Doubleday's Marianne Velmans to retire in 2020

Doubleday's Marianne Velmans to retire in 2020

Doubleday's publishing director Marianne Velmans will retire in April 2020, after 31 years overseeing the imprint.

After Velmans leaves in April 2020, her responsibilities will go to Kirsty Dunseath who joined as publishing director for Doubleday in March. Dunseath reports in to Sarah Adams, who is Transworld’s fiction publisher. Adams will be taking over working with Lee Child, who continues to be published by Bantam Press.

Velmans, who is the acquiring editor and publisher of Lee Child, has been with Penguin Random House companies for all of her professional life, starting out at Penguin at their John St offices in 1973, after graduating from Sussex University. After seven years at Penguin, she spent eight years running the rights operation of Doubleday New York, before joining Transworld in 1988 to establish the Doubleday imprint in the UK. 

Doubleday's UK launch list included authors such as Nobel prize winner Naguib Mafouz as well the Sunday Times Number 1 bestseller, True Blue by Dan Topolski and Patrick Robinson, which went on to become the winner of the inaugural William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. 

Velmans said: “31 years ago, I was lucky enough to find myself at Transworld, a truly happy and supportive company to work for, and have felt enormously privileged to work with such wonderful authors and great colleagues, many of whom I call my friend. It will be a wrench to leave them all after all these years but I am content to know I leave the Doubleday list in good hands.”

Transworld m.d. Larry Finlay said: “Not only is Marianne a wonderful editor and publisher but she is also a lovely, warm, supportive person. It has been a huge pleasure to work with her for so long. She is smart, dedicated, and a fabulous champion both of her authors and her colleagues. So many have benefitted from her wisdom and care over the years. We will all miss her enormously.

“During her tenure at the helm of Doubleday UK, Marianne has worked closely with Kate Atkinson, Bill Bryson, Pamela Druckerman, Nora Ephron, Joanne Harris, Curtis Sittenfeld, and, most recently, Diane Setterfield. But it is as the acquiring editor and publisher of Lee Child, who is published in Bantam Press, with whom she will always be most closely associated. Theirs is a partnership that stretches all the way back to 1996 and across 24 giant Jack Reacher bestsellers, so it is appropriate that I leave the final word, for now to him.”

Child said: “Marianne Velmans is one of the kindest, most gentle, human, civilized and cultured people I have ever met - therefore a ludicrous choice to edit a violent yahoo like Reacher. But it worked brilliantly. Everyone at Transworld has a share in Reacher's success, but Marianne has, of course, the biggest and the most important. Her confidence in me, and her support, and her sharp eye and occasional sharp word made the series what it became. My association with her has been by far the happiest and most satisfying professional relationship of my life, and her friendship has been an absolute privilege, an honour, and an enduring pleasure."

The author added: "I asked Reacher himself for the last word. He said, ‘Shit happens. Get over it.’”