Edinburgh and London
I joined Canongate in 2000. As Publishing Director I oversee the editorial team and help to plan and publish our list of books. I’m fascinated by the way that so many of the books that are remembered are those that defy genre categorisation, by writers who stray off the beaten track. As editor I have worked with writers including Yann Martel, Matt Haig, Lemn Sissay, Scarlett Thomas, Kevin Barry, JJ Abrams, Alasdair Gray, Jess Kidd, James Meek, Nick Cave, Robert Webb, Ambrose Parry, Geoff Dyer, Terry Gilliam, David Byrne, Mary Costello, David Lynch, Joni Mitchell and, posthumously, Leonard Cohen. In 2018 I joined the Canongate Board.
I work with our authors and editors to project-manage all our titles from final edit through to print. I am also managing editor for our Canons list. I like to read fiction and narrative non-fiction, with particular interest in literary, speculative, fantasy and YA fiction, and Scottish and/or feminist writing.
I’m especially interested in literary and upmarket commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, memoir and nature writing. I’m looking for books that I can’t help but read in one sitting and then immediately have to talk about with friends and random strangers. I’m always on the hunt for bold new voices, beautiful sentences and characters who are impossible to forget. My authors include Ayobami Adebayo, Margaret Drabble, Maaza Mengiste, Alice Vincent, Imbolo Mbue, Molly Aitken, Charlotte Runcie, Malachy Tallack, Tim Clare and Mick Kitson.
I assist both Editorial Directors and the Editor-at-Large. I love reading voice-led literary and speculative fiction, and narrative non-fiction around social and cultural issues. I am always looking for authors from diverse backgrounds. I also look after some of our Canons titles, including books by Tahmima Anam and Ruth Ozeki.
I’d summarise my list as comprising strong, remarkable women and bad men (specifically Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, albeit in parodic form), though the reverse is just as welcomed. I’m always game to see all things popular-culture-related as that’s my commissioning heartland, from memoirs (particularly ones with a campaigning element) to music books and humour. Non-fiction authors include Mark Radcliffe, Gina Miller, Ali Wong, Rob Sears, Nels Abbey, Susannah Cahalan, etc. Fiction-wise I take on fewer titles, and stick to literary genre for the most part, i.e. speculative fiction, including the upcoming A River Called Time by Courttia Newland; horror, such as Victor LaValle’s The Changeling; crime and thrillers like Argentinian noir phenomenon K. Ferrari’s Like Flies From Afar and George Alagaiah’s The Burning Land; and magical realism, including Curdella Forbes’ A Tall History of Sugar and the forthcoming Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden. I also oversee our Black Thorn crime paperback list.
I assist the Publishing Director on his titles and work closely with the Head of Editorial Management and Managing Editor. I love literary fiction, book club fiction and narrative non-fiction (particularly nature writing) and I’m always looking to discover fresh new voices.
I work closely with authors including Matt Haig, Jess Kidd, Ambrose Parry, Kevin Barry and Lidia Yuknavitch, and also look after some of my own titles and authors. Last year I co-founded and launched the Nan Shepherd Prize to find a new voice in nature writing, and was thrilled to find a winner in Nina Mingya Powles.
I work with the whole team to project-manage all Canongate’s titles from final edit through to print. I also act as managing editor for our Black Thorn imprint. As I have a background in children’s publishing I still love reading in this area, as well as fiction or non-fiction covering feminist issues, particularly relating to motherhood.
I mainly commission in the area of serious non-fiction. I’m particularly interested in books that start conversations, reframe how we think about the world or that challenge and provoke. Authors I have recently been working with include Richard Holloway, Alan Rusbridger, Maria Popova, Darcey Steinke, Thomas Page McBee, Keggie Carew, Dan Pink, Jo Marchant and Claudia Hammond. I also oversee our Canons list.
Photo by Julian Knox
I am looking for books on subjects that are urgent and universal. I’m interested in writers who are ambitious in the form they choose (and bend and adapt) to tell their story, who are ambitious stylists and who bring new worlds and new ways of seeing to my bookshelf. Since joining Canongate I have bought a debut collection of essays by a British-Palestinian author, an work of autofiction about masculinities and disability set in Florida by an American man living in London, a book of philosophical thought and reflection on race, sexuality, literature and the Caribbean by a Jamaican poet, a novel retelling the history of the invasion and settlement of Australia from the perspective of the wife of one of the country’s ‘founding fathers’ and a novel about a start-up and the pitfalls of working while female in the tech industry.