Watts leaves Bodley Head for Nesta

Watts leaves Bodley Head for Nesta

Anna Sophia Watts has left her editor role at Bodley Head to join thinktank Nesta, with Lauren Howard joining as editorial assistant.

Watts left the Vintage imprint earlier this month after more than six years with Penguin Random House to become editorial manager at Nesta, an international innovation foundation, based in central London.

She edited The Gendered Brain by neuroscientist Gina Rippon, which argues "biology is not destiny", which was published earlier this month, after pre-empting in 2016.

Watts is also an illustrator and provided illustrations for David Vann’s novel Aquarium, published by William Heinemann, while she was assistant editor for the imprint.

She joined William Heinemann in 2012, originally as an editorial assistant, before being promoted in 2014 and then transferring to Bodley Head in the same role as assistant editor. She became editor in December 2017.

Watts has not been directly replaced but Howard has joined as an editorial assistant after completing PRH’s diversity and emerging talent initiative, The Scheme, which included a seven-month stint at Penguin Press from last September.

Stuart Williams, publishing director of Bodley Head, said of Howard’s appointment: "Lauren’s enthusiasm for Bodley Head’s publishing and her general curiosity and appetite for the most compelling ideas and the best new writers shone out in the conversations we had with her.

"Lauren has been on The Scheme since September last year, working at Penguin Press across the Allen Lane, Pelican and Classics lists. She finished her Masters of Research in Liverpool last year after having graduated in English Literature and Creative Writing."

Williams said of Watts' departure: "This is clearly a great opportunity at an inspiring place to work, but is sad news for The Bodley Head and for Vintage," he said. "It’s been three years since Anna joined us from Heinemann, and her fingerprints are all over most of what we’ve acquired and published at Bodley Head in that time. Her superb editorial instincts, her creative input, her terrific visual sense, and her extreme diligence have been crucial to the success of our books. Our authors will miss her, as we will.

"She has also made some superb acquisitions of her own – including Gina Rippon’s The Gendered Brain and Aoife Abbey’s Seven Signs of Life. She leaves as both those books are enjoying an outstanding start in their hardback lives."

Earlier this month five Bodley Head authors discussed the inspirations behind their upcoming books at the Balthazar restaurant in London, as Williams praised the “rich time” for non-fiction books.