The Bookseller 150 - 2019

  • Stig Abell

    TLS Editor

    Since becoming editor of the TLS three and a half years ago, Abell has helped modernise the literary journal and broaden its reach. He’s revamped its website, launched a podcast, hired a social media editor, pushed for more female reviewers and added additional commentary and feature pages, resulting in increased circulation. This year, he joined forces with William Collins to launch the TLS Books imprint for “zeitgeisty intellectual content that people want to read”. He was also the chair of judges for this year’s Baillie Gifford.

    Influencers New Entry
  • Sarah Adams

    Transworld Fiction publisher

    Having stepped up from crime books to direct all of Transworld’s fiction three years ago, Adams has steered the PRH division through a lengthy commercially successful and prize-laden purple patch. It helps that she has a crack team, such as commercial fiction star Frankie Gray, Doubleday editorial director Jane Lawson, and Kirsty Dunseath, who joined in March after being at Orion for 16 years. When the legendary Marianne Velmans retires next April, Adams will take over the editing of Transworld lynchpin Lee Child.

  • Dolly Alderton

    The High Low Podcaster/author

    Already a bestselling author in her own right—Everything I Know About Love has TCM’d 215,000 copies, with the February-released paperback spending 24 weeks in the Paperback Non-fiction top 20—Alderton is also a powerful “bookfluencer”. A Women’s Prize judge in 2019, Alderton also recommends books through her podcast “The High-Low”, with co-host Pandora Sykes, and on Instagram. Sales soared for Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women and Lemn Sissay’s My Name is Why when they received Alderton’s seal of approval.

    Influencers New Entry
  • Clare Alexander

    Aitken Alexander Managing director

    There have been an embarrassment of riches for Alexander’s agency over the past 12 months, with prizes and bestsellers galore. On her own list there have been the welcome returns of Pat Barker and Jung Chang, plus one of the débuts of the year with Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer. Director Chris Wellbelove has spearheaded the new Profile Aitken Alexander Non-Fiction Prize; and luring Emma Paterson from RCW in 2018 was a canny move—her client highlight in 2019 was undoubtedly Bernardine Evaristo’s Booker win.

    Agents & rights
  • Darley Anderson

    Darley Anderson Agency Founder

    It has arguably been the most fruitful year for Anderson in his three decades as an agent, with a surging Lee Child, Martina Cole’s return and a breakout year for Tana French. But the agency is not just about the name above the door. Senior agent Camilla Bolton and rights director Mary Darby are poised to be Anderson’s long-term successor(s) when (if?) he decides to hang up his spurs. The children’s division is humming under Clare Wallace, while commercial women’s specialist Tanera Simons has had a run of knock-out deals.

    Agents & rights
  • James Annal

    Pan Macmillan Art and design director

    In a blog post for The Bookseller in October, Annal made his work on Elton John’s memoir Me sound remarkably straightforward. Given the book had to be signed off by Macmillan’s global stakeholders and Elton’s entourage, it assuredly was no easy task. The cover—a colourful rework of a monochrome image—has been branding dynamite across platforms, a far cry from drab, airbrushed celeb fare. There have been strong visuals for a number of Pan Mac’s fiction brands too, including the unmistakeable recent breakout C J Sansom.

  • Syima Aslam

    Bradford Literary Festival Director

    Since launching the Bradford Literature Festival five years ago, Aslam has grown it from a two-day programme to 2019’s 10-day extravaganza, featuring 400 events and 500 writers, with speakers including Jeanette Winterson and George the Poet. Its USP is its commitment to accessibility and inclusion, and to represent Bradford’s diverse community: around half its attendees hail from a BAME background, while events are free to refugees and asylum seekers, benefits recipients and people on state pensions.

    Fairs & Festivals New Entry
  • Owen Atkinson

    ALCS Executive director and c.e.o.

    Atkinson’s Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society is a lifeline for creatives trying to make a living out of working with their pen. This year, the organisation paid out £34.8m to 100,000 members for secondary (photocopying, scanning, educational use, etc) rights. But ALCS has a campaigning side, too, consistently keeping the issue of author pay front and centre—with Atkinson ably helped by deputy c.e.o. Barbara Hayes. Prizes are another key part of the portfolio, including the recently launched Educational Writers’ Award.

    Trade Bodies
  • Paul Baggaley

    Picador Publisher

    Baggaley will close out 2019 bidding adieu to Picador, his home for 11 years, to become Bloomsbury’s editor-in-chief. A fitting year to leave, though, as his list scored its second Imprint of the Year in four years at the Nibbies. Justifiably so, as the literary division has been rich in hits and prizes of late: Adam Kay, the Secret Barrister, A J Pearce, Robin Robertson, and on and on. He leaves the imprint with arguably the sharpest commissioning team in town, including Ravi Mirchandani, George Morley and Francesca Main.

    Divisional heads
  • Nick Barley

    Edinburgh International Book Festival Director

    Barley’s 10th year as director of EIBF saw Nicola Sturgeon take to the stage alongside Arundhati Roy, with appearances from a host of other big names, including Elif Shafak, Simon Armitage and Cressida Cowell. Attendee numbers grew to 265,000, while the expanded festival bookshops contributed to an increase in book sales of around 5%. In May, EIBF announced a new collaboration with the Bradford Literature Festival, Northern Lights, designed to unite publishers from Scotland and the North of England.

    Fairs & Festivals
  • Damian Barr

    Damian Barr’s Literary Salon Founder/author

    Writer and columnist Barr started his literary salon 11 years ago, and since then it has showcased a host of established names and emerging talents, from Taiye Selasi to John Waters, Caitlin Moran and David Nicholls—who launched his latest, Sweet Sorrow, there. Last month the salon was translated to the small screen, with Barr hosting new BBC Scotland literature series “The Big Scottish Book Club”. In the past year, Barr has contributed to Unbound’s Common People anthology, as well as publishing his novel, You Will Be Safe Here.

    Influencers New Entry
  • Stephen Barr

    SAGE International president & head of global sales

    Barr steered his portion of the SAGE empire to a record year, with the UK-based part of the academic powerhouse having sales a smidgeon under £150m in its last set of resuts, driven in particular by rising digital sales and solid growth in the journals business. This year has seen the launch of SAGE vantage, a digital course platform. A new partnership with the Leading Routes initiative, aimed at boosting black representation in academia, underscores SAGE’s commitment to diversity.

  • Kumsal Bayazit

    Elsevier Chief executive officer

    When she took over from Ron Mobed in February, Bayazit became the first woman to lead Elsevier in its 140-year history. She inherited a ship in good nick—steady sales growth of 2% to £2.5bn, and a whopping £942m operating profit. Open Access and a sometime rocky relationship with the academy remain the crucial issues; key deals this autumn with institutions which had let journals subscriptions lapse, after OA disputes, suggest Elsevier might be winning back hearts and minds.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Claire Bayliss

    The Book People Chief executive officer

    Claire Bayliss took over from Simon Mason as The Book People’s c.e.o. in August, after the former spent six months in the role. Claiming the company had become “invisible” in recent years, Bayliss immediately launched a strategic review of the business, then invested in a new e-commerce platform, extra school book buses and additional field support. The Big Book Boost, which sees £1 donated to school libraries for every order over £10, also launched, along with the company’s first ever TV adverts.

    Booksellers & distributors New Entry
  • Catherine Bell & Steve Thompson

    Scholastic Co-managing directors

    A strong year for Scholastic saw TCM sales rise 21% year on year, led by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley’s The Wonky Donkey, still riding the wave of last year’s viral video of unlikely YouTube star “the Scottish Granny” reading the picture book. Another Scottish Granny-approved title, Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird’s I Need a New Bum!, performed well, as did new releases by old hands Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Liz Pichon and Dav Pilkey. Diversity has been a focus, including the Voices series about BAME figures from British history.

  • Andrea Bennett

    The Works Buying director

    The industry has been talking a lot in recent years about regional diversity and expanding the customer base to non-traditional and reluctant readers. The Works, by dint of the demographics it serves and the areas it operates in, has been doing this is practice for yonks. The cheap and cheerful chain is in fine fettle, with an expanding estate of over 500 stores and revenues in its 2019 fiscal year of £217.5m, helped mightily by the razor-sharp Bennett—whose role covers all of the retailer’s product lines—and her books team.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Monty Bhatia

    Little Tiger Managing director

    It was a year of change for the 30-year-old children’s indie Little Tiger, as it was acquired by PRH US. Co-founder and c.e.o. Bhatia continues to run the business as a standalone company, reporting to Random House Children’s Books US’ Barbara Marcus. When the deal was announced, Bhatia said it would enable the indie to “elevate our business to the next level, both in the US and internationally”. There are strong foundations to build on: TCM sales are up a robust 13% for the year to date.

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  • Neil Blair

    The Blair Partnership Founder

    It has been a busy spell for J K Rowling’s agent. Following a strategy shift, Pottermore rebranded as Wizarding World Digital and launched its first app, a mobile companion, a subscription service and a new interactive website. Oh, and The Blair Partnership has other clients. Recent deals include Rory Scarfe selling boxer Tyson Fury’s “warts-and-all memoir” to Century, while Hattie Grünewald—freshly arrived after six years at Blake Friedmann—sold Nancy Tucker’s début for six figures to Hutchinson.

