in it - is a rich one.This book takes us underground to... read more
Visitation

Jenny Erpenbeck

By the side of a lake in Brandenburg, a young architect builds the house of his dreams - a summerhouse with wrought-iron balconies, stained-glass windows the colour of jewels, and a bedroom with a hidden closet, all set within a beautiful garden. But the land ... read more
Annawadi is a slum at the edge of Mumbai Airport, in the shadow of shining new luxury hotels. Its residents are garbage recyclers and construction workers, economic migrants, all of them living in the hope that a small part of India's booming future will event... read more
'A heaving cauldron of black humour ... You'll never look at a stretch of high-tensile agricultural fencing in quite the same way ever again' Time Out'Extremely unusual, finely crafted and funny' Observer'Tam and I took hold of Mr McCrindle and lowered him int... read more
Behindlings

Nicola Barker

The breakthrough novel from one of the greatest comic writers in the language – one of the twenty selected by Granta as the Best of Young British Writers 2003. Some people follow the stars. Some people follow the soaps. Some people follow rare birds, or obscur... read more
Hey Nostradamus!

Douglas Coupland

The story of one family piecing itself back together after a tragic highschool shooting, Hey Nostradamus! is Douglas Coupland’s most soulful, piercing and searching novel yet. Pregnant and secretly married, Cheryl Anway scribbles her last will and testament – ... read more
A sensational tale of obsession and murder from a wonderful writer. ‘An outstanding novel, fresh and unusual [with] all the dirt, stink, rasp and flavour of the time.’ Daily Telegraph ‘Early in the English Civil War, a body is dredged from the pond of a Royali... read more
The No Logo of climate change – a book that shows how global warming is not a theory we should still debate, but something that has already happened on a global scale. Climate change is not a concern for the future. It's happening right now. In this book – bas... read more
In The Age of Wire and String Ben Marcus welds together a new reality from the scrapheap of the past. Dogs, birds, horses, automobiles and the weather are some of the recycled elements in Marcus's first collection - part fiction, part handbook - as familiar ob... read more
The Mulberry Empire

Philip Hensher

The bestselling novel from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of The Northern Clemency and King of the Badgers. ‘The Mulberry Empire’ is a seemingly straightforward historical novel that recounts an episode in the Great Game in central Asia – the courtshi... read more
1947

Elisabeth Åsbrink

As the clock strikes the end of the war, the time begins to turn towards a new age — the one we call now. This shift does not happen overnight, from one day to the next; instead, the world vibrates for a number of years. People try to find their way back to ho... read more
We have so much choice over what we eat today because rural communities all over the world have had their choices taken away. To understand how our supermarket shopping makes us complicit in a system that routinely denies freedom to the world's poorest, and ho... read more
The Dig

Cynan Jones

Deep in rural Wales, a farmer is struggling through lambing season when he becomes aware that his land is being stalked by a badger-baiter who brings with him the stark threat of violence. Built of the interlocking fates of these two solitary men, this is a se... read more
Life at the Extremes

Frances Ashcroft

The debut of a female Steve Jones – likeable, literate, lucid and laconic. A sprightly, lavishly illustrated book on the science of human survival. How do people survive extremes of heat, cold, depth, speed and altitude? This book explores the limits of human ... read more
A book of science like no other, about a scientist like no other. This is a landmark in science writing. It resurrects from the vaults of neglect the polymath Jerome Cardano, a Milanese of the sixteenth century. Who is he? A gambler and blasphemer, inventor an... read more

Philip Gwyn has 2 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Irina K.

Irina K.

Sep, 2023

Philip Gwyn is an excellent editor, highly experienced, erudite, and both detailed and pointed in his suggestions and in his critique. In short, if you want an editor of high calibre who is ready to challenge you to make your complex non-fiction book the best it can be, Philip is to be highly recommended. Dr Irina Kuzminsky
Philip Gwyn J.
A writer like Irina - intellectually ambitious, passionate and purposeful, steeped in her subject - would inspire any editor to give of their best. She is a pleasure to work with too: patient, rea...
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Amara S.

Amara S.

Apr, 2023

Philip Gwyn Jones as an editor is professional, punctual and patient. His review was invaluable in getting an assessment of my own writing as a debut writer, and in building my confidence. His comments and edits were very useful in revealing the blind spots I had when writing the draft, and it was educational for me. I would definitely recommend him as an editor and hope to hire him again for ...
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Philip Gwyn J.
This was my first experience on Reedsy as an editor, and I will be very, very lucky if all my clients to come can match Amara for care, consideration, reliability, intelligence, charm, open-mindedn...
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