Speakers

Our Speakers

  • Paul Abbassi
    Bookstat
    Founder & c.e.o
    Paul Abbassi is the founder and chief executive of Bookstat, a data provider supplying real-time, comprehensive sales tracking and in-depth analytics for the online and digital book consumer market. Bookstat’s daily title-level data encompasses e-book, audiobook, and online print book sales from traditional publishers, non-traditional publishers and self-publishers. Prior to Bookstat, Abbassi spent 15 years as a C-level tech executive in the US videogame industry, where he spearheaded for large videogame publishers the rollout of real-time, technology-enabled tracking of competitive mobile-videogame sales worth tens of billions of unreported dollars per year, sold through the opaque Apple & Google online videogame app stores. Between 2014 and 2017, Abbassi was also the pseudonymous co-founder of the AuthorEarnings site, applying the same technology-driven approach to dissecting Amazon Kindle sales, Apple iBooks sales, and B&N Nook sales, and giving the industry visibility for the very first time into the hundreds of millions of consumer digital book purchases going unreported in traditional metrics.
  • Nels Abbey
    Media executive, writer and satirist
    Nels Abbey is British-Nigerian media executive, writer, and satirist. Prior to any of the above he was a senior banker in the City of London (Nels politely asks that this very minor fact should not be held against him) . Nels is a co-founding organiser of the Black Writers' Guild. Think Like a White Man, a satirical self-help book on being black in the professional world, is his first book.
  • Nancy Adimora
    HarperCollins UK
    Talent and audience development manager
    Nancy Adimora is the Talent and Audience Development Manager at HarperCollins and works across the business to help attract new authors and reach new readers from diverse communities across the UK. She joined HarperCollins in January 2017 through the company’s traineeship scheme, and is also the founding editor of AFREADA, an African literary magazine. Nancy previously managed strategic partnerships for TEDxEuston, and has worked on curation projects with companies including Twitter and the Royal African Society, where she led marketing and publicity campaigns for Africa Writes, a literature festival at the British Library.
  • Nelle Andrew
    Rachel Mills Literary
    Literary agent
    Nelle Andrew is an agent at Rachel Mills Literary. She represents a wide array of award winning and bestselling authors across fiction and non-fiction. She was shortlisted for Agent of the Year in 2018 and was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016.
  • Graeme Armstrong
    Writer
    Graeme Armstrong grew up in Airdrie. His teenage years were spent within North Lanarkshire’s territorial gang culture. At 16 years old, he picked up a copy of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting and was blown away – it was then he began to consider studying English at university as a possibility, a dream met with scepticism by many. Alongside overcoming his own struggles with drug addiction, alcohol abuse and violence, he read English as an undergraduate at the University of Stirling, beginning work on The Young Team, then a trilogy, after graduating with honours, and in a state of lonely withdrawal. He returned to study Creative Writing, and after achieving his Master of Letters with merit, continued work on the book, receiving no outside funding and continuing to study and work full time throughout its writing. In 2019 Picador acquired world rights to publish the novel. Editor Kris Doyle said of the book: “Armstrong understands what’s going on in this community and has transformed his intimate knowledge into a ferociously written novel. He nails the cultural references, the dialogue and the landscape; he’s also brought to life a character you’ll care about as he tries to negotiate the world in front of him. I think a lot of readers will be shocked by it, but there’ll be another group who read this book and say: that’s what it’s like, that’s it exactly.” THE YOUNG TEAM was published in March 2020, and has been heralded as ‘‘One of the most eagerly anticipated and talked about new British titles of the year’ and ‘an instant Scottish classic’. Graeme Armstrong lives and works in Glasgow, and is currently working on his second novel.
  • Videl Bar-Kar
    Bookwire
    Global head of audio
    As Global Head of Audio for Bookwire, Videl Bar-Kar leads the international expansion of the company’s rapidly growing audio business, from production through distribution of audiobooks and the development of flexible, end-to-end solutions for publishers across all markets. Videl has over 20 years media industry experience in both corporate and start up environments. He has worked in publishing for over a decade, first as Director of the Ways With Words literary festival, then as the first Audio Publisher for Penguin Random House, where he led an award winning team across editorial, production and marketing to create the UK’s leading audiobook publisher. He is a member of the Cheltenham Literature Festival advisory board and co-founder of Minotaur Productions, whose Johnny Cash audio documentary ‘Folsom Untold’ reached No.1 in the New York Times non-fiction audiobook chart.
