Hachette UK has confirmed that it will open its five new national offices over the next three months, with Manchester and Bristol in July, followed by Newcastle in August, then Edinburgh and Sheffield in September.
The office openings will see nearly 60 London-based staff relocate across the UK, after earlier plans were put on hold as a result of the pandemic. Those relocating will be from a variety of roles and divisions across the publishing group, with the aim of having at least a hundred staff relocating by 2022. Hachette UK has also started recruiting locally as part of its commitment to forging close links with local talent and diversifying its workforce.
The first office to open was Manchester on 19th July, with 11 members of staff taking space in a flexible co-working environment at Blackfriars House. The office is led by Emma Layfield, Picture Book Development Director, North at Hachette Children’s Group and co-chair of Hachette UK’s All Together employee network, who relocated from London in January 2020 and is responsible for spearheading efforts to engage with the local creative and literary community. Among others, she is joined by Tierney Witty who is one of the trainees on Hachette UK’s publishing traineeship scheme, which was refreshed and relaunched earlier this year. He is starting his role at Orion from the Manchester office.
The Bristol office is also opening in July, headed by Nick Davies, Managing Director at John Murray Press and the first member of the Hachette UK Board to be based at a national office. 13 members of staff are moving into a co-share with the holiday company and travel publisher, Sawdays, on Bristol harbour. The team will be joined by recent hire Jade Chandler, Publishing Director at Baskerville, a new crime and thriller imprint at John Murray Press.
In August, the four-strong Newcastle team will move into an interim co-share with New Writing North at Baltic 39 Gallery, led by Rosie Gailer, Communications Director at John Murray Press, and Sarah Fortune, Project Editor at Orion and co-chair of Hachette UK’s All Together employee network.
The Sheffield and Edinburgh offices will open in September. The Sheffield team of seven will have dedicated office space within a flexible co-working building at The Workstation, in a move led by Sarah Castleton, Editorial Director at Little, Brown. Edinburgh will have the largest amount of staff initially at 23, following the relocation of Hodder Education from Glasgow, with a lease to be signed shortly. The new office will be led by Rosie Howie, Publisher at Hodder Education, and the team will be joined by Angela Robertson, recently appointed Head of Live Events for Hachette UK, and Nuha Zulkernain, another Hachette UK publishing trainee who will start her role at Hodder & Stoughton from Edinburgh.
Hachette UK will be celebrating ‘National Offices Day’ with its staff in the autumn, partnering with its All Together employee network to bring each of the new offices to life for colleagues around the country.
David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK, commented: “I am really excited about our national offices, which I hope will provide a gateway into creative talent – authors, illustrators, translators, publishing professionals – around the UK. We are ambitious for these offices’ growth and development over the coming years, and we really look forward to working closely with bookshops, libraries, arts organisations and charities in all the cities in which we will be based. I hope it will be a transformative venture for our publishing and widen our horizons in all sorts of exciting new ways.”
Nick Davies, Managing Director at John Murray Press, commented: “We’re very excited to be opening our five new offices finally, after the various delays of the last 18 months. This first phase is about staff relocating, embedding the offices in their new communities and getting closer to local readers, writers and booksellers. But it’s the second phase, where we look to grow these offices by hiring from more diverse talent pools across the country, that’s the really exciting, game-changing moment. We are already advertising on a national level. Following one recent job ad, 60% of the longlist applied to work from one of our five national offices, so the appetite is clearly there.
“I’d like to say a big thank you for the support that we’ve already received from businesses and organisations across the country, including Arts Council England, Creative Industries Federation, Publishing Scotland, New Writing North, Manchester City of Literature, University of Sheffield and many, many more. This project would’ve been impossible without your enthusiasm and advice, and we look forward to collaborating with you from these new bases in the near future.”
Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive of New Writing North, commented: “New Writing North has been collaborating with Hachette UK on awards and writer support programmes for a couple of years now, and it has been fantastic to see the national offices programme develop in such a holistic and collaborative way. This move will be potentially transformative in the cities that Hachette UK is investing in. In Newcastle, the new office will help to act as a lever for further investment and activity in writing and publishing development, demonstrating the transformative power of partnerships to really make things happen at scale. We look forward to working with the Hachette UK staff in Newcastle and to seeing the team there grow.”
Later this year, Hachette UK will be teaming up with partners in the cities where it has new national offices 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. These events form part of the Opening the Book series Hachette UK launched in June to mark the fifth anniversary of its ‘Changing the Story’ diversity and inclusion programme, and are being led by Nick Davies, who is also a Patron of ‘Changing the Story’.