Kishani Widyaratna, currently commissioning editor at Picador, is joining HarperCollins as editorial director for Fourth Estate.
Widyaratna will take up her role on 1st December, reporting to Fourth Estate’s publishing director Nicholas Pearson.
Widyaratna, who joined Picador in 2016, started her publishing career in a paid editorial traineeship at Verso Books and then began working for The White Review as online editor, going on to gain experience at Faber, Cornerstone and Quercus.
At Picador she worked with Paul Baggaley, Francesca Main and Don Paterson, and with authors including Alan Hollinghurst, Carol Ann Duffy, Emma Donoghue, Adam Kay, Olivia Laing and Jackie Kay. She has published books including White Review Short Story Prize-winner Julia Armfield’s Salt Slow, Whiting Award-winner Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl and Sinéad Gleeson’s Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year Constellations. She brought Women’s Prize longlisted author Sarah Moss to the Picador list after a nine-way auction, publishing her novel Summerwater this year. Her authors at Picador also include a number of New York Times bestsellers, Raven Leilani, Jericho Brown, Safiya Sinclair, Kayo Chingonyi, Mieko Kawakami, Sarah Manguso and Jackie Polzin.
Widyaratna was named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2019 and remains a contributing editor for The White Review.
Her appointment follows the announced departure of Helen Garnons-Williams for Fig Tree. While not a direct replacement, Widyaratna will be taking over the commissioning part of Garnons-Williams' role at 4th Estate.
Pearson said: "Kish's reputation precedes her — she has been doing a wonderful job as a commissioning editor. The moment we sat down and talked books with her we knew that she was someone we would love to work with. I'm absolutely thrilled she is joining the Fourth Estate team as editorial director and I'm looking forward to the books she will publish with us."
Widyaratna said: "I have loved my time at Picador and am proud to have been part of it during such an exciting period in its history. While I am very sad to be leaving behind such exceptional authors and friends from whom I have learnt so much, the opportunity to join the esteemed Fourth Estate Books at such a pivotal time in the publishing industry is a truly thrilling one. I look forward to starting work with the incredible team at an imprint I have so long admired and am honoured to help shape its future."