    Agents & rights
  • Nic Bottomley

    Mr B’s/Booksellers Association Owner/president

    After crowdfunding almost £64,000 to expand its premises at the end of 2018, a revamped Mr B’s Emporium (which Bottomley co-owns with his wife, Juliette) opened its doors early this year, boasting a new children’s section and space for more stock and events. In his BA president’s role, Bottomley has spoken out on many issues affecting the book trade. Following the association’s release of a green manifesto for the industry, he made a call to action for “big collaborative conversations” at the trade body’s annual conference.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Venetia Butterfield

    Penguin Life Publishing director

    Butterfield became publishing director of Viking 14 years ago, before setting up Penguin Life in 2016 and taking on Portfolio. In March, she was given a new crown: publisher of Penguin General, a freshly created role to recognise her “exceptional contribution”. This year has seen her department toast massive success: Michelle Obama’s record-busting Becoming has shifted a further 171,000 copies in 2019, while Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Jamie Byng

    Canongate Chief executive officer

    Canongate’s TCM sales have slipped 3.4% year on year, but it was coming off a robust 2018. Matt Haig was again the star, responsible for six of its 10 top-selling books. Other hits included Samin Nosrat’s Netflix-boosted cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, crime duo Ambrose Parry’s The Way of All Flesh, and the memoir of this year’s PEN Pinter Prize winner, Lemn Sissay. The indie also partnered with the Nan Shepherd Estate and the University of Aberdeen to launch the Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Richard Cable

    Vintage Managing director

    Vintage has had a show-stopping year, with Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments jointly winning the Booker Prize. But perhaps even more impressive was the Atwood fever generated around the globe, as her literary agency Curtis Brown desperately fended off phishing attacks to intercept the manuscript, while real-life “Handmaids” greeted international journalists at a press conference in London. The Handmaid’s Tale sequel went on to defy the phishers and smash records instead, shifting 103,000 copies in the UK in its first week.

    Divisional heads
  • Annie Callanan

    Taylor & Francis Chief executive officer

    Higher Education giant Taylor & Francis continues to perform well under Callanan in her second year at the helm. Its flexible and strategic approach delivered steady growth, underpinned by robust subscription revenues and a burgeoning Open Access programme. New innovations introduced in 2019 include a Researcher app, and its Sustainable Development Goals Online platform, featuring an online library of over 12,000 articles and chapters. This year Callanan was also elected vice-president and treasurer of the Publishers Association.

  • Ian Chapman

    Simon & Schuster Chief executive officer/publisher

    Chapman’s S&S may have dipped 11% through the TCM in 2019—in line with its US parent’s worldwide drop—but it had plenty of hits, including its “biggest ever” campaign for Philippa Gregory’s Tidelands, which resulted in takings of almost £500,000 through BookScan. Key appointments this year included Orion’s Clare Hey returning to become publishing director of fiction, while HarperCollins’ Rachel Denwood succeeded Alexandra Maramenides as m.d. of the children’s division.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Jonty Claypole

    BBC Director of arts

    In addition to its usual books-based radio and TV programming—including autumn shows “His Dark Materials”, “War of the Worlds” and “Elizabeth is Missing”—the Beeb launched a year-long celebration of literature with the Novels That Shaped Our World project. This included a list of 100 novels chosen by an expert panel, a BBC2 series, and a year-long outreach festival. A series of documentaries about subjects including the African literary renaissance is one of the many books-based projects in the pipeline.

  • Cressida Cowell

    Author, children’s laureate

    How to Train Your Dragon author and illustrator Cowell was announced as the Waterstones children’s laureate over the summer, succeeding fellow author-illustrator Lauren Child. She began her two-year term by launching a 10-point charter, setting out her desire for compulsory libraries in schools and for children to have “free-ranging” creative time. In her day job, her books sales have also risen through the TCM for the year, spiking 30% on 2018 to date with the release of her third Wizards of Once book, Knock Three Times.

    Authors & illustrators New Entry
  • Carl Cowling

    W H Smith Chief executive officer

    Cowling has two tough acts to follow as c.e.o. of W H Smith. Kate Swann set the shareholder-friendly strategy of improving profits at the expense of sales, with immediate past-c.e.o. Stephen Clarke emulating her. It’s been remarkably successful too, with WHS’ share price trading at its highest level in five years, and the group eyeing acquisitions, including the airport retailer InMotion Entertainment. Cowling will be mindful that investment in stores at home will be as vital as looking overseas for growth.

    Booksellers & distributors New Entry
  • Fathima Dada

    Oxford Education Managing director

    OUP’s education divisions had two “challenging” years on the trot, according to c.e.o. Nigel Portwood (more to do with the major territories’ economies and government budgets than OUP’s output). To meet the increased pressure, this autumn Oxford Education and Asia Education were merged into a single global entity, with Dada at the helm. Dada has the nous; she joined OUP from Pearson and is deeply experienced in delivering digital services—which is where OUP’s schools future lies.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Julie Danskin

    Golden Hare Books Manager

    Danskin is the manager of Edinburgh’s Golden Hare Books, which was named Independent Bookshop of the Year at this year’s Nibbies, with the judges praising its “stylish boutique-style store, sharp growth in sales and capacity for innovation”. This innovation includes the Edinburgh Book Fringe, a festival Golden Hare runs in partnership with fellow indie Lighthouse Books and which this summer hosted authors including Elif Shafak and Marina Warner. Danskin also co-crowdfunded for the launch of new Scottish literary magazine Extra Teeth.

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  • Kit de Waal


    It has been a particularly busy year for author and campaigner de Waal. With 17 other women, she co-founded Primadonna, a new literary festival with an emphasis on female writers. She also crowdfunded and edited Common People, an anthology of literature from established and new working-class writers, wrote the launch title for Hachette Children’s new feminist YA list Bellatrix, and was a member of the panel selecting the BBC’s “100 Novels That Shaped Our World”. Oh, and she was also named Person of the Year at the 2019 FutureBook Live conference.

    Authors & illustrators
  • Suzanne Dean

    Vintage Creative director

    The cover for the biggest literary event of the year; perhaps even the decade? Little problem for Vintage’s design doyenne Dean, who enlisted minimal illustrator Noma Bar to create the striking neon cover for Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. It was a resuscitation of their earlier collaboration on its prequel, The Handmaid’s Tale: both use negative space and a restrained colour palette—and immediately feel like modern classics. Yet it’s packaging backlist titles in covetable, display table-friendly livery that remains Dean’s signature.

  • Maria Dickenson

    Dubray Books Managing director

    Dickenson’s Dubray is, broadly, Ireland’s Foyles (if Foyles were still an independent): a mini-chain which punches far above its weight in its impact on the cultural life of a nation. That’s not to underplay its fine performance, as Dubray is roaring. Sales climbed 5% in its latest set of results, driven by a 52% jump in its online business, thanks to a revamped website. In June this year, Dubray opened its first new premises in 15 years, in the Liffey Valley shopping centre on the outskirts of Dublin, bringing the estate up to nine shops.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Josie Dobrin

    Creative Access Chief executive officer

    Dobrin continues to head the not-for-profit social enterprise which has placed more than 1,500 candidates from underrepresented backgrounds in the creative industries, and supported almost 30,000 with employability skills, since 2012. Creative Access’ list of 321 employer partners include several from the book trade, from big publishers such as Hachette UK, to indies like Oneworld, and trade bodies including World Book Day. The organisation placed its 1,000th intern in February (at the Royal Society of Literature).

    Trade Bodies
  • Francesca Dow

    PRH Children’s Managing director

    There has been a slight drop in sales and market share for PRH Children’s, though it still remains by far the biggest kids’ publisher, with TCM revenue of £43.5m thus far in 2019. Standout authors were Jeff Kinney (responsible for five of its top seven books of the year), Philip Pullman (co-published with David Fickling Books and Dow’s list’s biggest earner this year), and American YA star Karen McManus. Alex Moyet joined the team in the newly created role of brand director, while Ladybird relaunched its trade brand

    Divisional heads
  • Kevin Duffy

    Bluemoose Books Co-founder

    Long before the term “Northern Powerhouse” was coined, Duffy was flying the flag for regional publishing from his Hebden Bridge HQ. And he has consistently shown that you do not have to be London-based to make a huge impact. This year, débutant Rónán Hession’s Leonard and Hungry Paul has been a hit heralded by Foyles and featured for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. In 2020, all of Bluemoose’s titles will be from women authors aged 45-plus, and it will launch a creative writing school.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Kate Elton

    HarperCollins Executive publisher, fiction/non-fiction

    The Avon, HarperFiction and HarperNonFiction boss has had a nicely balanced year. Ant Middleton has been the non-fiction star, with First Man In and the follow-up, The Fear Bubble, shifting £2.3m through the TCM. Old “new” hands lead the way in fiction—Gail Honeyman’s 2017 release Eleanor Oliphant... has sold £1.5m in 2019, and is by some £700,000 the division’s top seller. A J Finn‘s 2018 crime début The Woman in the Window is second—the author’s sales were not dented by the (in)famous New Yorker article earlier this year.

    Divisional heads
  • Katie Espiner

    Orion Managing director

    Four years on from her disruptive arrival at Orion, Espiner is one of the highest-profile female leaders in the business. This year brought several new joiners—communications director Maura Wilding, publishing directors Vicky Eribo and Jamie Coleman, editorial director Charlotte Mursell, and commissioning editor Tom Witcomb. There were also promotions for Ru Merritt, Marleigh Price and Olivia Barber. Its 2019 bestsellers came from crime kingpins Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Bernardine Evaristo


    Evaristo made history in October, becoming the first black woman to win the Booker Prize. Penguin Random House ordered a re-print of Girl, Woman, Other days later, with Waterstones reporting high demand. The polyphonic novel, featuring the lives of 12 different characters—ranging from a lesbian theatre dramatist to a Northumbrian farmer—has since soared 460% in volume, outselling the rest of Evaristo’s backlist combined. Rights have been sold in 21 languages, with an auction currently ongoing for film rights.