  • Fionnuala Barrett
    HarperCollins Publisher
    Editorial director, Audio
    Fionnuala Barrett is Editorial Director, Audio, at HarperCollins Publishers. She oversees the audio publishing programme for HarperCollins’ commercial adult trade divisions, whose authors include Agatha Christie, J.R.R Tolkien, George R.R. Martin and many more.
  • Steve Bohme
    Nielsen
    Steve has managed the Books and Consumers survey since 1997, as well as a wide variety of other qualitative and quantitative research projects relating to the book market, and to reading and buying habits. Steve is a Member of the Market Research Society (MRS). Steve Bohme joined Nielsen when Nielsen acquired the business intelligence and commerce solutions products from Bowker in 2013. Prior to that, Steve worked at Bowker Market Research (BML) since 1994, becoming Research Manager in 1996 and Research Director in 2001.
  • Paul Chen
    Wiley Inc.
    Video services manager
    Paul Chen is an accomplished Video Writer/Producer/Director with over 30 years of creative experience in broadcasting, media production, advertising and publishing. He received his degree in at the University of Indianapolis (BS: Radio/TV and Business Communications) and in the last decade, he’s worked at Wiley within their Education Publishing division. Hired as the first full time member of the video department, Paul’s led the growth of video content creation for both the traditional book side of the business and online education and test prep business units. One of his creative achievements was leading the development of Wiley’s own Lightboard for instructional based video interactive learning. Paul’s married to his wife Joy and are both raising Cassie, a sophomore at Indiana Wesleyan University majoring in Spanish with a minor in Strategic Communications. Paul and his family love to get unplugged outdoors, camping in their 20+ foot travel trailer and reside in Fishers, Indiana, USA.
  • Katie Clapham
    Storytellers, Inc.
    Bookseller
    Katie Clapham is a bookseller at Storytellers, Inc., an independent bookshop she owns with her mum in Lytham St, Annes, Lancashire. She is also a writer, reviewer and prolific tweeter @storytellersinc.
  • Michele Cobb
    Audio Publishers Association
    Executive director
    Michele Cobb is Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association. She is also a partner at Forte Business Consulting, which provides Business Development services for the publishing industry, and she is Publisher of both AudioFile Magazine and MMB Media.
  • Helen Conford
    Profile Books
    Publisher
    Helen Conford is publisher of Profile Books, one of the UK’s leading independent houses. Formerly Publishing Director and Publisher at Allen Lane and Particular Books, part of Penguin Random House, she was the industry’s Editor of the Year in 2014. She has published a wide range of authors including Cathy Park Hong, Malcolm Gladwell, James Rebanks, Grayson Perry, Matt Parker and Alexa Chung and acquired Bessel van der Kolk, Greta Thunberg, David Wallace Wells amongst others.
  • Sam Copeland
    Rogers, Coleridge and White
    Literary agent, director and writer
    Sam Copeland is an agent and director at Rogers, Coleridge and White. He was shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards. He has an extremely diverse list of award-winning and bestselling authors, representing writers of both literary and commercial fiction and all genres. He is also an author, which has come as something of a shock to him. His phenomenally popular debut Charlie Changes Into a Chicken was a huge bestseller, and has been sold in 26 languages, was shortlisted for the 2020 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and longlisted for the Blue Peter and Branford Boase Awards.
  • Cait Davies
    Orion Publishing Group
    Head of marketing
    Cait Davies is Head of Marketing of the Orion Publishing Group, part of Hachette UK. Working across all eight imprints, she works with authors including Michael Connelly, Philippe Sands, Joe Abercrombie, Libby Page and Candice Carty-Williams. Prior to joining Orion in 2017, Cait worked at HarperFiction and Hot Key Books, part of Bonnier Books UK.
  • Sonia Draga
    Sonia Draga Publishing Group
    Founder, owner & editor-in-chief
    Sonia Draga is a true Publishing Entrepreneur - the Founder and Owner of Sonia Draga Publishing Group which she established in 2000. It quickly became one of the biggest publishing houses in Poland, specializing in contemporary fiction, biographies, reportage and popular science, publishing around 200 new titles per year. The Group owns 4 bookstores, 3 of which have cafes hosting literary events. The Group also has 4 imprints - a Children’s publishing house called Debit and a graphic novels imprint – Non Stop Comics, a YA fiction brand Mlody Books and a non-fiction brand Post Factum. In 2012 Sonia Draga was chosen the Best Publisher of the year 2012. In 2015 she was awarded the National Order of Merit by the President of France for distinguished achievements in promotion of French literature. She was also awarded several orders by the Polish authorities. Keen on foreign languages, she has translated several books from English: “Car Stereo Cookbook” by Mark Rumreich, “Good in Bed” by Jennifer Weiner, “The Polar Express” by Chris van Allsburg, “Mozart Finds Melody” by Stephen Constanza, and her recent work is “In the time of contagion” by Paolo Giordano. Apart from English, she speaks also French, Italian, Spanish and a little Swedish. Sonia Draga is also an author of several books illustrated with her own photographs: “Mexico – a country of contrasts”, “South Africa – a country of surprises”, an album with her own photographs “World in My Camera” and of any articles written for a Polish publishing industry magazine. She was a hostess of the TV program on books “Silesia reads” and she is involved in many activities promoting Reading for Pleasure. She was also a member of the board at the Book Fair Ltd. - the company that organizes major book fairs in Warsaw, Gdynia, Szczecin and Katowice. In September 2020 she was elected the President of the Polish Book Chamber.
