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!
- 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
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.
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
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]
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]
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.