Transworld’s rights director Helen Edwards is leaving the publisher later this month after almost 20 years as a result of its rights reorganisation.
The Penguin Random House division shared the news on Monday (2nd December), almost a month after it emerged a consultation was underway in regards to reorganising the rights team. “Transworld regrets to announce that as a result of the reorganisation of the rights teams across the whole of Penguin Random House UK, rights director Helen Edwards will be leaving the business,” the statement from Transworld reads. “Helen joined Transworld from Headline in 2000 and became rights director four years later.”
Transworld’s announcement pays tribute to Edwards’ contribution over almost two decades. “There are many, many highlights over the past 19 years but there are two in particular which stand out. Helen secured a brilliant deal for Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train with Riverhead in the US and helped them propel that book to multimillion-copy-selling status alongside Transworld’s own extraordinary success elsewhere. Her work with the McCann family over the phenomenal publication of their book, Madeleine, secured a six-figure serial deal and unprecedented coverage across both the Times and the Sun. Both instances demonstrated not only a steely resolve and a recognition of what needed to be done but also the subtlety, tact and strategic nous to get the deal over the line.”
Publisher Bill Scott-Kerr said: “I have had the great privilege of working with Helen directly since 2007 and have come not only admire but also rely upon her many and varied skills. Apart from being the consummate rights professional, whether selling US and foreign rights or serialisation rights, she has an acute analytic ability which has proved invaluable to the business over the years. In addition anyone who has had any dealings with her will know that she is the very best of people. As a friend, as a colleague and as a leader."
He added: "I’d like to thank her for everything she has done for us over the past two decades and am sure that she will continue her illustrious career with all the expertise, market knowledge and flair which has characterised it thus far.”
Edwards suggested she is flexible about her next role. She said: “I have enjoyed every aspect of my time at Transworld, and I’m genuinely sad to be leaving behind a team of brilliant colleagues and the wonderful authors I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years. However, I shall take this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons within rights and am looking forward to exploring whatever might come next.”
Last month, The Bookseller revealed that PRH is exploring the centralisation of its rights operation. In October, it was announced that Chantal Noel, previously Penguin rights director, had been appointed group rights director for the whole company.
Historically on the Penguin side of the business rights have operated on a centralised basis for some time; but divisions on what has been the Random House side – Transworld, Ebury, Cornerstone and Vintage – have all had their own individual rights teams.
It was understood that the proposed changes would see PRH exploring merging them into a centralised operation for the whole company, led by Noel and based in the Vauxhall Bridge Road office, in a significant shift for the divisions involved. A small number of roles were understood to be in consultation for redundancy.
The Bookseller understands that the consultation into changes in the Rights team at PRH has now closed and that further information will be provided soon.
Edwards' last day in the office is 23rd December. She can be contacted on Helenedwards845@gmail.com from January.