    Authors & illustrators New Entry
  • John Fallon

    Pearson Chief executive officer

    The educational publishing giant’s 175th year was a bit challenging, as it continues its digital transformation. As well as dealing with protests from shareholders at the firm’s a.g.m., and a data breach of 13,000 student accounts, a Q3 trading update reported a “weaker than expected” performance in its US Higher Education courseware business. Fallon said the company, which is moving away from print to embrace a digital strategy, still expects revenue to “stabilise” and begin to grow again in 2020.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • David Fickling

    David Fickling Books Founder and publisher

    Six years on from launching his kids’ indie, Fickling’s DFB is purring. The 2019 highlight has been the second in the Book of Dust series by Philip Pullman (whom Fickling has edited since Pullman’s début), co-published with PRH. But it is not all Lyra Belacqua—Lissa Evans’ sales continue to rise (her Small Change for Stuart was Carnegie and Costa shortlisted), while Chris Wormell is on the verge of a breakout. DFB will be bolstered in the new year by the arrival of ex-OUP Children’s publisher Liz Cross.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Larry Finlay

    Transworld Managing director

    A decent year for Transworld, with sales through the TCM just a tad ahead of 2018, at £31.7m. Lee Child was its star again: the paperback of Past Tense is by far its bestseller this year, racking up 295,000 units, while the hardback of Blue Moon earned £1.1m and scored an overall number one. Bill Bryson’s The Body has sold £1.6m and will fare even better in the run-up to Christmas, while ex-special forces soldier Jason Fox’s memoir Battle Scars has been the non-fiction breakout, selling 127,000 copies.

    Divisional heads Evergreen
  • Peter Florence

    Hay Festival Director

    Festival founder Florence this year took on another mantle–chair of the “rebel” Booker Prize judging panel. While the controversial move to crown two winners split the book industry, it certainly got people talking. Meanwhile, Hay Festival unveiled a major rebrand ahead of the flagship summer event, which hosted more than 600 speakers and sold 278,000 tickets. Hay Festival Winter Weekend celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and plans were announced for a 2020 festival in Abu Dhabi.

    Evergreen Fairs & Festivals
  • Rebecca Folland

    Hachette UK Head of rights

    Folland crossed from “the other side” a year ago, joining Hachette after 13 years at Janklow & Nesbit. She was initially brought in as rights director for Hodder & Stoughton, Headline, John Murray Press and Quercus, and a notable success was selling Holly Miller’s The Sight of You in 20 territories. In October she also took on an additional role, chairing a forum of rights directors across Hachette UK, through which they will aim to co-ordinate activity and share best practices.

    Agents & rights New Entry
  • Anthony Forbes Watson

    Pan Macmillan Managing director

    A transformational year in many ways for Forbes Watson’s Pan Mac—it moved into shiny new digs in Clerkenwell and is currently firing on all cylinders: it will obliterate its record revenue, achieved in 2016. Pinch of Nom racked up sales of £11m, Adam Kay is still going strong and Elton John’s memoir is rocketing. Children’s stalwarts Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler and Rod Campbell are hugely important, and a surging Ann Cleeves and Kate Mosse have also brought in strong returns.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Preena Gadher

    Riot Communications Founder

    Though her co-founder Anwen Hoosen left the PR firm last year to set up a literary agency, Gadher’s Riot has not lost a step with reams of clever, eye-catching campaigns. Bookish clients and initiatives include a number of projects for Penguin Random House (Yuval Noah Harari brand-building and helping with PRH’s big once-a-year group-wide showcase) and a variety of work for the National Centre for Writing. A formidable group of PR powerhouses are at the top of the Riot team, including Adele Minchin and Katy Macmillan-Scott.

    PR, sales & marketing
  • Oliver Gadsby

    Rowman & Littlefield International Chief executive officer

    Gadsby and his team have quickly built RLI into a formidable force that goes toe-to-toe with academic publishing’s big boys: after releasing just two titles in the launch year of 2013, it had over 125 frontlist titles in 2019. Revenues and profits have been on a consistent upward curve, buoyed by co-publishing deals with think-tanks and academic networks. Strategic partnerships with specialist trade publishers such as Quiller and Casemate have also borne fruit.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Jonny Geller

    Curtis Brown Joint c.e.o. and m.d., books

    Geller’s agency launched a Heritage division in its 120th anniversary year to manage its literary estates, as well as the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize to discover “voices of the future”—it was awarded this year to début author Chikodili Emelumadu. Its enviable roster (Adam Kay, David Nicholls, John le Carré, Jojo Moyes, and on and on) was responsible for some of the biggest books of the year, while the agency also picked up a shared Booker triumph, with Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments.

    Agents & rights Evergreen
  • Ruth Gill

    Gill Chief executive officer

    Ruth Gill is the sixth generation to head the family business, Ireland’s biggest publisher, which has the triple threat of trade, education and distribution divisions. Education has historically been the driver—around 60% of its revenue comes from its schools business—but the trade list has been booming in the past couple of years, led by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen’s ongoing Aisling phenomenon. Other 2019 hits came from the comedian Blindboy Boatclub and Luke O’Neill’s The Great Irish Science Book.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Kirsten Grant

    World Book Day Director

    Following a stormy 2018 World Book Day, 2019 saw the overall kids’ market during WBD week grow by 38% in value, and 43% in volume, year on year. Sales of this year’s titles have topped 1.13 million units, with all major supermarkets and book retailers on board, as well as 1,400 indie and high-street bookshops. Highlights included a deal with the Premier League, and “Reading Champions” such as the Duchess of Cornwall and Tim Peake sharing the message. In July, Cassie Chadderton joined WBD as its first chief executive.

    Trade Bodies
  • Jon Gray & Jamie Keenan

    Academy of British Cover Design Designers/co-founders

    There’s a good chance your favourite jacket of the year was designed by Gray or Keenan, two of the go-to contacts in art directors’ black book of freelances. From the livery for Zadie Smith’s Grand Union (Gray) to Ben Marcus’ Notes from the Fog (Keenan), their work never misses the mark. Yet the duo are listed mostly for their championing of fellow designers through their stewardship of the Academy of British Cover Design awards, a staple of the book design sector’s calendar.

    Designers New Entry
  • Peter Gray

    J S Group Chairman and c.e.o.

    Academic bookselling has been one of the trickiest parts of the trade to navigate, but Gray’s J S Group has stayed in and ahead of the game—and profitable—by altering its offering and business model to suit the changing needs of the modern student. Another strategic shift this year had the group ramping-up its Aspire Engage smartcard bursary scheme, which is geared towards online shopping and e-learning. This has not been without pain, as nine of its physical shops have closed across the chain as their institutions shift to the scheme.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Alison Green

    Alison Green Books Publisher

    With all due respect to bosses Catherine Bell and Steven Thompson, there may be no more valuable employee at Scholastic than Alison Green. Of Scholastic’s top 15 books of 2019, 10 are from her eponymous imprint. OK, all 10 of those are Julia Donaldson titles, but it is Green’s close working relationship with Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Macmillan that convinced the Gruffalo duo to come over with her when she set up Alison Green Books in 2005. But it’s not all Donaldson; other 2019 hits include Nick Sharratt’s Nice Work for the Cat and the King.

    Editors New Entry
  • Meryl Halls

    Booksellers Association Managing director

    It was a momentous year for the BA as executive chair Tim Godfray retired after 47 years with the organisation. But the future looks bright with Halls at the helm. The independent bookselling sector is in its second year of growth, and the seventh annual Bookshop Day saw around 1,200 bookshops participate across the UK. However, the BA remains alert to the challenges ahead, with Halls campaigning for business-rates reform. The BA further backed booksellers with the launch of its indie Children’s Book of the Month promotion.

    Trade Bodies
  • Liam Hanly

    Easons Chief executive officer

    Two and a half years in the top job at Ireland’s biggest bookseller and things are going pretty well for Hanly. In fact, in its latest set of results Easons posted its biggest profit (€3.9m) since 2006. There is some devil in the detail: that profit haul was largely owing to a strategy of selling off part of its property portfolio (the iconic O’Connell Street flagship is on the market for €24.5m at the moment). Operations were more challenging, with revenues slipping overall by 5% to €131m, with sales down 3% in Ireland, and 19% down in Northern Ireland.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • David Headley

    D H H Literary/Goldsboro Books/Capital Crime Founder

    The boss of specialist bookshop Goldsboro Books, D H H Literary Agency and indie publisher The Dome Press added another string to his bow this year, co-founding the Capital Crime festival with author Adam Handy. The inaugural event saw more than 100 authors in 40 panel talks, 600-plus attendees each day, and just over £14,000 worth of books sold. Goldsboro Books won Bookseller of the Year at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Industry Awards.

    Agents & rights New Entry
  • Mandy Hill

    CUP M.d., academic publishing

    Hill’s academic divsion has focused on its open research agenda, “flipping” some journals to Open Access and launching the Cambridge Core Share platform for faster dissemination of articles. The smart non-fiction trend has led to trade crossover hits, with Mike Berners-Lee’s climate crisis manifesto There is No Planet B and Steve Stewart-Williams’ The Ape That Understood the Universe among the hits. That crossover has led to a pilot programme for audiobooks for its more trade-facing titles.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Albert Hitchcock

    Pearson Chief technology & operations officer

    Pearson boss John Fallon has promised that digital will move the world’s biggest education publisher to the next level, and Hitchcock is the man who he has tasked with directing that transformation. It is Hitchcock’s strategy and his team’s technical nous that are moving Pearson to be “the Netflix of education”. with the end game of having a single, more or less unified, highly scalable platform for its customers that can deliver learning “at any time, at any place around the world”.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Jamie Hodder-Williams

    Hodder & Stoughton Chief executive officer

    A shake-up that saw all trade division m.d.s appointed to the Hachette UK board meant a shift in Hodder-Williams’ role. He is now charged with growing Hodder—no small task, as the division reported £131.3m in sales in its last results—and creating a new business to cater to non-print formats. Hodder-Williams’ deputy, Lucy Hale, leaves at the end of the year as a result of the restructure. At the tills, Hodder has scored with Stephen King’s The Institute and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s annotated “Fleabag” scripts.

