Francesca Main is moving to the Orion Publishing Group in the newly created role of publisher after eight years at Picador.
Reporting directly to managing director Katie Espiner, Main will launch a new imprint, specialising in "fiction and memoir with literary merit and commercial potential". According to Orion, books on the list will be characterised by "voice, storytelling and emotional resonance". Main will join Orion after Easter, where she will sit on the publishing board, and the new list will launch in early 2021.
Main, currently associate publisher at Picador, has previously said she does not find commercial and literary categories of books to be mutually exclusive and has been responsible for some of the biggest début launches of recent years, including Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt, which sold more than two million copies globally, and Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist, which sold more than a million copies and was made into a BBC TV series. She has also published books by Amy Poehler, Cathy Rentzenbrink, A J Pearce, Emma Flint, Naomi Wood and Megan Abbott.
Main started her publishing career in 2002, joining Penguin as a rights assistant, before moving into an editorial role at Hamish Hamilton, working with Simon Prosser. She then moved to Simon & Schuster before joining Picador as editorial director in 2011. She has taught editing and creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and the Singapore Writers' Festival. A Bookseller Rising Star in 2012, she was named Editor of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2015.
Main said: "I have had eight very happy years at Picador and had envisaged many more, but the opportunity to work with Katie and the incredible team she has built on setting up a new imprint was irresistible. It's a wrench to leave my authors and colleagues but I'm grateful for the wonderful experiences we've had together and am looking to the future at Orion with huge excitement."
Espiner added: "My aim at Orion is to bring together the very best, most creative, most talented people in the business, and Francesca is so obviously one of them. I, along with so many others, have admired her publishing nous for years. She is a brilliant, incisive publisher who has the Midas touch when it comes to finding and publishing talent. Her instinct about what readers want is second to none, as is her reputation in the industry. I am absolutely delighted that we have persuaded Francesca to join the exceptional team here and I can’t wait for her to start."
Main's departure follows that of Paul Baggaley who left Picador to join Bloomsbury as editor-in-chief for its adult consumer publishing at the end of last year.
Commenting on Main's new role, Pan Macmillan publisher Jeremy Trevathan said: "This is a fantastic new opportunity for Francesca and we wish her all the best in her new endeavour. We are currently recruiting for a new Picador Publisher and will announce further plans for the team once we have filled this role."