Orion has promoted Anna Valentine to executive publisher of Trapeze, Seven Dials and Orion Spring, while Sarah Benton (below right) also steps up as the group’s deputy managing director.
Valentine, who set up Trapeze in 2016 and is currently its publisher, will be responsible for leading all Orion’s commercial non-fiction publishing across the three imprints. Her new job follows the departure of Seven Dials and Orion Spring publisher Amanda Harris, who is heading to YMU in September.
Valentine originally joined Orion in 2006 as a graduate trainee, before moving to HarperCollins where she rapidly rose up the ranks to become non-fiction publishing director. Selected as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2011, she later returned to Orion in 2014.
Trapeze was shortlisted for Imprint of the Year at the British Book Awards in May, while Valentine was also nominated for Editor of the Year. Her bestsellers have included titles from supervet Noel Fitzpatrick, Sarah Millican, Alan Partridge and the Ordnance Survey.
Valentine said it was an exciting time for non-fiction at Orion with a packed autumn list of upcoming books from Fearne Cotton, The Hairy Bikers, a 50th anniversary Glastonbury book and a "This Country" title.
She said: “It is a huge honour and privilege to lead Orion’s commercial non-fiction publishing divisions, in what is a thrilling time in the market. Orion has always been a non-fiction powerhouse, renowned for creating big bestselling brands across a broad range of subject areas, and I’m excited to build upon the brilliant lists that Amanda Harris and her team have curated at Seven Dials and Orion Spring.
“Together with Trapeze, the scope of our non-fiction offering puts Orion in a unique place in the industry in that we truly have something for everyone, and I want to strengthen this reputation to ensure that authors, agents and readers continue to see us as their natural publishing home.”
Orion is also recruiting two senior editors to join the non-fiction commissioning teams, while Pippa Wright starts as publishing director of Orion Spring on 10th July.
M.d. Katie Espiner said: “Anna is a world-class publisher, enormously liked and respected across the industry, and is a much-loved colleague to all at Orion. She is hugely generous as a manager and a mentor. Anna is always looking ahead to ensure our publishing is delivering not just for now, but for the future. Her outstanding reputation speaks for itself and her commitment to her authors and her books is absolutely second to none. She is shaking up the industry in exactly the right way and I am proud to work alongside her.”
Meanwhile, Orion’s current executive publisher Benton also gets a promotion, taking on the newly-created role of deputy m.d. with immediate effect. The marketing, publicity and art teams will all continue to report to Benton, while she still reports directly to Espiner.
Benton joined Orion in September 2016 as marketing director after previous roles with Hot Key, Pan Mac and HarperCollins. Last September, she was promoted to executive publisher and Orion said she played a pivotal role in growing brand authors like Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly, alongside debut writers including Libby Page, Candice Carty Williams and Alex Michaelides.
Benton said: “I’m so proud of everything we have achieved for our authors and for Orion over the last three years – including delivering our most successful year for 20 years in 2018. I am so delighted to be continuing to work closely with Katie and the team in this new role to take Orion to even greater heights in the future.”
Espiner added: “The impact that Sarah has had on the business cannot be overstated. She is a brilliant, incisive and creative publisher, and is enormously popular with authors and colleagues alike. I am delighted to be promoting her into the role of deputy m.d. - nobody deserves it more.”
The moves follow recent promotions at Orion’s fiction team for Emad Akhtar and Francesca Pathak as publisher and publishing director respectively.