  • Ben Drury
    Yoto
    Co-founder and c.e.o
    Ben Drury is the co-founder and CEO of Yoto, a kids audio platform inspiring the next generation of independent creative minds. Yoto has been described as “a godsend for modern parents” by Fast Company. Ben began his career as the founder of dotmusic.com, a company he later sold to Yahoo! before co-founding media marketplace 7digital in 2004. Ben was named by Growing Business magazine as a Young Gun 2006 – the award for leading entrepreneurs under 35. In 2007, 7digital was awarded the prestigious Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award as one of the most promising technology companies in Europe.
  • Vicky Ellis
    Clays
    Sales director
    Vicky joined Clays in 2007 as an Account Director and was appointed Sales Director in 2018. She has experience in a wide range of industries and has worked for major brands including Vodafone and TUI UK. In her current role she works collaboratively with her publishers to understand their business and offer services to allow books to get to market in the most cost effective, efficient and sustainable way. She represents Clays at the BIC supply chain meetings and recently joined the IPG sustainability group.
  • Bec Evans
    Prolifiko
    Founder
    Bec Evans is a writer, speaker and business founder. While working in publishing she turned her side hustle Prolifiko - a writing productivity coach - into a startup. Her first book, How to Have a Happy Hustle: The Complete Guide to Making Your Ideas Happen won the Startup Inspiration category at the 2020 Business Book Awards. As a consultant she helps businesses innovate and coaches people to build the skills and confidence to make their ideas happen.
  • Abi Fellows
    The Good Literary Agency
    Literary Agent
    Abi joined TGLA in March 2019 and works across fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Before joining TGLA, Abi worked as a literary scout at Rosalind Ramsay Ltd for seven years. She has incredibly broad experience in the industry having been a literary agent at Georgina Capel Associates prior to becoming a scout and having also worked as a bookseller at Blackwell’s and on the sales team at Faber and Faber. Abi has a BA in English Literature from Bristol University and an MA in English Literature: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London.
  • Carla Herbertson
    Zebralution
    Head of international audio content
    Carla Herbertson is Head of International Audio Content for digital distributor Zebralution. She develops content partnerships with key players within publishing and digital media industries to bring audiobooks and spoken word content to Zebralution’s platforms, which includes music streaming services. Carla has been working in the audio industry for twenty years. During her ten-year stint at the BBC she mainly produced children’s content for Radio 4 and the then BBC Radio 7 and CBeebies. As a freelancer, Carla consulted on a variety of audio productions for PRH and the Open University. Before joining Zebralution, Carla developed a high quality and cost saving strategy for the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s newsagent service.
  • Morten Hesseldahl
    Gyldendal
    C.e.o
    Morten Hesseldahl is the CEO at Danish publishing house Gyldendal. Before that Morten was, among other positions, head of The Royal Danish Theater and member of the board of directors at national broadcaster DR. All in all Morten has been in book publishing for about twenty years. At the age of 54, he is educated in philosophy and economy, and the author of twelve novels.
  • John Howkins
    Global strategist and writer
    John is a global strategist and author on creativity, innovation and work. He is the author of ‘Invisible Work (2020) and ‘The Creative Economy’ which introduced the term and has been translated into 15 languages. His books are based on his business experience in Britain, America and China. He is a director of First Person Films, Television Investments and CrecoLab (Beijing). He is a former chairman of BOP Consulting, Tornado Productions and CREATEC as well as the London Film School. He visits China 5-6 times a year and is a founding investor in the Shanghai Creative Industries Investment Corporation. He is the Founder of the Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property. He was associated with HBO and Time Warner as Chief European Adviser from 1982 to 1996. Previously he was Executive Director of the International Institute of Communications. He was a journalist on Friends, Time Out, Harpers & Queen and Sunday Times and editor of Vision and InterMedia.
