HarperCollins UK is doubling the size of its team in Ireland through a number of new roles and appointments as part of the company’s “commitment to the thriving Irish book market”.
Former Transworld Ireland publisher Eoin McHugh has been appointed to the newly-created role of publishing director and will lead a new operation acquiring Irish authors for the Irish and UK markets across literary and commercial fiction, as well as non-fiction and narrative non-fiction. He will join on 4th December.
McHugh will work alongside sales director, Tony Purdue and publicity director, Mary Byrne in the HarperCollins office in Dublin. Ciara Swift has been appointed sales and marketing executive after joining as an intern in September, and two new assistant roles, one in editorial and one in PR, are still to be appointed.
McHugh began his career at Fred Hanna’s bookshop in Dublin, before becoming head of book purchasing at Eason. At Transworld Ireland, McHugh oversaw various successful titles including those in sport, humour, politics, current affairs and memoir, as well as literary fiction.
Eoin McHugh, who left Transworld Ireland in June after 10 years with the imprint, said: “HarperCollins has long been a major publishing force in Ireland and I am thrilled at the opportunity to join such a great team with the ambition to further develop and expand their Irish publishing programme.”
HarperCollins UK c.e.o, Charlie Redmayne, said: “Bringing in Eoin to lead and extend our publishing in Ireland is a real step change for HarperCollins. This together with the expansion of our PR, sales and marketing representation underlines our commitment to the thriving Irish book market, and is consistent with our strategy to build local publishing in territories around the world."
He added: "Ireland is a hugely important book market for HarperCollins and this move will build on the great work done by our existing team over many years.”
In 2016, book sales in Ireland were up 11% year on year to €130.8m with volume up by 9% to 10.9 million books sold. Irish-published titles comprised 24.3% (€31.8m) of the market, up from 23.2% in 2015. This year up until 4th November, the Irish market has showed a small rise in volume year on year, by 0.4% at 8 million books sold, but a 1.3% decline in value at €92.8m, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Independent publishers told The Bookseller in July that the trade’s mood was “very optimistic” for the Irish market but some revealed concern over future shocks to the economy, such as Brexit, could have on the sector.