Lyall Grant joins Joffe Books as Severn House appoints new publisher

Lyall Grant joins Joffe Books as Severn House appoints new publisher

Severn House publisher Kate Lyall Grant is joining Joffe Books as publishing director, to be succeeded at Severn House by Joanne Grant.

Lyall Grant will move in November, reporting to c.e.o. Jasper Joffe, while Joanne Grant joins the Canongate-owned Severn House with immediate effect. 

Lyall Grant (pictured, top) started her editorial career at Hodder & Stoughton before moving to Severn House in 2010, via Simon & Schuster, where as publisher she was responsible for "shaping and running a robust publishing programme" of commercial fiction aimed at the UK and US fiction library markets. She has worked with bestselling authors including Stella Cameron, Simon Brett, Candace Robb, David Hewson, Caro Ramsay and Paul Doherty.

Her new remit will see her propelling Joffe Books’ ambitious plans for growth, in particular within the US market, where she will actively seek to expand the list. The independent publisher is home to long-term bestselling authors including Joy Ellis, Faith Martin and Helen H Durrant. More recently, acquisitions have included new novels by Biba Pearce, Judi Daykin, Meeti Shroff-Shah, Jon Barton, Michael Hambling, Susanna Beard and Paula Lennon.

Lyall Grant said of her new role: “Although I am very sad to be leaving my brilliant Severn House colleagues and authors, the company was extremely lucky to have been acquired by Canongate in 2017; Jamie Byng, Kate Gibb and the rest of the Canongate team couldn’t have been more supportive, and with new publisher Joanne Grant at the helm I know I am leaving Severn House in expert hands. But, having worked closely with Jasper Joffe and his team on some of our backlist series in the past year, I have been blown away by the passion, vigour and expertise with which Joffe Books have reinvented authors for the digital market, transforming their fortunes and selling their books in breathtaking quantities. The opportunity to join such an innovative, far-sighted young company at a key moment in its development was one I simply couldn’t turn down. I am so excited to be joining the team."

Joffe added: “I am thrilled to welcome Kate to the Joffe Books team. I have long admired her work. I love her energy and her publishing vision; she will be a huge asset to the team here, helping to lead our already stellar publishing programme to new heights, especially in the US.”

Joanne Grant (pictured right) spent 16 years working at Harlequin, most recently as editorial director of Harlequin’s Global Series business, managing a team of 38 editors and overseeing the publication of almost 800 romance titles a year. 

She left Harlequin in summer 2019 and, for the past 18 months, has been running her own business, coaching writers of all genres. She will be leading the Severn House team and reporting to Canongate c.e.o. and publisher Jamie Byng.

“I’m delighted to be joining Severn House as publisher and I’ve been so warmly welcomed by everyone at Canongate," she said. "It’s genuinely exciting to be joining such a vibrant team of publishing professionals. Severn House has a unique publishing model which has resulted in five decades of success. This continued success is the direct result of the dedicated Severn House team and a talented list of authors, who have been led expertly by Kate Lyall Grant. I know I am following in Kate’s impressive footsteps, but I will bring my passion, energy and experience to this role, to ensure Severn House continues to grow and publish entertaining genre fiction for many more years to come.” 

Byng commented: "Canongate’s acquisition of Severn House in September 2017 has been an unqualified success and this is as much down to the brilliant team who came with it as much as its rich list of excellent authors. Kate Lyall Grant has led this team superbly and so it is with sadness that we see her leaving us to join Joffe Books at the end of this month. However, we could not be more excited about Joanne Grant’s arrival as publisher at Severn House. Her range of skills and experience is formidable and is matched by her infectious dynamism and inspiring energy. I am certain that Jo will help Severn House to continue to thrive as well as shape the imprint in new ways and make it an even more desirable place to be published.”