  • Nathan Hull
    Beat Technology
    Chief strategy officer
    Nathan Hull is Chief Strategy Officer at Beat Technology and takes responsibility for its expansion beyond the Nordics. Beat helps publishers build digital brand experiences and own the relationship with their consumers via subscription and a la carte platforms for audiobooks and ebooks. It’s partners include Fabel (Norway), Chapter (Denmark) and Skoobe (Germany). Beat will soon be adding publisher-backed platforms markets in a further 6 markets in the coming months to its portfolio. Prior to Beat, Nathan launched the curated Dutch service Bookchoice in 9 markets and was Chief Business Development Officer at Denmark’s Mofibo prior to its acquisition by Storytel. Notably, Nathan was also Penguin Random House’s Digital Product Director, with strategic responsibility for its award-winning audio and digital portfolio as well as its innovation strategy working closely with the likes of Stephen Fry, Jamie Oliver, Jeff Kinney, and Roald Dahl’s estate.
  • Sara Hunt
    Saraband
    Founder & director
    Sara Hunt is the founder and director of award-winning independent publisher Saraband. She worked in publishing in London (at Octopus and Penguin) and New York, before founding Saraband in 1994. Saraband focuses on narrative non-fiction – in nature, history, place and memoir – and literary fiction, whilst sister imprint Contraband is dedicated to brilliant writing with a dark edge, often defying traditional genre categories. With a strong track record in publishing writers from underrepresented backgrounds, often debuts, with diverse voices, Saraband’s authors have won or been shortlisted for an array of literary awards from the Booker and Rathbones Folio prizes to specialist and/or local awards like the Wainwright, Polari, Paul Torday, Saltire, Highland and Lakeland prizes. Sara grew up in Lancashire and has family ties in both the North of England and Scotland.
  • Hamza Jahanzeb
    Inclusivity advocate
  • Matthew Jones
    Perlego
    VP Content acquisition and strategy
    Matthew Jones is part of the founding team at Perlego - the eBook subscription service founded in 2016. Now one of Europe's most well funded EdTech businesses, Perlego is often billed in the press as 'the Spotify for textbooks'. Formerly a qualified teacher, Matthew is a firm EdTech advocate having recently published a report on 'The Future of Learning' in The Times.
  • Sabah Khan
    One More Chapter
    Head of publicity
    Sabah Khan is Head of Publicity at Avon and One More Chapter. She was voted a Bookseller Rising Star in 2018 and was also shortlisted for a PPC Award for ‘best debut campaign’ for Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams last year. She is also a founding member of Elevate, HarperCollins’ network for BAME employees.
  • Matt Kibble
    Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
    Director of digital product management
    Matt Kibble is the Director of Product Management at Bloomsbury Digital Resources, with strategic responsibility for the development of Bloomsbury’s rapidly-expanding Academic digital product portfolio, including resources such as Bloomsbury Collections, Bloomsbury Fashion Central, Drama Online and Bloomsbury Popular Music. He joined Bloomsbury in 2012 after 12 years managing literature, arts and archive products at ProQuest.
  • Lizzy Kremer
    David Higham Associates
    Director & Head of books
    Lizzy Kremer represents commercial and literary fiction and non-fiction. She was President of the Association of Authors’ Agents from January 2018-2020 and was named the British Book Industry Awards 2016 Agent of the Year. Lizzy is a director of David Higham Associates and Head of the Books Department. She writes a blog at https://publishingforhumans.com/.
  • Martin Latham
    Bookseller & writer
    After getting his PhD in Indian history from London University Martin Latham worked as a bookseller for 36 years, in the London indie Slaney and McKay and , since 1990, as manager of Waterstones Canterbury, which he set up and still runs full-time. Novelist David Mitchell was his first fiction buyer. The Canterbury shop has the last rocking horses in Waterstones. Latham has sold £50 million of books there, and run thousands of author talks , to audiences totalling over 65,000. Aged 64, he intends to run his shop until he is 100. His 2020 Bookseller's Tale (Particular Books) was praised for its 'sheer enthusiasm' in The Guardian and well -reviewed in both the Daily Mail and TLS.
