Book Island, winner of the Best Publisher in Oceania Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair last month, is moving its headquarters from New Zealand to Bristol as it looks to grow its UK presence.
The independent publishes picture books in translation in English and Dutch, and its owner Greet Pauwelijn, a Dutch- speaking Belgian, said she needed to move in order to expand the business. “Book Island is now well established in New Zealand and Australia and to enable the company to grow, we need to expand our business in the UK,” she said. “This will only work by being there physically. The UK has plenty of children’s book festivals and conferences that we can participate in. I often get invited to present talks and lectures about picture books in translation and won’t have to decline these invitations anymore once based in the UK.” The company will also have better access to Belgium and the Netherlands for its Dutch-language titles, she added.
Pauwelijn is moving to the UK with her husband and children, and said they chose Bristol because they liked the vibe of the city. “Having lived in a small coastal village in New Zealand, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to move to a city of that size. From the city it won’t be too far to the sea and the beautiful English and Welsh countryside.”
She is looking to open an office in the city and will begin hiring in June, particularly in the sales and marketing fields. The New Zealand office will remain open and be run by the sales team there.
Since launching three years ago, Pauwelijn has published titles such as The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc and The Umbrella by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert; in the UK they were sold by Signature Books and distributed by Central Books. Once based in the UK, Book Island will aim to publish six to eight titles in English and two to four titles in Dutch every year.
Book Island publishes translated titles and will not be looking to publish British authors at this stage.