    Divisional heads
  • Andrew Holgate

    The Sunday Times Literary editor

    Holgate’s Sunday Times is still the most influential books broadsheet out there, but Holgate has continued to stregthen the brand and promote books outside of its pages. This includes the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, which earlier this year announced changes to its sponsorship, with the University of Warwick becoming its title partner and PFD c.e.o. Caroline Michel named its first patron. First works from poet Raymond Antrobus, short-story writer Julia Armfield are among those being considered for this year’s award.

  • Emma Hopkin

    Bloomsbury M.d., consumer publishing

    Revenues dropped slightly at Hopkin’s Bloomsbury consumer divison, owing to a sales dip for the Harry Potter titles. Adult highlights were The Anarchy by William Dalrymple, the Dishoom cookbook and Lisa Taddeo’s much-discussed Three Women, though its top earner was a late 2018 release, Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start, which the chef has just followed up with another health-conscious title. Picador’s Paul Baggaley is coming on board as the division’s editor-in-chief, with Alexandra Pringle becoming executive publisher, in the New Year.

    Divisional heads
  • Laurence Howell

    Audible Vice President, content

    If Markham is the business head of Audible, Howell is the creative force, developing a publishing programme that now also includes original audio and podcasts. Among them are hits Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection, read by Stephen Fry, of course; a musical version of The War of the Worlds; and Hag, a short-story collection of folklore tales. Audible is now talked of in the same breath as Netflix, with its publishing as outstanding as its retailing. Howell can take much of the credit for that.

    Audio New Entry
  • Ian Hudson

    DK Chief executive officer

    After two and half years in the job, there is a sense that DK is now starting to perform how Hudson would want: a publisher focused on both its home and overseas markets, with author-led books, such as the Anthony Daniels (CP30) memoir mixing it with the famous DK brands and series, such as its Eyewitness guides. Bringing in Rebecca Smart as publishing m.d. was a big statement. Its highest earners through Nielsen have been a bloom of gardening titles, led by Huw Richards’ Veg in One Bed.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Colin Hughes

    Collins Learing Managing director

    The importance of Hughes’ division to HarperCollins was underscored earlier this year when the education powerhouse won the relaunched British Book Award for Export. Collins has made remarkable inroads into the usual growing markets—China, the Far East, India—but part of its win was not neglecting the smaller territories; it grew sales by 33% in the Caribbean last year, for example. Collins’ eyes are still fixed on home turf—a major initiative was giving away free books to 20,000 UK schools in partnership with the Sun.

    Divisional heads
  • Paul Hulley

    Clays Managing director

    Hulley has run the UK’s biggest printer for five years, calmly steering it through some choppy waters, including last year’s acquisition by Italian firm Elcograf (from former parent St Ives, for £23.8m) and a board restructure. But the business is rock-solid: revenues did dip some 7% last year to around £75m, but that was largely owing to the loss of its HarperCollins business the previous year (even though it gained a huge PRH contract). The Italian bosses are supportive, and Clays has continued its investment in short-run technology.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Julian Humphries

    Fourth Estate/William Collins Art director

    While many of HarperCollins’ hits of recent years have come under the umbrella of fiction art director Claire Ward, Julian Humphries of HC’s literary lists was no slouch in 2019. Most notable was his work on a sure-fire hit of 2020, pivoting the aesthetic of Hilary Mantel for the third in her trilogy, nodding to recent commercial historical fiction successes. Under Humphries’ art direction, Jack Smyth’s Matchbox Classics won the Brand/Series Identity gong at the British Book Design & Production Awards.

    Designers New Entry
  • Steven Inchcoombe

    Springer Nature Chief publishing officer

    Like many of his colleagues and competitors in academic publishing, Inchcoombe has been thinking deeply about the ramifications of Open Access and Plan S, the European open research initiative. Plan S might not be pretty for some in the game, Inchcoombe told this year’s FutureBook conference, particularly smaller and mid-sized players. Inchcoombe fix has been what he has called a “radical shift to transformative publishers”, urging firms not to be “passive enablers” but “active drivers” of Open Access and research.

    Divisional heads
  • Dotti Irving

    Four Culture Chief executive officer

    Irving’s 2019 got off to a bang with the unveiling of the new sponsor of the Booker Prize, Crankstart, the charitable foundation of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman. Along with the Booker and its international counterpart, Four Culture runs PR for several other prizes–including the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction (which Irving helped found; she also announced this year’s winner as Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five), the PEN Pinter Prize and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse.

    Evergreen PR, sales & marketing
  • Claire Johnson

    Amazon Head of Kindle UK and Australia

    We cannot pretend to have the inside track on Johnson or her plans for self-published books on Amazon’s Kindle—the e-tailer remains as secretive as the Kremlin—but under her stewardship Amazon has twice run its £20,000 Kindle Storyteller Award for authors published via its Kindle Direct Publishing service. In 2019 the awards ceremony was held on the same night as the Booker Prize, controversially awarding just one winner, with the top prize going to Ian Sainsbury for The Picture on the Fridge.

    Booksellers & distributors New Entry
  • Simon Johnson

    Amazon Country Manager (UK), books

    A slight change this year, with Simon Johnson, country manager for UK books at Amazon, chosen ahead of Doug Gurr, who leads the entire UK business. Johnson is well-known in the book business after his stint at HarperCollins, where he worked under then-c.e.o. Victoria Barnsley during a period when it won the Man Booker and a Publisher of the Year Nibbie. Johnson joined Amazon in 2015: a book man with mathematical leanings, he finds himself in the right job at the right moment, overseeing the retailer’s relentless books push.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Bob Johnston

    The Gutter Bookshop Owner

    This November marked the 10th anniversary for Johnston’s Gutter. In the decade since opening in Dublin’s Temple Bar (the first book it sold was Where’s Wally Now?), Johnston has made Gutter the country’s pre-eminent indie and a key player in Ireland’s literary scene. A second branch in Dalkey launched in 2013 (a consequence of being asked to be the retailer for the Dalkey Book Festival). Gutter won the Nibbie for Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2017, after several shortlistings.

    Booksellers & distributors New Entry
  • Roly Keating

    British Library Chief executive officer

    The British Library this year announced the acquisition of the 40-year archive of Granta magazine, featuring letters and papers from authors including Margaret Atwood, J G Ballard, Angela Carter and Kazuo Ishiguro. It revamped the bookshop in its flagship London location to make it bigger and better and outside the capital, the organisation invested in its existing Boston Spa site, near Wetherby, to expand archival storage facilities and upgrade staff spaces. At the start of the year, John Lee joined the British Library’s books arm as publisher.

    Trade Bodies
  • Charlie King

    Little, Brown Managing director

    King’s Little, Brown has made a few changes this year: Clare Smith was promoted to executive publisher, and Ailah Ahmed to publishing director across Little, Brown and Virago. A new literary imprint, The Bridge Street Press, was also launched, devoted to “ideas-led non-fiction”. Possibly looking to re-create the success of last year’s blockbuster Fire and Fury, this year Little, Brown again flouted the wishes of the US president by publishing a new tell-all about Donald Trump’s administration, A Warning.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Alexis Kirschbaum

    Bloomsbury Publishing director

    Is there any major non-fiction auction that Kirschbaum lost this year? She nabbed “Griefcast” podcaster Cariad Lloyd’s début following a 15-way bidding war; picked up journalist Manjit Kumar’s group biography of Royal Society scientists in a seven-publisher auction; and won another seven-way-er for “the best teacher in the world”, Andria Zafirakou. Since moving to Bloomsbury from Penguin Press, she has shown a nose for trend-setting non-fiction, characterised by the 2019 publication of Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women.

    Editors New Entry
  • Richard Kitson

    Hachette UK Deputy c.e.o.

    Kitson, who assumed his position as deputy c.e.o. at the start of 2018 in the wake of Tim Hely Hutchinson’s exit, is chairman of Hachette Australia and New Zealand and is responsible for the publisher’s UK and international sales, its digital, consumer insight and legal and contracts departments—and Neon Play. This year Hachette UK created a single Trade Publishing Operations unit, giving Kitson a new direct report in Ben Groves-Raines, the former chief operating officer of Orion and Little, Brown who in October became publishing operations director.

    Divisional heads
  • Helen Kogan

    Kogan Page Managing director

    It has been one of the best 12-month periods in the business books indie’s 52 years under Kogan’s assured leadership. Highlights in 2019 include claiming two gongs at the Independent Publishers Guild Awards: one for Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year and another for International Achievement. The awards partially come as a result of its recent successful launches, such as its audio list, professional development online courses, and the Kogan Page Inspire imprint.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Helgard Krause

    Books Council of Wales Chief executive officer

    BCW has had a spring in its step since former University of Wales Press director Krause took over two years ago. She has a crucial place in Wales’ books world owing to BCW’s wide-ranging funding, promotional and distribution remit, and given the country’s ecosystem of small indie lists and dual-language outputs. BCW awarded £2.3m in grants last year to Welsh publishers, £1.6m of which was for Welsh-language products. Its distribution centre also sold more than £4m worth of books from Welsh indies.

