Tessa Strickland, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Barefoot Books, is retiring at the end of the year.
In a letter posted on the Barefoot Books website, Strickland said: “Many of you already know that I live in close proximity - closer than a heartbeat, in fact - to Stella Blackstone. She is my writing alias and she loves her work. Now that my children have flown, the time has come for me to give my writing self more space. Some of you also know that I run a small psychotherapy practice. So, at the end of this year I'll be retiring from my day-to-day executive duties at Barefoot Books to give myself more time to attend to these other areas of my life.”
Strickland co-founded Barefoot Books with Nancy Traversy in 1992, setting up headquarters in Summertown, Oxford. The business now has operations in the UK and the US.
Traversy said over the years the pair had been committed to “creating beautiful books that celebrate diversity, and nurture children's creativity, imagination and compassion.”
She added: “I will miss Tessa's wonderful way with words, her wise counsel, her adventurous soul, and her serene, reassuring spirit. But I know that she will always be part of our Barefoot family. And we are more committed than ever to the mission we had when our children were very small, and to creating beautiful "pearls" to inspire our children.”
Strickland is leaving the editorial team in the hands of Stefanie Paige Wieder, senior director of product development, and editors Kate DePalma and Lisa Rosinsky.
The publisher used to run a bookshop in Oxford alongside its publishing business. However, Traversy and Strickland closed the bookshop last year, whilst also cutting the “ambassador programme”, through which freelance booksellers sold Barefoot titles to the public.