Hachette UK is launching a series of free, virtual events called ‘Opening the Book’ to demystify publishing as it marks the fifth anniversary of its diversity and inclusion programme, ‘Changing the Story’, with a renewed drive to make publishing more transparent and accessible to under-represented groups. The first part of ‘Opening the Book’ will focus on sharing the realities of working in publishing with people who want to break into the industry, while the second part will focus on aspiring authors.
From later this month until the end of the year, there will be 10 panel discussions* hosted and chaired by Sharmaine Lovegrove, Publisher at Dialogue Books and Patron of ‘Changing the Story’. Each panel will focus on a particular department, with three colleagues from Hachette UK sharing their first-hand experiences of entry level, mid-level and head of department roles, bringing to life the opportunities and challenges of working in publishing today. Some of the panels will be followed by a live Q&A and all the content will later be available on Hachette UK’s website and social channels, as well as through some partner sites, forming the cornerstone of the publisher’s outreach work this year.
Sharmaine Lovegrove said: “Our aim at Hachette UK is to demystify publishing so that a wider spectrum of people from all backgrounds and career stages have a better understanding of the industry and ‘Opening the Book’ is a fantastic way for us to carry out that mission. From hosting the panels, I’ve learnt a lot from my colleagues, and I’ve been invigorated by their passion and expertise at all levels. My hope is that these interviews, and all our ‘Opening the Book’ events this year, will inspire and inform and ultimately lead to a broader range of publishing professionals, illustrators and writers entering the industry.”
The ‘Opening the Book’ series will launch on Monday 28th June at 1pm with a panel discussion on Marketing featuring Gemma Shelley, Deputy Marketing Director at Little, Brown, Emma Petfield, Senior Marketing Manager at John Murray Press, and Lipfon Tang, Marketing Executive at Quercus, followed by a live Q&A with the panellists chaired by Josie Dobrin, CEO of Creative Access.
Ahead of the events, Hachette UK will be unveiling a series of videos from the panellists on Twitter and Instagram, which will provide their top tips on how to kickstart a career in publishing . Tickets to the events are free and you can register for the first event on Eventbrite now. To keep up to date with the full schedule of events, check out Hachette UK’s website.
Later this year, Hachette UK will unveil the second part of ‘Opening the Book’. It is teaming up with partners in cities where it has new national offices – Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield and Bristol – to host a range of myth-busting sessions for aspiring authors on creative writing, editing and pitching, and the publishing industry in general, as well as offering some exciting career retrospectives with Hachette UK’s biggest authors in those regions. The programme is being spearheaded by Nick Davies, Managing Director at John Murray Press and Patron of ‘Changing the Story’, and more details will be announced in the coming months.
Nick Davies said: “We need to do a better job of making publishing accessible. We need to attract a more diverse range of talent to the industry and we need give voice to authors who feel excluded or side-lined. It’s two sides of the same coin and the rationale behind the two strands of ‘Opening the Book’. It’s also why Hachette UK is opening five new offices across the country. We’re delighted to be creating a series of honest and open author events that will take this message beyond London and make the industry a more welcoming and inclusive place.”