Orion goes on tour to promote regional diversity in publishing

Orion goes on tour to promote regional diversity in publishing

Orion is going on a tour of schools across the country to talk to students about working in publishing.

The two first events in the "Orion on Tour series" will see staff visit a local secondary school in Manchester and Birmingham, on 26th June and 4th July respectively, as part of the group's aim "to bring the best publishing to the widest variety of people".

In each location, a drinks reception will follow in the evening for authors, booksellers, bloggers, media, librarians and other "professionals from the literary landscape". Over nibbles and drinks, guests will meet local Orion authors and learn about forthcoming books from Orion, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Trapeze, Orion Spring, Seven Dials and Gollancz. They will also be given proofs and books to take home.

As part of the Manchester visit, Trapeze commissioning editor Katie Brown (pictured) and literary agent Juliet Mushens will be visiting Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School in rural Lancashire, to host a creative writing workshop for students as well as offer an insight into the publishing industry. Later that evening, a central Manchester venue will be hosting drinks for industry professionals from the north west area.

The Birmingham event will meanwhile see Trapeze editorial director Sam Eades and Trapeze author Anna Stuart speak to Sixth Form students at Barr Beacon School in Walsall, Birmingham. Drinks will follow that evening for industry professionals at a central Birmingham venue.

Trapeze commissioning editor Brown said the visits were "just the start" of its regional outreach work. 

"Representation and inclusivity is so important to me, not only when it comes to acquiring, but also with regards to diversifying the employee network at Orion and, indeed, Hachette as a whole," she said. "The school talks are an opportunity to go in and speak to kids who don’t otherwise hear from people in our industry, due to geographical location, and the events are an opportunity for people within the industry to enjoy some of the fun aspects that they can often miss out on, due to them usually being in London. This is just the start for us when it comes to regional outreach, and I can’t wait to visit many more places around the UK."

Those interested in joining either evening event should contact virginia.woolstencroft@orionbooks.co.uk.

Orion on Tour follows the announcement of W&N’s Hometown Tales series, an initiative which also celebrates regional diversity by publishing voices from underrepresented regions across the UK. The series of books has paired new voices with established writers to produce "powerful, fascinating and moving" collaborations exploring the meaning of home. The first eight books in the series will be published in hardback on 28th June 2018, including tales from Lancashire, the Midlands, Birmingham, Wales, Glasgow, Highlands & Hebrides, Yorkshire and the South Coast.

Both projects feed into Changing the Story, Hachette UK's Diversity & Inclusion Group. The group, founded in 2016 by c.e.o. David Shelley and is now led by Sharmaine Lovegrove and Nick Davies. To accelerate its progress, it was revealed last week that Saskia Bewley has been appointed as Hachette's first diversity and inclusion manager, starting on 2nd July.