    New Entry Trade Bodies
  • Lizzy Kremer

    DHA/AAA Agent/president

    As well as advocating for her clients, among which she counts the likes of Paula Hawkins and Rachel Abbott, as Association of Authors’ Agents president Kremer has been a champion for agents and the industry at large. Campaigns include AAA’s efforts to rout out sexual harassment, which resulted in the first sector-wide Industry Commitment to Professional Behaviour in Bookselling & Publishing. She has also been vocal on issues around author pay, arguing big advances are necessary for writers to get their fair share of publishers’ profits.

    Agents & rights
  • C K Lau

    Quarto Chief executive officer

    Lau is making progress after taking the reins in a boardroom putsch. The firm posted “encouraging” half-year results in August, with global revenues nudging up to $56.4m. Children’s, especially the Little People, Big Dreams series, is a big hit, although the adult market, particularly coeditions, is still challenging. But changes are afoot with Pavilion’s Polly Powell coming in on an advisory role, and imprints Aurum and Frances Lincoln being revived after merging into White Lion under the previous regime.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Marcus Leaver

    Welbeck Publishing Executive director

    After dropping out of this list last year following his resignation from Quarto, Leaver returns as co-executive director (with former Bonnier Zaffre c.e.o. Mark Smith) of Welbeck, launched in April with the acquisition of Carlton Books. A whirlwind of appointments included sales, marketing and publicity director James Horobin; Wayne Davies, group publisher for non-fiction; Alex Allan, heading its children’s list; Orion veteran Malcolm Edwards as publisher for André Deutsch; and former agent John Elek, leading new fiction imprint Portland Press.

  • Richard Lennon

    Penguin Random House Audio publisher

    Since moving from Vermilion in 2016, Lennon has grown and broadened the publisher’s output, putting PRH in pole position in the burgeoning audiobook marketplace. Lennon was made audio publisher last year, bringing with him Sam Halstead as editorial director, and James Keyte as commissioning editor. Key launches this year include the Penguin Classics in Audio list and the Ladybird Audio Adventures series, which picked up a FutureBook award last month. He is recruiting, again.

    Audio New Entry
  • Jonathan Little

    Gardners Books Managing director

    There was a 3% dip in revenue at the Little family firm (to £283m) this year, but that must be contextualised in that Gardners was coming off a record 2018 which saw sales rocket by 30%. The bottom line—which at the moment is a rather tasty £12.9m after-tax profit—is that business is booming. But Little is far from complacent, as the firm has worked tirelessly to seek out new businesses at home and abroad. Technology is being invested in, too, such as its partnership with tech firm NearSt to give indies real-time stock information.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Sara Lloyd

    Pan Macmillan Digital and communications director

    This is Lloyd’s 25th year across the wider Macmillan family—she previously had roles at Nature and Palgrave—and throughout the years there were plenty of clever campaigns co-ordinated by her and her digital and comms teams, but none more so all-conquering than this year’s impossible-to-miss launch of Elton John’s Me, which not only got clicks and attention, but helped the book do the business at the tills. Her team was bolstered by freelance publicist Hannah Corbett joining in the newly created role of head of publicity.

    Divisional heads
  • Stephen Lotinga

    Publishers Association Chief executive officer

    This year saw the PA chief campaigning for the removal of VAT on digital publications and sending political parties a manifesto ahead of the general election, setting out key priorities for the trade. The PA has also released a report on issues around Open Access, convened a free event on the legal and logistical challenges of a no-deal Brexit, and welcomed the first cohort of candidates to the Publishing Assistant Apprenticeship Standard, designed to help young people from diverse backgrounds get into the industry.

    Trade Bodies
  • Sharmaine Lovegrove

    Dialogue Books Publisher

    Lovegrove is at the front of publishing’s diversity discussion both in-house—she co-chairs Hachette’s inclusion network Changing the Story—and in the wider world with her campaigning voice. But her newish imprint is also getting traction, led by razor-sharp commissioning, with 2019 hits including Jeffrey Boakye’s Black, Listed. Lovegrove also launched the inaugural Mo Siewcharran Prize, which gives a Dialogue book deal to an unpublished BAME writer. Sarvat Hasin won the gong this year, and her The Giant Dark will be published in 2021.

    Divisional heads
  • Juliet Mabey & Novin Doostdar

    Oneworld Publications Co-founders

    Marlon James, Paul Beatty... and now Oneworld can add Tayari Jones to its list of American authors it talent-spotted and led to major prize glory. Jones’ Women’s Prize for Fiction winner An American Marriage has shifted close to 100,000 units through the TCM—and while the fiction side of the business has got the plaudits in recent years, Oneworld’s strength is its balance across non-fiction and its Rock the Boat kids’ imprint. Husband-and-wife team Mabey and Doostdar will move their publisher to the Indie Alliance next year.

  • Perminder Mann

    Bonnier Books UK Chief executive officer

    Mann’s Bonnier’s print sales are up double digits this year, and it is on course to return to profit. Its standout title is still Heather Morris’ runaway début The Tattooist of Auschwitz, which sold almost 500,000 copies for nearly £3m in 2019, while the sequel, Cilka’s Journey, has shifted more than 65,000 copies since its October release. Bonnier also launched literary fiction and non-fiction list Manilla Press, led by publisher Margaret Stead. Plans are now afoot to bring its Kings Road Publishing and Zaffre trade teams under one roof.

  • Tracey Markham

    Audible Country manager (UK)

    Markham has been country manager at Audible since 2007, a time when audiobooks were still firmly a physical proposition. She backed the right horse: in 2007 Audible reported sales just shy of £3m, with 16 staff on the payroll. In 2018 its UK sales reached £106m, with the business now employing 94 staff. Such growth is not the work of just one person, of course, but under Markham’s stewardship the business has focused in the right areas, driving publishers ever forwards in their production of new audio, and helping to develop Audible’s own list.

  • Sarah McIntyre


    Illustrator, campaigner and hat-wearer extraordinaire, McIntyre launched Pictures Mean Business in 2015 after being frustrated by a lack of recognition for illustrators in the industry—she herself was uncredited when Oliver and the Seawigs was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Focusing on the economic case for including illustrators’ names in metadata, Pictures Mean Business took on publishers, prizes and Nielsen BookScan (a certain industry trade magazine may have been on the receiving end, too) to improve the visibility of illustrators.

    Authors & illustrators New Entry
  • Fiona McMorrough

    FMcM Founder

    This year, McMorrough’s FMcM took over PR for World Book Day from The Corner Shop. WBD director Kirsten Grant hailed the 2019 campaign–which received more trade backing and social media reach–“better than ever before”. FMcM also looks after several literary prizes (Rathbones Folio Prize, The Cundhill History Prize, The British Book Awards, to name a few) and organisations (including The Literacy Consultancy and The London Book Fair). With the firm already working on WBD’s 2020 campaign, the future is only looking brighter for FMcM.

    PR, sales & marketing
  • Caroline Michel

    Peters Fraser + Dunlop Chief executive officer

    This year ended with quite a run for one of Michel’s longstanding clients, Edna O’Brien, claiming two major international gongs: the David Cohen Prize and Prix Femina. No Nobel, but the PFD boss must feel immensely satisfied with 2019. Highlights include Nelle Andrew’s author Sara Collins’ Costa shortlisting with The Confessions of Franny Langton, Silvia Molteni’s client Onjali Q Raúf winning the Waterstones kids’ award, and head of books Tim Bates selling Andrew Ridgeley’s memoir to Michael Joseph.

    Agents & rights
  • Madeleine Milburn

    Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency Founder

    MMLA’s clients triumphed this year: Mark Edwards’ books sold three million copies; C J Tudor’s The Chalk Man won several international awards; Poonam Mistry was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal; while débutant Anna Fargher picked up a Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award. Oh, and the Eleanor Oliphant... paperback hit the million-copy mark. Milburn also struck huge deals for Ashley Audrain’s The Push (including a seven-figure UK deal with Michael Joseph) and Lizzy Goudsmit’s Seven Lies.

    Agents & rights
  • Lisa Milton

    HQ Executive publisher

    Milton’s HQ division launched at HarperCollins three years ago, and has kicked into high gear. The BOSH! boys solidified their place as vegan cookery superstars, Adele Parks has cemented her move to crime with Lies Lies Lies and Christina Dalcher’s VOX has been one of the most talked-about paperbacks of the year. A recent round of promotions saw Kate Mills stepping up to publisher and Manpreet Grewal to publishing director, while Abigail Fenton, who arrived from Bookouture earlier this year, was named editorial director at HQ Digital.

    Divisional heads
  • Louise Moore

    Michael Joseph Managing director

    The all-conquering first tome from Instagram star Mrs Hinch, modestly titled Hinch Yourself Happy, was the huge breakout for Moore’s MJ this year, with the cleaning guru’s two titles shifting just under £4.5m and bagging four overall UK number ones. MJ’s usual big brands also pitched in: Jamie Oliver was bang on trend with Veg (£4m), Nadiya Hussain’s Time to Eat shifted 76,000 units, and the sainted Jojo “the saviour of Quick Reads” Moyes chipped in £1m. The celeb memoir hit, meanwhile, has been from Wham! man Andrew Ridgeley.

    Divisional heads
  • Kate Mosse

    Women’s Prize/author Chair/author

    The Women’s Prize officially became a charity in early 2019 and expanded its patron scheme, a move co-founder Mosse said “will enable us to be even more ambitious”. The award, now sponsored by Baileys, NatWest and newest addition Fremantle, was won by Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage in June. With sales rising 164% in the week of the announcement, it has now shifted a whisker under 100,000 copies in print—making the Women’s Prize a more powerful sales motivator than an endorsement from Barack Obama.

