Orion Fiction has promoted Emad Akhtar to publisher, while Francesca Pathak will step up to publishing director.
Akhtar, currently publishing director, joined Orion in March 2017 and “brilliantly masterminded” the publishing of brand stars Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly while overseeing breakthrough authors including Alex Michaelides and Steve Cavanagh. Rankin’s latest, In a House of Lies, is currently spending its third week as the UK’s number one paperback.
Orion said his strategy to revitalise the Orion crime list has reaped dividends with the acquisition of major talent including Adrian McKinty and Paul Finch. It was announced this week McKinty’s The Chain, with rights sold in 35 countries, is the subject of a seven-figure Paramount film deal. Akhtar also pre-empted Imaginary Friend for six figures, the first novel for 20 years by Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He has also recently taken on the strategic publishing of Ben Aaronovitch, whose October Man hit the hardback bestseller lists at number 3 this week.
Pathak, who moves up from her editorial director role, joined the team in 2016 from Cornerstone. She was praised for transforming the publishing of Steve Cavanagh among others, while also pre-empting and publishing The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft.
She also signed-up new crime talent including Emma Kavanagh, A L Gaylin and Mari Hannah. Last year, she was selected to take part in the Hachette global exchange programme and spent six weeks in New York, forging partnerships with US agents and publishers.
Orion m.d. Katie Espiner said: “In Emad and Francesca we have two of the brightest stars in London publishing. They work exceptionally well together, as they are both strategic, creative, passionate publishers, wholly engaged with every single stage of their publishing and loved by both their authors and the wider publishing community. The results they are delivering for their authors more than speak for themselves and I am excited to see their stars continue to rise at Orion.”
Harriet Bourton, publisher of Orion Fiction, who joined in summer 2016, continues to have overall responsibility for the imprint and to oversee the whole department. She will resume her role when she returns from maternity leave.