Helen Garnons-Williams is leaving HarperCollins to join Penguin General as publishing director for Fig Tree.
Garnons-Williams, currently associate publisher at 4th Estate and William Collins, will begin her new role early next year. Her appointment comes as current Fig Tree Fig publisher Juliet Annan departs full-time publishing this October to do an MA in English literature at University College London.
Starting her career as an editorial assistant for Hodder & Stoughton in 1999, Garnons-Williams went on to become publishing director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson and then Bloomsbury. She joined 4th Estate in 2015, becoming associate publisher of 4th Estate and William Collins in 2019.
Over the course of her 20-year publishing career, she has discovered and released a range of acclaimed and bestselling writers across fiction and non-fiction. Her publishing has included Jon McGregor’s Costa-winning Reservoir 13, Stephen Kelman’s Booker-shortlisted Pigeon English, Michael Donkor’s Desmond Elliot-shortlisted Hold and, most recently Booker-longlisted Gabriel Krauze’s Who They Was.
Other high-profile titles have included Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling, Inua Ellams’s The Half-God of Rainfall and Afia Atakora’s Conjure Women. Her wide-ranging non-fiction roster includes Rebecca Stott, Elizabeth Day, columnist Melanie Reid and Slay in Your Lane writers Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené.
Penguin General m.d. Joanna Prior said: “I spent the months of lockdown searching for a visionary publisher to lead and reimagine Fig Tree, the distinctive imprint started by Juliet Annan 15 years ago. One of the best parts of that strange time was talking to many smart and talented candidates for this role. Helen has everything I was looking for in terms of her range, experience and love of unique and fresh voices across all genres and she also has an unswerving dedication to her authors and working with her colleagues to find them the biggest possible readership. I can’t wait for her to join the team at Penguin General and see her lead Fig Tree forward into the future.”
Garnons-Williams added: “I have loved my time at 4th Estate and HarperCollins and learned so much from my hugely talented colleagues and wonderful authors, whose work I will always be passionate about. I have long admired Juliet’s brilliant publishing at Fig Tree and having the opportunity to be part of shaping the imprint’s future–and to work with Joanna and the incredible team at Penguin General–is an honour and a thrill.”