    Fairs & Festivals
  • Hilary Murray Hill

    Hachette Children’s Group Chief executive officer

    A flat year in sales for HCG, but it made gains with Onjali Q Raúf’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-winner The Boy at the Back of the Class and Matthew Syed’s Nibbies Children’s Illustrated & Non-Fiction Book of the Year, You Are Awesome. The Kes Gray/Jim Field Oi! series continued to surge, while feminist YA list Bellatrix launched with titles from Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Kit de Waal. HCG has done its bit for expanding its regional activity too, with the inaugural £5,000 Hachette Children’s Novel Award for new Northern voices.

    Divisional heads
  • Ann-Janine Murtagh

    HarperCollins Children’s Books Executive publisher

    Stalwart HCCB author/illustrator Judith Kerr was named Illustrator of the Year at this year’s British Book Awards, before sadly passing away in May. Murtagh was among the many trade figures to pay tribute to the children’s book legend, who had worked with the publisher since her début The Tiger Who Came to Tea in 1968. Murtagh also signed a new four-book deal with David Baddiel, but another David remains HCCB’s star author: this year David Walliams crested the £100m mark through Nielsen BookScan’s TCM.

    Divisional heads
  • Karen Napier

    The Reading Agency Chief executive officer

    Napier took over as head of The Reading Agency in July, succeeding Sue Wilkinson, who retired after five years at the helm. Napier has hit the ground running at a charity which has greatly extended its reach and activities. A new initiative for 2020 is the expansion of audio titles in the World Book Night offer, with Napier pointing out that audio is an excellent tool to encourage reluctant and first-time readers. A boost this autumn was seeing TRA chosen as one of three charities in the Times’ Christmas appeal.

    New Entry Trade Bodies
  • Nigel Newton

    Bloomsbury Chief executive officer

    It was a brilliant year in trade and academic alike for Newton’s Bloomsbury. The non-consumer arm’s robust growth was driven by exports, although the departure of academic division m.d. Jonathan Glaspool, retiring after 20 years with the firm, will be a blow. The list also inked a licensing agreement to make 14,000 of its academic titles available on digital platform Classoos, and announced a partnership with Human Kinetics, an educational publisher of sport and physical activity titles.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Chantal Noel

    Penguin Random House Group rights director

    Noel stepped up to rights director for the entire PRH group after 11 years leading the Penguin rights team. This is part of a centralisation of the department, with the aim to make a “larger, more nimble structure”. This did mean the departure of well-respected veterans such as Transworld’s Helen Edwards and Penguin’s Alex Elam. But there is oodles of talent in situ, such as Sarah Scarlett in the new role of PRH adult international rights director, and PRH Children’s rights boss Zosia Knopp.

    Agents & rights New Entry
  • Stephen Page

    Faber & Faber Chief executive officer

    Faber’s 90th year has been stellar, with literary gold-dust from Sally Rooney and Anna Burns continuing to drive sales. Rooney’s second novel took Book of the Year at the Nibbies, while Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby won the Début Fiction category and Faber was crowned Independent Publisher of the Year. Page has made internal tweaks through new joiners and freshly created roles, most notably Bloomsbury’s Alexa von Hirschberg stepping into Lee Brackstone’s shoes after the latter’s move to Orion.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Kate Parkin

    Bonnier Books UK M.d., Adult Trade

    Parkin was elevated to her newly created role—in which she oversees adult publishing over eight imprints—just over a year ago. Since then, she has been building and refining the senior team: Elise Burns came over from Bloomsbury as the trade sales and export director after James Horobin’s departure to Welbeck, Matt Phillips was made publisher of non-fiction imprints Blink and John Blake, while Margeret Stead was named publisher of Zaffre and the new literary “conversation creator” imprint Manilla.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • Raj Patel

    Bertram Books Chief executive officer

    There have been ructions galore at the top of Bertram over the past couple of years, but all the drama in the board room undoubtedly went completely unnoticed by the booksellers and customers the distributor serves. Patel came in as c.e.o. following the sale of the business to private equity firm Aurelis, and his first set of accounts were pretty nifty, with Bertram Books posting an £8.5m profit on sales of £246.6m (over an extended 16-month period). Rob Moss’ Wordery division remains a star with sales surging to nearly £80m.

    Booksellers & distributors New Entry
  • Donna Payne

    Faber & Faber Art director

    Faber, with one of the UK’s most iconic design histories, keeps the bar high year in, year out under Payne. She oversees a team that produces a string of eye-catching designs, including Sally Rooney’s ouevre (designed by Gray); Max Porter’s Lanny, reprised by Jonny Pelham in a Waterstones-exclusive hardback as impressive as its original; and the inventive Faber Stories series. Not that Payne is shy of chipping in, too: her work adapting the US design of Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby for the UK market helped the novel on its way to bestsellerdom.

  • Peter Phillips

    Cambridge University Press Chief executive officer

    CUP chief Phillips was elected as the new PA president in April, and in the role has been speaking out on Brexit and copyright, as well as stressing the importance of the publishing industry to education. In the day job, CUP’s latest annual report showed a 42% surge in operating profit for the year to 30th April 2019, driven by a continuing focus on digital products and services. New innovations include its first audiobooks; a platform to publish research outputs, Cambridge Open Engage; and an Open Access agreement with the University of California.

  • Nick Poole

    CILIP Director

    The library sector continues to struggle, but Poole hopes innovation can turn things around, teaming up with US firm the EveryLibrary Institute to launch Libraries Deliver, an Arts Council-funded project bringing existing campaigns together, expanding their support and creating a database of supporters. Elsewhere, Poole got political, criticising Boris Johnson’s suggestion that library closures were down to councils’ financial mismanagement, and leading a campaign calling for politicians to make local libraries a big election issue.

    Trade Bodies
  • Cally Poplak

    Egmont Managing director

    Egmont moved from its Shepherd’s Bush home to WeWork’s Minster Court premises this year, with Poplak hoping the flexible space will encourage more agile, collaborative work. Notable successes this year have been with its début homegrown YA titles, such as Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, the bestselling UK children’s début of the year, and the third-bestselling YA book overall. Laura Steven’s The Exact Opposite of Okay won the Published Author category for the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Prize, too.

  • Nigel Portwood

    Oxford University Press Chief executive officer

    Portwood’s OUP had a decent 2% turnover rise this year, to £841m. But it was a mixed bag across the divisions: the academic side had another excellent year, but it was a challenging time for its education arm. The biggest initiative was the online Oxford Test of English and Oxford Reading Buddy, a digital reading service for primary school children. A restructure of its children’s trade list saw four roles go, including that of well-respected head of children’s publishing, Liz Cross.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • David Prescott

    Blackwell’s Chief executive officer

    More positive notes from the Blackwell’s boss, with the (primarily) academic bookseller posting its third straight year of growth, up to £58.3m, which represents a rise of £15m since 2016. The firm, however, is not quite there yet on profitability, with a £0.9m loss, but that is a reduction from being £1.7m in the red the previous year. In February, Blackwell’s opened the latest of its new-build “flexible space” bookshops in Manchester’s University Green retail and leisure development, bringing the estate up to 32 stores and 10 business centres.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Philip Pullman


    With the launch of the second Book of Dust title and the long-awaited BBC/HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials exhuming all memory of 2008’s turkey “The Golden Compass”, Pullman has had quite the autumn; year on year, his value through the TCM has zipped up 124%. As president of the Society of Authors, Pullman called upon the next UK government to “realise the treasure that the creative arts and industries represent, and to look after them with a full consciousness of the importance and value of those who work in this field” in its 2019 manifesto.

    Authors & illustrators
  • Belinda Rasmussen

    Macmillan Children’s Managing director

    Macmillan Children’s behemoth The Gruffalo turned 20 this year and, as ever, creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (alongside Donaldson’s other illustrators) were among the publisher’s top earners, as were fellow staple bestsellers Rod Campbell and Andy Griffiths. Other hits for the publisher included award-winning The Umbrella Mouse by début author Anna Fargher and illustrator Sam Usher, and the paperback edition of Hilary McKay’s 2019 Costa Children’s Book Award-winner The Skylarks’ War.

    Divisional heads
  • Charlie Redmayne

    HarperCollins Chief executive officer

    David Walliams, Gail Honeyman, Ant Middleton, A J Finn and BOSH! continued to sell well for HC in 2019, and new standouts included Bridget Collins’ The Binding, Adele Parks’ Lies Lies Lies and Nigel Slater’s Greenfeast volumes. As well as a new global deal with Agatha Christie Ltd, the publisher announced enhanced parental leave and a blind recruitment process, and bolstered its sales team, adding Ben Wright, Debbie McNally and Kirsty Bradbury. Helen Garnons-Williams, Tom Killingbeck and Anna Kelly stepped up in editorial, too.

  • Oliver Rhodes

    Bookouture/Hachette C.e.o./digital publishing director

    Rhodes’ Bookouture—built on the model of being primarily digital, with open submissions and a 45% digital royalty rate—has continued to expand as part of Hachette UK, making new hires of Sphere’s Lucy Dauman and HQ’s Cara Chimirri for its commissioning team. In August, the company recorded cumulative sales of over 30 million copies since it was founded by Rhodes in 2012. Almost four million of those sales have been purchases of books written by the list’s superstar crime author Angela Marsons.

    Divisional heads
  • Mike Roberts

    W H Smith Travel Trading controller for books

    Roberts has one of the most enviable jobs in retail, buying books for a whip-smart business that has a laser-focused view of who its customer is, what they want, and when they might want it. WHS’ Travel stores have been the jewel in the retailer’s slightly worn crown—in bookshop, as opposed to share price, performance—for a number of years now; the 2019 annual report showed the division’s sales rose 22% to £817m. Shop expansion drove that growth, but books and Roberts’ smart picks are key, too.

