Orion Publishing Group has appointed Emad Akhtar, senior commissioning editor at Michael Joseph, as publishing director for Orion Fiction.
Akhtar, who will report to Orion Fiction publisher Harriet Bourton when he joins in March 2017, has a brief primarily to acquire books and to define and implement the strategy for the crime and thriller list.
Akhtar started his publishing career at HarperCollins, where he worked on the commercial crime and thriller list with Julia Wisdom and Sarah Hodgson, working on authors such as Stuart MacBride, Simon Toyne, Lauren Beukes and SJ Parris. He then went to Michael Joseph, where he has been for the last three years, latterly as senior commissioning editor, working with authors including Tim Weaver, James Oswald, Helen Callaghan and MJ Arlidge.
Bourton said: “Emad plays a crucial role in the development of the new Orion Fiction team. His reputation for being one of the most insightful, collaborative and creative publishers in the business always precedes him, and I am so excited about what he will achieve here as he leads our crime and thriller publishing.”
Orion managing director Katie Espiner said: “I am beyond thrilled that we have persuaded Emad to join us. He really has one of the best creative minds of anyone I’ve worked with. He also has a fantastic reputation in the industry for being incredibly smart, hugely dedicated to his authors, and great fun to work with. I know he will be invaluable to our fiction publishing at Orion and I can’t wait for him to start.”
Akhtar added: “I’ve had an incredible few years at Penguin, and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities they’ve given me. It’s been immensely fun and rewarding and I leave here with great memories and many friends for life. The prospect of spreading my wings creatively and strategically in this new role is beyond exciting, as is getting to work with the brilliant team at Orion. I think something special has started there, and feel so lucky to be involved.”