Four roles, including that of head of children’s publishing Liz Cross, have gone in a restructure of Oxford University Press’ children’s trade publishing team.
Cross will depart on 27th September. Senior commissioning editor Helen Mortimer, managing editor Kathy Webb and commissioning editor Rachel Howells have already left OUP.
OUP is restructuring its children’s publishing into two strands: Reading at Home, focusing on learning to read and reading for pleasure, producing picture books and fiction series; and Learning at Home, for books which support vocabulary acquisition and development through dictionaries, thesauruses and language titles.
Senior publisher Lou John will become head of Reading at Home, and senior publisher Michelle Williams will become Head of Learning at Home. John has over 25 years’ experience in trade and educational publishing, and joined OUP five years ago to launch Read with Oxford, a range of levelled readers for children aged 3-8, including titles by Julia Donaldson, Roderick Hunt and Korky Paul. Williams has over 17 years’ experience in developing high quality, market-aligned print and digital products for children aged 3 to 18; at OUP she has managed the expansion and rebrand of market-leading test preparation brand Bond, and created the all-new Progress with Oxford activity book series for children aged 3-10.
Helen Freeman, director of OUP Children’s Books, said: “We are very sorry to lose Liz, Helen, Kathy and Rachel as part of this change, and we are hugely grateful for the skill, knowledge and creativity they have brought to the OUP Children’s lists. Liz Cross has been a wonderful champion of young people’s reading at OUP, publishing a raft of iconic and prizewinning authors and illustrators, and introducing new generations of readers to classic and contemporary stories and characters with real expertise, dedication and immense passion.”
She added: “The changes we’ve made will enable us to support children and young people with every aspect of their reading and learning with a much more holistic offering, and there’s a lot to look forward to. This November we are extremely excited to be continuing with our Roald Dahl publishing, with the release of the splendiferous Roald Dahl Thesaurus. In May 2020 we’ll be celebrating Pippi Longstocking’s 75th birthday, and in June we will join the BBC to mark a decade of Radio 2’s 500 Words competition, seeing once again how children take inspiration from events around them to inspire brilliantly imaginative story writing.”