Penguin Random House Audio has announced three promotions within its editorial team, as well as the creation of a new senior marketing role. Editorial director Richard Lennon has been made audio publisher, senior commissioning editor Sam Halstead has been appointed editorial director, and James Keyte has been promoted from editor to commissioning editor.
In his new role as editorial director, Lennon [pictured left] will have responsibility for editorial, marketing, production and audio operations. He joined Penguin in 2010 to run PR and marketing for the launch of Portfolio Penguin, and subsequently worked on the launch of lifestyle imprint Penguin Life in 2015. He then moved to a maternity cover role as editorial director at Vermillion in 2016, joining Penguin Random House Audio later that year. He has since led the team’s publishing strategy, with Penguin Random House Audio becoming the first audiobook imprint to be shortlisted for Imprint of the Year at the 2018 British Book Awards.
Halstead [pictured right], newly appointed to editorial director after joining PRH Audio in 2013, will have responsibility for a combined Penguin Random House Audio editorial team. During her time with PRH Audio she has managed a number of audio projects including Tom Hollander’s narration of John le Carré’s A Legacy of Spies, Helen Mirren’s performance of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, and this year’s Audiobook of the Year at the British Book Awards; La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, narrated by Michael Sheen. As well as leading on "key" new releases, she helped to make the complete backlist of authors such as Antony Beevor, Deborah Levy and Niall Ferguson available in audio editions for the first time.
Keyte, who joined PRH Audio from Cornerstone in 2017, becomes commissioning editor. Already he has commissioned recordings including C.J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man, read by Andrew Scott and Asa Butterfield, Anthony Horowitz’s The Word Is Murder, read by Rory Kinnear, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s narration of Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time.
The team has also created a new Head of Audio Marketing role. The role will be tasked with bringing Penguin Random House books and authors to a wide range of listening audiences, from podcasts to music streaming, and converting those audiences into "full-blown audiobook devotees". It is now open for applicants at www.penguinrandomhousecareers.co.uk.
Recent highlights for PRH Audio include: a 3D audio edition of James and the Giant Peach, featuring original sound effects recorded at Pinewood studios with narration by Julian Rhind-Tutt; a dedicated Penguin Podcast skill for Amazon Alexa users; an audio edition of Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’s The Lost Words with 40 minutes of original field recordings underpinning narration from broadcaster Edith Bowman, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey, musician and presenter Cerys Matthews and actor and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, as well as a new audio introduction read by the author; and a new edition of Sylvain Neuvel’s Only Human, featuring 14 actors, which was recently shortlisted for ‘Futurebook of the Year’ at this year’s Futurebook Awards.