  • Sara Lloyd
    Pan Macmillan
    Digital and communications director
    Sara is an experienced publishing and communications professional and Executive board director with many years building and developing teams, driving commercial results, focusing on strategic planning, change management, marketing and communications, stakeholder management, and digital and business model innovation. She currently manages all marketing, brand development, consumer insight and communications for the consumer publisher, Pan Macmillan, responsible for a team of 40+ and the group’s promotional budget. Her remit covers BTB and BTC comms and she also leads the company’s brand development strategy incorporating author, illustrator and corporate brands. Her career over the last 27+ years has spanned newspaper, academic, reference, STM and consumer publishing and she has played a key role in transforming many publishing businesses from print to digital, driving and delivering cultural as well as structural and process change. She is a regular presenter and writer on many topics including innovation, change and marketing, looking to share and inspire others. She has been selected as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Publishing by The Bookseller for the last ten years, she was named FutureBook Leader of the Year in 2016, and she is one of the “FutureBook 40”, a list of the top 40 innovators across the publishing industry, published for the first time in 2018.
  • Anna Maclaren May
    Bonnier
    Human resources director
    As human resources director, Anna is responsible for leading and developing the people strategy for the UK business - to support and inspire both the business and its people. She joined Bonnier Books UK in 2018 and has previously worked across Europe in a diverse number of sectors, including: manufacturing, not-for-profit and the music industry.
  • Claire Malcolm
    New Writing North
    Chief executive
    Claire is the founding Chief Executive of New Writing North where she oversees new commissions and flagship projects such as the Gordon Burn Prize, the Northern Writers’ Awards, Durham Book Festival and the David Cohen Prize for Literature and award-winning work with young people. She leads the company’s external relationships with partners such as Faber and Faber, Hachette, Sky and Channel 4. She commissions podcasts, creative work and leads NWN’s publishing programme. New Writing North won Creative Business of the Year at the 2019 North East Business Awards.
  • Perminder Mann
    Bonnier Books UK
    Chief executive
    Perminder Mann is the CEO of Bonnier Books UK, a major UK publisher with sales of £80m. Bonnier Books UK is part of Bonnier Books, a family-owned company headquartered in Sweden and a top 15-world publisher. She holds the position of Chair of the Publisher’s Association Consumer Publishing Council, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the advisory board for Kingston University’s publishing program, and of the BBC100 steering group committee. Perminder is recognised as one of the UK’s most powerful leaders in Green Park’s Colour of Power reports. She also appears annually in the UK’s top 100 most influential people in book publishing, a list compiled by the industry’s trade magazine, the Bookseller, and in 2015 was named as one of the top 10 most influential people in publishing and writing, at the prestigious Hospital Club h100 awards. She is the Chair of the Publisher’s Association Consumer Publisher’s Council. Instagram: @perminder_mann Twitter: @perminder14 LinkedIn: Perminder Mann
  • Sarah McIntyre
    Writer & illustrator
    Sarah McIntyre writes and illustrates the bestselling Grumpycorn picture books and also co-authors longer highly illustrated books with Philip Reeve, including the latest, Kevin and the Biscuit Bandit. Together with James Mayhew in 2015, she started the Pictures Mean Business campaign to show people how everyone benefits when illustrators are credited for their work: picturesmeanbusiness.com (campaign website built by Soni Speight)
  • Lisa Milton
    HQ and Mills & Boon
    Executive publisher
    Lisa Milton is the Executive Publisher of HQ and Mills & Boon and sits on the Executive Committee of HarperCollins UK. Committed to inclusivity, and specializing in commercial fiction, non-fiction, and innovative digital publishing, HQ publishes books across all formats for all readers. Since its launch in 2016, HQ has established a stellar record of publishing Sunday Times bestsellers, including bestselling fiction authors Adele Parks, B A Paris, Linwood Barclay and Sarah Morgan. Erica James will also join HQ for her next book. HQ’s non-fiction successes include launching the record-breaking debut by the vegan brand BOSH! and the bestselling skincare book ever by Caroline Hirons, as well as June Sarpong’s award-winning Diversify. Claudia Winkleman joins HQ for her brilliant debut book and Joe Wicks will publish his first book with HQ in 2021.
  • Sam Missingham
    The Empowered Author
    Founder
    Sam Missingham is an award-winning book marketer and publishing consultant. She runs The Empowered Author, (theempoweredauthor.com), a book marketing membership service for authors, and she works as a consultant for publisher and authors. Prior to this she worked at HarperCollins UK for 4 years as head of audience development where she ran large-scale marketing campaigns that connected books and authors with readers. Previous to HarperCollins she worked at The Bookseller, running conferences, awards, and marketing, and where she was also co-founder of FutureBook. Follow Sam on Twitter: @samatlounge @empoweredauthor
  • Ellis Moore
    Bolinda Publishing
    Senior rights and content manager
    Ellis Moore has worked in the audiobook industry for six years to date, specialising in audiobook acquisitions across the trade and library market. Since being awarded a place in the Bookseller’s Rising Stars in 2017, Ellis currently works as Senior Rights and Content Manager at Bolinda Publishing, overseeing all acquisitions for the global list.
