Chief executive Charlie Redmayne revealed HarperCollins had begun its third century “incredibly strongly,” at the publisher’s summer party on Wednesday night (4th July), attended by guests such as David Cameron and Eddie Redmayne.
He also paid tribute to the high performances of HarperCollins’ “wonderful books” and its newly-opened Irish arm, at the event held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, with around 900 guests in attendance including former prime minister Cameron, Michael Morpurgo, Redmayne's half-brother actor Eddie Redmayne and Children's Laureate Lauren Child.
It was the publisher’s fifth year of holding its summer party at the 19th century museum, offering an oyster bar and serving cocktails and prosecco.
© Toby Madden
Redmayne hailed his company’s “fantastic year”, paying tribute to his team and the authors.
“It was our 200th last year, I have to say we’ve started our third century incredibly strongly,” the HarperCollins c.e.o. said. “We’ve had wonderful books which have done deservedly well, since last year I think I’m right in saying we've had 14 Sunday Times number one bestsellers which have spanned 53 weeks at the top and we’ve had 17 weeks with the industry’s number one book, that’s a third of the year a HarperCollins book has been at the top of the chart.”
Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Harper) became the longest-running fiction book at the top of the UK Official Top 50 since The Girl on The Train (Black Swan) in 2016. Eleanor Oliphant has enjoyed seven non-consecutive weeks in the number one and has sold 587,763 copies for £3.6m, according to Nielsen BookScan.
© Toby Madden
“I wish for one thing and that is that my autocorrect on my laptop didn’t change the word ‘Oliphant’ into ‘Elephant’,” he told the crowds from the V&A’s courtyard. “I cannot tell you how many emails I’ve sent out with the subject line ‘Eleanor Elephant’.”
Redmayne also praised the new publishing business in Ireland headed up by Eoin McHugh, formerly Transworld Ireland publisher. HarperCollins doubled the size of its team in Ireland last November through various new roles and appointments as part of the company’s “commitment to the thriving Irish book market”.
“Our authors have set up a host of awards, we’ve set up a new Irish publishing business with the excellent Eoin McHugh and our year ended with an amazing night at the British Book Awards,” Redmayne said, referencing the string of wins from the awards night run by The Bookseller in May which included HarperCollins taking home Publisher of the Year.
© Toby Madden
“I tried to be cool about it, I tried to do that thing where I didn’t really care… but I was pathetically pleased. The reason why was because that award was for literally everyone at HarperCollins… it shows where we’ve got to, I was really delighted.”
He added: “We have a great team and they’re at the top of their game at the moment.”