Hachette UK chief executive David Shelley, spoken-word poet Sophia Thakur, executive digital producer Muki Kulhan, and trends forecaster Tracey Follows, are to headline this year’s FutureBook Live Conference (30th November), with author Seth Godin also appearing via an exclusive video. The speakers add to the already announced keynotes for the AudioBook and EdTech streams, which include W F Howes general manager Miles Stevens-Hoare, Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of The University of Buckingham, UCL Institute of Education professor Rose Luckin, and radio futurologist James Cridland.
The keynotes reflect the conference’s stated mission to “put a sparkling rocket of creativity and courage up the book trade”. Molly Flatt, associate editor of FutureBook, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured such an incredible line-up once again this year. We want the conference to provider perspectives from outside the industry that will provoke and inspire, as well as insider views and strategies from across publishing. This year’s event is all about trying to recapture the excitement and ambition from the first digital revolution, but applied with knowledge to the new opportunities and challenges we face. Our amazing speakers will certainly encourage our delegates to think big, question their assumptions and take better risks."
Publishing industry riser Shelley will reflect on how the book trade has changed since he first entered the industry in 1997, and what that change indicates about the robustness of the sector. Shelley began his publishing journey as an editorial assistant at independent publisher Allison & Busby, before joining Little, Brown in 2005. He took over as chief executive of Hachette’s UK business, comprising Headline, Orion, Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray, Hodder Education, and Little, Brown, at the beginning of the year. Shelley will outline the initiatives already underway at the UK group as part of its “Changing the Story” diversity programme, as well as what further change is necessary to secure the future of the trade.
The day will begin with a keynote from tech insider Muki Kulhan, an executive digital producer and immersive R&D producer with over two decades of professional, award-winning experience creating digital and interactive content across multiple platforms for clients including the BBC, Universal Music, Warner Bros, Conde Nast and Marvel. An expert in engaging fans within music, broadcasting, entertainment and tech innovation, Kulhan will explore the new technology-led projects, platforms and tools that have the potential impact on the book trade in the next few years.
Trend forecaster Tracey Follows will look to the horizon in terms of wider business and culture, discussing the implications of such developments as decentralised systems, AI and machine communication, consumer prediction and ethical business for the publishing industry. Follows is the founder of Futuremade, a futures consultancy that has led projects for the likes of Facebook, Google, Virgin and Diageo. In 2016 she was the recipient of the Women in Marketing Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Marketing. In 2017 Ad Age named her a Woman to Watch (Europe), she is in the BIMA 100 as an Agent of Change, and Business Cloud recently named her one of their ‘101 Female Founders in Tech’.
Author and thought-leader Seth Godin has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, and fans from all walks of life, via his blog, online courses, lectures, and bestselling books. He is the inventor of countless ideas and phrases that have made their way into mainstream business language, from Permission Marketing to Purple Cow to Tribes to The Dip. In an exclusive video created specially for the FutureBook audience, Seth will explain how the ideas from his brand new book, This Is Marketing, can help reinvigorate bookshops.
Finally, the day will close with a creative keynote from Sophia Thakur, the young writer, spoken-word poet and performer who has featured in global campaigns for International Women’s Day and Black History Month. Introduced by founder of OWN IT! Crystal Mahey-Morgan, Thakur will talk about her mission to reach as many people as possible via as many mediums as possible. She won her first poetry award at 18, and has recently sold her debut poetry collection to Walker Books. She has performed at Glastonbury, international conferences, and given multiple TED talks. She is a youth ambassador for the betterment of young black girls, and has worked with charities including Cancer Research UK, and with brands such as MTV, Samsung and Nike.
To catch the speakers on Friday 30th November in Bishopsgate, London, book your early-bird tickets here thebookseller.com/futurebook-conference.