  • Niamh Mulvey
    Writer, editor & publisher
    Niamh Mulvey is a writer and editor. She worked for ten years in UK publishing before leaving to set up a children's books start-up. She also writes a newsletter on money in publishing and the arts. Her work has appeared in The Stinging Fly, Banshee, The Irish Times, The Bookseller, Image Magazine and The Pool. She is from Kilkenny, Ireland and lives in south London.
  • Nadia Odunayo
    The StoryGraph
    Founder and c.e.o
    Nadia Odunayo is the founder and CEO of The StoryGraph, the new website that helps you to track your reading and choose which book to read next. She previously worked at Pivotal Labs as a software engineer and originally learnt to code at Makers Academy in London. In her spare time she loves to take dance class and, naturally, read!
  • Clarissa Pabi
    Acast UK
    Content development manager
    Listed on the inaugural FutureBook40 list, Clarissa is a multi-award-winning marketeer and producer who in 2020 wrote a seminal thought-leadership piece for The Bookseller on the opportunity for book publishers in podcasting. Clarissa works as Content Development Manager at Acast, the world’s largest podcast company, where she helps to develop, market and monetise podcasts from independent podcasters and content publishers including no.1 podcasts Feel Better Live More, Talking Politics, Dear Joan and Jericha, Growing up with gal-dem, the BBC’s The Missing Crypto-Queen, Reality Check with Amber, Anna and Yewande, The High Low and more. She pivoted to working in podcasting after 7 years working in marketing in book publishing, creating global bestsellers at Penguin Random House and Bonnier Books through transmedia campaigns for authors such as Dan and Phil, Dr Edith Eger, Lily Allen, Andy Weir, Professor Steve Peters, George The Poet, Megan Jayne Crabbe, Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg. During her time in publishing she pioneered the first influencer marketing and audiobook marketing campaigns - resulting in the fastest ever selling audiobook for Penguin Random House for part audiobook/part podcast The Amazing AudioBook Is Not On Fire. She also created and marketed the first non-branded podcasts within the publishing industry and from 2017 - 19 whilst working at in publishing by day by night she become the executive producer and brand manager for no.1 independent books podcast Mostly Lit producing episodes with authors from Booker winner Arundhati Roy to Ysra Daley-Ward. She sits on the Advisory Board for The Times and Cheltenham Literature Festival and is the producer and executive producer of the no.1 podcast Caught Off Guard podcast from author and entrepreneur Patricia Bright.
  • Santos Palazzi
    Grupo Planeta
    Head of mass market & digital division
    Santos Palazzi is the Head of Mass Market and Digital Division at Grupo Planeta, which he joined 21 years ago. In this role, he is responsible for the children and YA publishing division, Sci-Fi, fantasy and graphic novel imprints as well as Planeta’s paperback books division. During the last 10 years, he has been responsible for the digital development for the publishing division. Main targets and achievements for the Digital Division are: building a consistent and extensive eBook and audiobook catalogue, reaching agreements with local and international eRetailers as well as developing initiatives and tools to improve book discoverability and visibility. Santos is also part of the team that founded Libranda, the digital repository and delivery platform for Spanish publishers and is part of the board of management of Nubico, the leading eBook subscription platform in Spain, owned by Grupo Planeta and Telefónica.
  • Siena Parker
    Penguin Random House UK
    Head of creative responsibility
    Siena Parker is Head of Creative Responsibility for Penguin Random House UK, responsible for developing their responsible business and social impact strategy. Siena previously worked in Corporate Responsibility for beer and cider company Heineken.
  • Justine Piekarowicz
    Richmond ELT
    Editorial director, Latin America
    Justine was born in Warsaw, Poland, but has spent over 30 years living in Mexico. She studied Spanish at the University of Maryland and later moved to Mexico where she completed a diploma in Latin American literature at The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Justine has taught English and literature at all levels in both public and private schools, and was a coordinator of English in a private university before moving into publishing world. She is the Director of Publishing for Latin America for Richmond Publishing—a branch of Grupo Santillana—the largest educational publisher in the Spanish-speaking world. She has a passion for languages and speaks not only Polish, but also English, Spanish, German and French.