    Booksellers & distributors New Entry
  • Jane Ross

    CGP Managing director

    Another year, another 12 months of eye-popping returns for the Cumbrian indie test-guides dynamo. CGP’s most recent results show a none-too-shabby revenue of £35.4m (+8%) and after-tax profit of £11.4m (+17%). Ross, who will celebrate five years in charge early next year, has focused on diversification and expansion of the list over the past year or two—particularly successful have been its revision question cards range. Fun fact: 17 of the top 20, and 73 of the top 100 test guides through the TCM in 2019 are published by CGP.

  • Axel Scheffler


    Spotted on many an anti-Brexit march over 2019—the UK famously has yet to leave nearly three years on from Article 50, so he’s clearly doing something right—Scheffler marked 20 years of The Gruffalo with author Julia Donaldson this year. The bestselling picture book of all time and its spin-offs have brought in over £32m through the TCM in total. This autumn’s The Smeds and the Smoos, with its message of inclusivity, has already sold over 85,000 copies. The Snail and the Whale will be on TV screens this Christmas, with an adaptation of Zog and the Flying Doctors to follow in 2020.

    Authors & illustrators
  • Michael Schmidt

    Carcanet Managing director

    Schmidt founded Manchester-based Carcanet in 1969 when he was 22 (and its influential “political wing” magazine, PN Review, in 1973) and over the past 50 years it has published scores of Nobel laureates and Forward and T S Eliot prize-winners. Poetry publishing is not easy, and Schmidt has often reinvented Carcanet to ensure it remains relevant and cutting-edge. That remains true in its Golden Jubilee year, with a rebrand and a clever multichannel social media campaign spreading the word.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Rosemary Scoular

    United Agents Head of books

    Another stonking year for Scoular’s mighty United Agents: a ramble through a handful of highlights include Sarah Ballard’s client Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five claiming the Baillie Gifford; Anna Webber’s literary list coming up trumps again with David Szalay winning the Edge Hill Prize; and a young fellow named Philip Pullman (repped by Caradoc King) having a pretty decent year with The Secret Commonwealth. All of this was underpinned by a top-notch new-ish rights team led by Georgina Le Grice, Amy Mitchell and Jane Willis.

    Agents & rights
  • Pete Selby

    W H Smith Books director

    Selby joins W H Smith High Street at a interesting moment, with his boss Al Aldous moving sideways to and Ben Carrington in as trading director. A former Sainsbury’s book buyer, Selby knows what works in the fast-moving consumer goods business, with price, convenience and display the three levers he has at his disposal. The new-look Bath store, with a 2,000 sq ft space dedicated to books, suggests a new, proactive approach to bookselling that will have new emphasis on children’s books and local markets.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Asi Sharabi

    Wonderbly Chief executive officer

    Sharabi co-founded and leads one of children’s publishing’s most innovative and exciting start-ups. Its personalised books have been a hit worldwide—its products have sold into 200 territories—and in a few short years have established a business that turned over £21.2m in its last set of accounts. The range has expanded to 25 book and activity kits, including My Golden Ticket, a personalised “tour” of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, made in partnership with the Roald Dahl estate.

    Bosses New Entry
  • David Shelley

    Hachette Chief executive officer

    Revenues are slightly down at Hachette owing to slow Education sales, but there was a standout performance from digital imprint Bookouture and Short Books, acquired by Octopus in June. Bestsellers included The Fast 800 Recipe Book, memoirs from Billy Connolly and Anne Glenconner, plus old hands Martina Cole and John Grisham. Long-serving employees Clare Harington and Malcolm Edwards left the firm, as did Lucy Hale, the latter as part of a shake-up that saw all trade division m.d.s appointed to the board and reporting to Shelley.

  • Bridget Shine

    Independent Publishers Guild Chief executive officer

    Shine spent much of this year helping indie publishers prepare for Brexit. As well as gathering advice from publishing, supply chain and legal experts to share with its members, the IPG entered talks with DCMS civil servants, asking for support to reduce “the financial and administrative burdens of Brexit” for indies. The annual IPG Awards saw 10 new publishers shortlisted for the first time, and there was an activist theme at the organisation’s Autumn Conference, with speakers such as Be More Pirate author Sam Conniff Allende.

    Trade Bodies
  • Marion Sinclair

    Publishing Scotland Chief executive officer

    As it celebrates its 45th anniversary, Publishing Scotland has more than 100 members, a distribution company in Glasgow and an International Publishing Fellowship. It also launched Scottish Books International—its service promoting Scottish literature overseas, run in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Creative Scotland—at FBF in October. Sinclair has been optimistic about the health of Scotland’s publishing industry, reiterating the importance of the trade’s cultural impact in our current political climate.

    Trade Bodies
  • Kate Skipper

    Waterstones Chief operating officer

    With James Daunt spending much of his time in New York, hopefully steering Barnes & Noble into calmer waters, Skipper is essentially the de facto head of Waterstones, charged with maintaining the upward momentum of the chain. She is certainly up for the task, as she has been a crucial cog in the Daunt recovery. There are still bumps ahead: after a flat 2018, a new head-office buying structure was implemented and there remain shop-floor staff concerns about low pay. But the estate continues to grow, with six stores opening in 2019.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Rebecca Smart

    DK M.d., publishing

    After a successful four years heading Ebury, Smart moved across town to DK in January to take on the newly created role of m.d. for publishing. Smart now oversees the UK’s five publishing divisions, design, UK marketing and PR, publishing operations and the Alpha business, which is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Although her overarching remit has been to expand DK’s new business and digital footprint. She is also expanding the team, luring Mark Searle from Quarto to lead the licensing division.

    Divisional heads
  • Nicola Solomon

    Society of Authors Chief executive

    Solomon has continued her role as a tireless champion of authors—speaking out on the impact that a no-deal Brexit would have on them and the industry; joining calls for political parties to commit to removing VAT on digital publications; and pushing for volunteer-run community libraries to be included in the PLR system. The year also saw a move to new digs in Bloomsbury, and the introduction of the first steering committee for the SoA in Wales. The collective value of the SoA Awards to authors exceeded £100,000 for the first time, too.

    Trade Bodies
  • Miles Stevens-Hoare

    W F Howes Managing director

    Stevens-Hoare leads 20-year-old audiobook publisher and libraries supplier W F Howes during a pivotal moment for the business, with audio sales booming and the battle for audio rights intensifying. In 2019, W F Howes published more than 1,000 audiobook titles, an increase of 156% since 2012. As the company has expanded its output it has grown, now employing more than 50 staff. If it wants to challenge Amazon and Audible in the digital content space, Stevens-Hoare will have a key role to play.

  • Jim Stoddart

    Penguin Art director

    Overseeing the design department at Penguin for 18 years is no small task, but Stoddart’s steering of a skilled team of designers ensures the erstwhile publisher’s output remains nimble, fresh, surprising and remarkably consistent, given its breadth. Yet sadly the biggest news story to emerge from the list’s design studio this year was a tragic one: the loss of Penguin General and Michael Joseph art director John Hamilton, who passed away aged 55. Stepping up to fill his sizeable boots will be Richard Bravery, a senior designer since 2007.

  • Stormzy

    #MerkyBooks Founder

    After launching #MerkyBooks with PRH last year, grime artist Stormzy is already following through on his aim to create a “home for a new generation of voices”. In March, the #MerkyBooks New Writers’ Prize launched in collaboration with The Good Literary Agency and First Story. The imprint also held a free writer’s camp, teamed up with Beats by Dre to open a pop-up shop in London’s Shoreditch, and made its first hire—commissioning editor Lemara Lindsay-Prince. Signing Malorie Blackman to write her memoir was a massive coup.

    Influencers New Entry
  • Peter Straus

    Rogers, Coleridge & White Managing director

    The godfather of literary publishing shows no sign of losing his touch in the 30th year of RCW. On the fresher-faced end of the scale he has recently negotiated great deals for Irish authors: Una Mannion’s début novel has gone to Faber, and Helen Cullen’s second outing went to Michael Joseph. Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte earned a Booker shortlisting, while Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me was a bestseller. RCW’s 30th anniversary party in May was as starry as one would expect, highlighted by Kazuo Ishiguro’s speech.

    Agents & rights
  • Cathryn Summerhayes

    Curtis Brown Agent

    Summerhayes has had a spectacular 2018/19, and it was no surprise to see her crowned Agent of Year at this year’s Nibbies. Adam Kay’s star shows no signs of fading, with 1.25 million copies of his début sold and a strong showing for his second book. Novelist Lucy Foley has also been reinvented as a crime writer with an unmissable publicity campaign for The Hunting Party. This year Summerhayes pulled off a slew of successful deals, including for début author Rebecca Watson’s little scratch.

    Agents & rights New Entry
  • Melanie Tansey

    Hachette UK Group HR director

    Tansey joined at the end of last year at a crucial point in Hachette’s expansion, to support “ambitious growth” and increase diversity across the group. In a shake-up that saw several old hands leave, and a number of new hires made from outside the industry, Tansey set up a new model, giving six heads of HR responsibility for strategic areas such as diversity and inclusion, talent management and leadership capability. New policies focus on the recruitment and retention of “the best of British talent”.

    Divisional heads New Entry
  • David Taylor

    Ingram/Lightning Source UK Senior v.p. content acquisition/Group managing director

    Taylor orchestrated a year of expansion and logistical moves for Ingram UK. A new distribution centre was opened in Milton Keynes, close to print-on-demand specialist Lightning Source, as part of the ongoing plan to relocate distribution operations of NBNi—acquired by Ingram in late 2017—from its Plymouth base. The move will complete in 2020, enabling Ingram to have a full in-house operation, having previously had to outsource some warehousing.

