The first whitefox Unsung Heroes of Publishing list celebrates specialists working in-house or freelancing in and around the UK’s book publishing industry. We’ve seen list after list showcasing the CEOs and MDs within the traditional publishing industry. This year, we felt it was time for a change. The idea that the book publishing ecosystem is awash with hierarchical Devil Wears Prada autocrats shouting the odds is, frankly, outmoded. Every influential figure relies on a support cast of specialists who make a massive difference with their practical knowledge, specific skills, and talents, and they deserve to be celebrated.

Over the course of three months, we’ve received nominations from across the industry extolling the virtues of colleagues and collaborators from entry-level to established roles. A deluge of submissions came in: some simply stating names, some efficiently listing merits. Others were in essay form, lavishing praise in eloquent detail.We were pleased to see that for every nominee toiling away at a large publishing house, there was another candidate who struck out on their own within a start-up, or a freelance career providing services directly to authors. The resulting pool of nominations reflects a genuine enthusiasm for hidden talent across the board. If you think this is worthwhile, you might agree that we all need to take responsibility for spreading the word. We recognise that organisations won’t always want to unearth their hidden gems, but anything that encourages conversation about the diversity of people who make publishing work is a positive thing.

This list doesn’t claim to be perfect. It does claim to be different. It is a starting point for a conversation we hope will develop and grow as the years pass – a conversation we’d like everyone to join.


Breakdown of 2016 Nominees

The chart above shows the percentages of total nominations we received for each publishing specialism. Out of all nominations received, 24% were for freelancers, 28% for independent businesses and societies, 48% for traditional publishers or literary agencies. Women slightly outstripped men. The nominations also clearly reinforced everything that has been said recently on the issue of the lack of ethnic diversity within UK publishing. All areas which would benefit from more focus and time in the spotlight, and hopefully, something to keep in mind for 2017.

Congratulations, Unsung Heroes!

Here are this year’s winners, in alphabetical order:

Hattie Adam-Smith

Senior Marketing Manager, Michael Joseph

Heather Boisseau

Publishing Manager, RedDoor Publishing

David Brimble

Freelance Production Specialist

Fleur Clarke

Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Hodder & Stoughton

Philippa Donovan

Freelance Editor, SmartQuill Editorial

David Eldridge

Freelance Book Designer, Two Asssociates

John Espirian

Internet Director, Society for Editors and Proofreaders

Hattie Foster

Digital Producer at Penguin Random House

Kristen Harrison

Founder of The Curved House

Katherine Haw

Senior Production Editor, SAGE Publications

Gavin Hilzbrich

Freelance Marketer, MoonAge Media

Tom Holman

Head of Communications, Independent Publishers Guild

Robert Lacey

Senior Editor, Fourth Estate and William Collins

Lucy Llewellyn

Founder, Head and Heart Publishing

Alice Lutyens

Audio Manager, Curtis Brown

Ray O’Meara

Freelance Designer, Office of Optimism

Max Porter

Senior Editor at Granta and Author

Simon Rhodes

Senior Production Manager, Penguin

Rafi Romaya

Art Director, Canongate

Gareth Shannon

Contracts Director, Harper Collins

Paul Sherreard

Programme Manager, Spread the Word

Anna Simpson

Senior Editor, Bloomsbury Publishing

Cathryn Summerhayes

Literary agent at William Morris Agency

Rebecca Swift

Founder of The Literary Consultancy

Jenny Tyler

Publishing Director, Usborne

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