  • Charlie Redmayne
    HarperCollins UK
    c.e.o
  • Nova Reid
    Activist, speaker and writer
    TED speaker and 2019 Inclusive Companies and National Diversity Awards nominee Nova Reid is an anti-racism activist who uses her professional background in mental wellbeing to encourage meaningful change from the inside out. Her debut book, The Good Ally, will be published by HQ (HarperCollins) in autumn 2021.
  • Cathy Rentzenbrink
    Writer
    Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love, A Manual for Heartache and Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books. Cathy regularly chairs literary events, interviews authors, reviews books, runs creative writing workshops and speaks and writes on life, death, love, and literature. She lives in Cornwall with her family.
  • Amanda Ridout
    Boldwood Books
    Founder and c.e.o
    Amanda is the CEO and Founder of Boldwood Books, which has just been named the Newcomer of The Year at the Independent Publishing Awards. Most recently CEO of Head of Zeus and previously MD of Phaidon, HarperCollins and Headline, she has over 35 years of experience in independent and corporate publishing.
  • Rebecca Seal
    Writer
    Rebecca Seal has been a writer for 17 years, and after six years at the Observer in London, working as an assistant editor, she went freelance. Rebecca is also an award-winning food, drink, lifestyle and personal development writer. She also runs a photography studio, Kemble House. Rebecca has written nine books, many of which have been published in different languages. Her journalism is published worldwide in broadsheet newspapers and magazines, and Rebecca regularly appears on UK television and radio.
  • Anita Sethi
    Author & journalist
    Anita Sethi is an award-winning writer, journalist and critic and has written for publications including The Guardian and Observer. She has been published in several anthologies including Common People, and the Seasons nature writing anthology. She is author of two forthcoming books, I Belong Here (2021) and Nocturne (2021). She has been a Judge of the British Book Awards, the Society of Authors Awards, and Costa Book Awards. Twitter: @anitasethi.
  • David Shelley
    Hachette UK
    Group c.e.o
    David Shelley joined Little, Brown as Editorial Director in 2005, after five years running the publishing at independent publisher Allison and Busby. Initially commissioning mainly crime and thriller novels and overseeing the audio and ebook lists, he became Sphere publisher in 2007, then Little, Brown Deputy Publisher in 2009, and Publisher in 2011. Authors he published include Mitch Albom, Mark Billingham, Carl Hiaasen, Dennis Lehane, Val McDermid and J.K. Rowling. He became CEO of Orion and Little, Brown in 2015, and in January 2018 became Group CEO of Hachette UK. David is a Director of the Publishers Association and leads the Consumer Publishers Council.
  • Jared Shurin
    M&C Saatch World Services
    Head of planning
    Jared Shurin is the Head of Planning at M&C Saatchi World Services, working with governments and NGOs to tackle social and behaviour change problems. In the past, he’s developed award-winning campaigns for iconic brands in entertainment, FMCG, finance, culture, and, of course, publishing. He has - at various times - been a publisher, an editor, an awards judge, and a reviewer. He remains, first and foremost, a reader.
  • Dr Katie Sparks
    Cloudaloud Ltd
    Chief operating officer
    Katie Sparks is the Chief Operating Officer of Cloudaloud Ltd, a new audiobook streaming app designed for children and young adults. She’s worked in fundraising, project and property management, academia, and in trade and academic publishing, and holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from UCL. She loves to curl up with a good audiobook, her daughter, and a hot chocolate.
  • Miles Stevens-Hoare
    RBMedia
    General manager
    Miles Stevens-Hoare joined RBMedia as General Manager – International in February 2017. Miles manages RBMedia’ s UK and Australian subsidiaries, WF Howes and Wavesound. He started his career in Product Management with EMAP Magazines, taking on his his first MD role at Panini. He subsequently spent 6 years with Scholastic running Book Clubs and Fairs and then after a short VC adventure, 7 years running Capstones International business in Oxford. Miles is an avid consumer of audiobooks and is passionate about the format, consuming biographies at a rapid rate.
  • Cathryn Summerhayes
    Curtis Brown
    Literary Agent
  • Marianne Tatepo
    Ebury Press
    Commissioning editor
    Marianne Tatepo is Commissioning Editor for Ebury Press and Pop Press (Penguin Random House UK), where she publishes lifestyle and illustrated nonfiction books. Prior to Ebury, she was at Penguin General/Penguin Life, and before that at 4th Estate & William Collins (HarperCollins). She also undertook a publishing traineeship at writing development agency, Spread the Word, and interned with the Guardian, Granta, The Literary Consultancy, Jacaranda and Oneworld Publications. Before publishing, she worked for companies such as Discovery Channel and D&AD. Marianne has an MA in Publishing from UCL and a BA in Comparative Literature & Film Studies from King’s College London. She is the founder of Black Agents & Editors’ Group (BAE).
