Aimée Felone is taking on the newly created role of m.d. at Knights Of, with immediate effect, while co-founder David Stevens is becoming associate director, supporting Felone in her role one day a week. The company has also hired Danielle Shaw as sales manager.
In a joint statement, Felone and Stevens said: “We both believe now is the time for a children's publisher to not just champion inclusion but lead by example. As conversations of what true, long-lasting, change looks like within the publishing industry have peaked, we hope to demonstrate through strategic changes how we envision progress.”
Stevens told The Bookseller: “Publishing talks about using our collective privilege, about giving up power and making space for change, but it still looks and feels like little is moving. Aimée becoming m.d. of a profitable, commercial, inclusive children’s publisher is a statement – we’re not done, in fact Knights Of is just getting started.”
Shaw, who was previously digital and online sales executive at Hachette, will lead the company’s sales strategy through partnerships with Bounce Sales & Marketing, International Literature Agency and New Leaf Media.
She said: "I am so excited to be working with KO. I am grateful to be given this opportunity to work with such excellent, necessary and beautiful books.”
Felone and Stevens launched Knights Of in 2017 focus on commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Since then the company has published writers such as Sharna Jackson, Jason Reynolds and Elle McNicoll. Upcoming titles include Happy Here, an anthology of Black British writers and illustrators that will be released in August with BookTrust and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, and October’s Empress & Aniya, Candice Carty-Williams’ debut YA novella.
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