Harris steps back from running Stripes

Harris steps back from running Stripes

Stripes’ publisher Jane Harris is to step down from running the list after 12 years with the Little Tiger Group fiction imprint, triggering a restructure.

Harris is scaling back on work commitments as she moves to Bath with her family and will become associate publisher working remotely on a part-time basis. She will retain editorial responsibilities for many of her existing authors and supporting Stripes in an advisory capacity.

Her departure marks a reshuffle at the imprint. Thomas Truong, who is currently publisher of Little Tiger imprints Caterpillar and 360 Degrees, will replace Harris as Stripes’ publisher. He was art director at the imprint before moving to Caterpillar four years ago and launching the non-fiction imprint 360 Degrees in last year. Commissioning editor of Stripes, Ruth Bennett, is promoted to the newly-created role of editorial director and will oversee the day-to-day running of the creative team. She was named a Rising Star by The Bookseller last year. Paul Coomey who was brought in last year to cover art director Ali Ardington’s maternity leave has been appointed permanently to the role following Ardington’s decision to embark on a freelance career.

Harris has been with indie publisher Little Tiger since 2005 when c.e.o Monty Bhatia bought her in to create a new fiction imprint. Bhatia wanted to build upon Little Tiger’s picture books success by “aging up” illustrator David Roberts’ popular character Dirty Bertie, a move which has seen the books published in 20 languages across almost 30 titles. The launch list also included the first book in the Holly Webb Animal Stories series, which has achieved series sales of over a million copies in the UK according to the publisher with the 38th book publishing this year and every fiction title still in print. 

Harris said: “I was given the most amazing opportunity by the Bhatia family to start a list from scratch and have had an incredibly varied and rewarding 12 years as publisher of Stripes. I’m so grateful to all of the talented authors and illustrators I’ve had the privilege to publish and have been inspired every day by the creativity of my brilliant colleagues. I’m delighted that Thomas Truong has agreed to return to the Stripes fold and I know that the list will continue to go from strength to strength under his captaincy. I'm looking forward to being part of the team in my new role and to helping the list to flourish in the years to come as we continue to create a diverse range.”

Bhatia added: “I am enormously grateful to Jane for the commitment and dedication she has shown in nurturing the Stripes list over the past twelve years. Jane and Thomas were a fantastic creative team in the early days of Stripes, so Thomas was the natural choice to be Jane’s successor in the role of publisher. However, I am delighted that we will be able to retain Jane’s wealth of knowledge and keen editorial eye in her new role. As well as being a fantastic editor, Ruth has proven herself to have a really outward facing view on the industry and vision for the Stripes list. It gives me great pleasure that we are able to give Ruth the opportunity to take this next step in her career as editorial director of Stripes.”

In August Stripes will publish BAME YA anthology, A Change Is Gonna Come, as a response to the lack of diversity in the industry with stories from Patrice Lawrence, Nikesh Shukla and Lemn Sissay, as well as several unpublished writers.