  • Jonas Tellander
    Storytel
    Founder and c.e.o
    Jonas is the founder and CEO of Storytel. He holds a MSc in Chemical Engineering from Lund University and an MBA from INSEAD. He has previously worked as Head of global licensing at Roche.
  • Kurt Thielen
    Zebralution
    CEO
    Kurt Thielen is the founder and CEO of Zebralution, one of the biggest Digital Distributors for music and audiobooks in the World. Thielen started his career working in a record shop in 1979 and was the Head of Rough Trade Records and later Zomba Records in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for more than 20 years, working with a wide range of acts from New Order and The Smiths to Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. After the company was sold he founded Zebralution as the first real digital distribution company in Germany with a Worldwide focus. In 2007 the Warner Music Group acquired Zebralution. Since 2010 digital audiobook and especially streaming has become an important factor in Zebralution’s portfolio. In April 2017 Thielen bought Zebralution back from Warners together with experienced industry executives. Zebralution works with all audiobook publishers, big and small in Germany but the focus is becoming increasingly international, expanding to English language territories. In October 2018 IG Hoerbuch, the body of the German audiobook publishers, awarded him as ‘Audiobook Person of the Year 2018’. Thielen was a member of the Board of the German IFPI for 7 years.
  • Mark Thornton
    Bookshop.org
    UK Bookshop partnership manager
    Mark Thornton is the UK Bookshop Partnership Manager for Bookshop.org. Having founded Mostly Books with his wife Nicki in 2006, he worked as a bookseller for 11 years, before serving as an independent bookshop mentor with the Unwin Charitable Trust's Bookseller Mentoring Programme and worked as the UK's head of digital marketing for retail technology company Vestcom.
  • Rik Ubhi
    PR & Marketing specialist
    Rik Ubhi FRSA is an award-winning PR & Marketing specialist with over a decade’s experience of building brands, marketing bestsellers and promoting agenda-setting voices across an array of media. He has worked at Tindal Street Press, Simon & Schuster UK and most recently as co-Owner and Director at Zed Books. He runs his own PR & Marketing consultancy, and frequently is asked to write and comment on developments within the industry.
  • Nicole Vanderbilt
    Bookshop.org
    UK Managing director
    Nicole Vanderbilt, UK Managing Director for Bookshop.org, has over 25 years of experience in the consumer internet industry, most recently as VP, International at Etsy where she helped almost one million small, creative businesses sell over $1.5bn online annually via Etsy's platform.
  • Zool Verjee
    Blackwell's Bookshop
    Head of marketing and publicity
    Zool Verjee is Head of Marketing and Publicity at Blackwell’s Bookshop and has worked in Bookselling for a great many years. Zool was a judge for the Costa Book Awards in 2018 and for the Indie Book Awards in 2020. In his spare time, he is a trustee at Creation Theatre. He also enjoys spending time with his family and exploring wonderful new books with his four year old son. He is currently reading ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ by Arundhati Roy. He is on Twitter as @cadmus08
  • Jon Watt
    Bonnier Books UK
    Audio director
    Jon Watt is Audio Director at Bonnier Books UK where he has evolved the company’s audiobook strategy and overseen the rapid expansion of its audiobook and podcast content. A former journalist, Jon was associate publisher at Quercus before joining Bonnier Books in 2016 to launch its tech start-up, Type & Tell.
  • Richard Wernicke
    Deezer
    Head of content
    Richard Wernicke is Head of Content at Deezer. He is responsible for all editorial content from music to podcasts and audiobooks. He also oversees label relations, and is in charge of developing and executing innovative artist marketing campaigns. Prior to Deezer, Wernicke was the Label Relations Director at Simfy, a German musicstreaming service, where he maintained and expanded the label catalog, as well as handled artist marketing initiatives and exclusives. Before Simfy, Wernicke was the Senior A&R Manager at EMI Music, and also worked as an A&R Manager at Four Music. He got his first start in the music business working as a Label Manager at Groove Attack Productions.
  • Jon White
    Makematic
    Business development director
    Jon White is Business Development Director at Makematic who make better educational media. He has over 20 years’ digital experience in music, publishing and with technology providers. He is fascinated by the constantly evolving digital environment and how short-form video content is entering all aspects of our lives. Prior to his current role, Jon was on the senior management team at Semantico and has also held pioneering digital roles at Macmillan Education and Penguin.
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