    Booksellers & distributors Evergreen
  • Hannah Telfer

    Penguin Random House M.d., audiences and audio

    Telfer is overseeing a transformation at PRH as the publisher seeks to reach out wider than ever to more people. Esquire digital editor Sam Parker joined last May as its first ever editor-in-chief, marking the website’s shift from a predominantly marketing-led unit to an editorially-driven space “with a clear voice and purpose”. There is loads of talent across Telfer’s team, including 2019 Bookseller Rising Star Zainab Juma, who has spearheaded a host of eye-catching campaigns such as Penguin Pride and #LikeAWoman

    PR, sales & marketing
  • Jacques Testard

    Fitzcarraldo Editions Publisher

    If one were to characterise Testard’s commissioning sense, you might say “a young Christopher MacLehose”. He set up his largely fiction in translation indie just a few years ago and has brought oodles of taste-making and prize-winning foreign writers to our shores, not least the Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, whom Fitzcarraldo published long before she was a gleam in the Nobel committee’s eye. It is not all translations, though, with recent English-language highlights including Jeremy Cooper’s Ash Before Oak.

    Editors New Entry
  • Jacks Thomas

    London Book Fair Director

    The 2019 edition of London Book Fair introduced a line-up of live podcasts, with headline authors including Ian McEwan and Holly Bourne, and podcasters were recognised for the first time as part of its UK Book Blog Awards. With Brexit dominating conversation at Olympia, the fair was home to a Café Europe, while Swedish publisher Dorotea Bromberg received the LBF Lifetime Achievement Award. In another first-time move, LBF’s Cameo (Creativity Across Media: Entertainment and Originality) awards made their US début in May.

    Fairs & Festivals
  • Carole Tonkinson

    Bluebird Publisher

    Tonkinson set up her imprint at Pan Mac after joining from HarperCollins in 2014, and it was this year when her ability to capture the zeitgeist helped Bluebird really soar, mainly down to Pinch of Nom’s arrival at the top of the charts. Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone’s slimming recipes were a publishing phenomenon, with the original book selling 1.04 million books for £10.3m since its March release, becoming the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time in the process. A sister imprint for titles on sustainable living launches in 2020.

  • Robert Topping

    Topping & Co Owner

    Renegade Waterstone-ite turned indie stalwart Topping returns to this list after 10 years, with a particularly fruitful 2019 capped by the opening of a 4,000 sq ft new premises in Edinburgh this September. Topping and wife Louise’s mini-empire is now up to four outposts after the original Ely shop opened in 2002, Bath in 2007 and St Andrews in 2014. The Scottish capital store remains a family affair, led by the Toppings’ son and daughter Hugh and Cordelia, along with former St Andrews staffer Duncan Furness.

    Booksellers & distributors
  • Jeremy Trevathan

    Pan Macmillan Publisher, adult books

    Pan Macmillan’s adult division is very much at the fore of a stellar 2019. Those figures have been buoyed by the spectacular success of Pinch of Nom and the perennial appearance of Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt in the bestseller lists. Picador was named Imprint of the Year at the Nibbies, and the publisher capped it all off with the release of Elton John’s Me, an anecdote-packed autobiography Trevathan had tried to land for decades. With another Nom... title on the way and a festive Kay follow-up, the publisher is on course for a record year.

    Divisional heads
  • Lis Tribe

    Hodder Education Managing director

    Even as sales in the overall education sector were hit hard by declining government and schools’ budgets in 2019, Tribe held the good ship Hodder Education sector steady, marginally increasing the division’s overall market share from 21.2% to 21.9% in the UK as of its latest third-quarter results. Using her voice to rally for a more inclusive book trade in 2019, the former Publishers Association president also argued for concrete targets and auditing to tackle the gender imbalance in the industry’s top jobs.

    Divisional heads
  • Nicola Tuxworth

    Cheltenham Literature Festival Director

    The world’s longest-running literary festival turned 70 this year, with a record-breaking number of tickets sold (over 140,000), its most diverse programme yet, and a new broadcast partnership with Sky Arts. Its Seven at Seventy celebrations included seven guest curators—among them writers Max Porter and Tessa Hadley—working with Tuxworth’s programming team; and the festival’s work continued year-round too, with education and outreach schemes. As Tuxworth says, “here’s to 70 more years”.

    Fairs & Festivals New Entry
  • Peter Usborne & Nicola Usborne

    Usborne Books Founder/deputy m.d.

    The children’s indie continues to go from strength to strength under the father and daughter team. Sales through the TCM for 2019 are up 8.8% year on year to £19m, while the firm continues to see consistent growth through non-traditional retail channels. Its novelty and activity range, particularly the That’s Not My… series, drives sales, but fiction is also thriving, with Usborne scoring four out of the seven nominations on this year’s Branford Boase shortlist. Its fiction editorial director, Rebecca Hill, was rewarded with the Editor of the Year Nibbie.

  • Anna Valentine

    Trapeze, Seven Dials, Orion Spring Executive publisher

    In taking the reins from Amanda Harris for Seven Dials and Orion Spring, this year Valentine—a Rising Star in 2011, who set up Trapeze in 2016—oversees the bulk of Orion’s commercial non-fiction publishing. Her move up the ranks followed Trapeze’s shortlisting for Imprint of the Year at the British Book Awards in May, and her own nomination for Editor of the Year. Among her bestsellers are starry titles from Alan Partridge and Fearne Cotton, plus the Christmas smash hit The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book.

    Editors New Entry
  • Robert Waddingon

    Penguin Random House Group sales director

    Waddington manages teams selling across both the UK and internationally, having originally cut his salesman teeth at Asda/Wal-Mart. He joined Random House in 2003 as a key account manager, rising to become sales director at Cornerstone. There he helped to drive the success of E L James’ Fifty Shades trilogy and grow the sales of authors including James Patterson, Robert Harris and Kathy Reichs. He was promoted to deputy international sales director in 2012, before taking the top sales job almost two years ago.

    New Entry PR, sales & marketing
  • David Walliams


    Walliams rarely has a bad year, but 2019 has been a fantastic one—and not just because he won a Nibbie. The Tony Ross-illustrated Fing soared straight to number one in February, with The World’s Worst Teachers breaking records in June. This was just the build-up to November, when a later-than-usual autumn release—the alarmingly topical The Beast of Buckingham Palace—saw Walliams obliterate his already sky-high launch week record, racking up two consecutive weeks of six-figure volumes. On top of that, his all-time BookScan sales surpassed £100m this year.

    Authors & illustrators
  • Patrick Walsh

    PEW Literary Founder

    Three years after setting up PEW Literary, the former Conville & Walsh founder is riding high, showing particular nous for non-fiction and boosting the agency with strategic hires. He recently secured a Profile pre-empt for a title about anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was murdered in Malta two years ago, while a début non-fiction book by Irish scientist Olive Heffernan about the “Blue Gold Rush” led to three-way auctions in both the US and UK, again settling with Profile here.

    Agents & rights New Entry
  • Tom Weldon

    Penguin Random House Chief executive officer

    It’s been a pretty good year for Weldon’s PRH, nearing a double-digit rise in TCM value sales, albeit against a relatively weak 2018. The Penguin divisions have led the way, with Michael Joseph the star. Of PRH’s four books in the UK’s 2019-to-date top 10, MJ published three, led by breakout Instagrammer Mrs Hinch’s Hinch Yourself Happy, the overall group’s bestseller of the year so far. The move of much of the group to the new digs in One Embassy Gardens will loom large on Weldon’s 2020 agenda.

    Bosses Evergreen
  • Steven Williams & Jason Bartholomew

    Midas PR Joint-c.e.o.s

    A bit of change in personnel for Midas. A year and half ago Bartholomew , crossed over from a rights director role at Hachette to join Williams at the agency with the golden touch, with Tony Mulliken, Williams’ co-founder, concentrating on international business. This was followed by a management buyout, with directors Nicola Green and Tory Lyne-Pirkis among those who joined the new board. This year’s eye-catching hire was Georgina Moore, who joined the firm after spending 17 years at Headline.

    PR, sales & marketing
  • Vicky Williams

    Emerald Publishing Managing director

    Williams steered Emerald to sales of £50m in her second year in charge (though she knows the business inside and out, having worked at the Yorkshire-based social sciences indie in various roles for 20 years). Her early(ish) tenure at the top had a nice start when Emerald took home the 2019 Nibbie for Academic, Educational & Professional Publisher of the Year. Two big 2019 digital launches have been Open Access site Emerald Open Research, and its Emerald Insight research platform.

    Bosses New Entry
  • Kate Wilson

    Nosy Crow Managing director

    Wilson’s indie won its second Children’s Publisher of the Year title at the 2019 Nibbies for its breadth of creative publishing, collaboration with partners (among them John Lewis, the British Museum and the National Trust), and its excellent care of authors and staff, as well as its commitment to inclusivity. Sales through the TCM for the year are up 7.4% to £4.5m, against a strong 2018, while it continues to thrive overseas. Catherine Bruton’s No Ballet Shoes in Syria also bagged the Children’s Fiction Books Are My Bag Readers’ Award.

  • Gaby Wood

    Booker Prize Literary director

    Wood may have expected a quieter year in her role as literary director of the Booker Prizes following 2018’s 50th anniversary celebrations, but 2019 has been just as noteworthy. Back in February, it was revealed the prizes had a new sponsor in Crankstart, an announcement that was welcomed by the trade. Less universally praised was the Booker panel’s shock decision to crown two winners, a move Wood later had to defend amid backlash from some in the industry. However, elsewhere it was hailed as “an absolute gift for bookselling”.

    Fairs & Festivals
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