The Bookseller Children’s Conference Publishing outside London

Outside the bubble

This year, several of our speakers are from the book business outside London. Here they talk about the advantages and disadvantages of working where they do, and what the London-based industry can learn by looking further afield

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Penny Thomas and Marc Lambert are participants in “Children’s Books Outside the Capital—Challenges and Opportunities” at 12.30 p.m. Debbie Jane Williams is giving a talk about training the next generation of publishers at 3 p.m. Both events are in the Inside the Tent room.

04 6th September 2019

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Penny Thomas Publisher, Firefly Press

he UK has a diverse culture and is made up of four different countries

with differing identities. Firefly is the only Wales-based publisher focusing exclusively on children’s books. The advantage of this is that not only can we can publish qualit children’s fiction from anywhere in the world, but we are also close to Welsh writers and aim to sign some of the best stories and writing from Wales too. We can also publish writing from other areas such as the North, the Midlands, Scotland, Ireland or abroad, without having to put our senses through a London filter. We have won UK awards,

grown our business and received widespread recognition for our books. The key disadvantage we face is that a minorit in the book trade find it hard to appreciate that we publish to the whole of the UK and beyond, just like a London or US-based publisher would. Our criterion is qualit.

We don’t just publish ‘local’ authors or for ‘local’ children... an outstanding book from Wales is an outstanding book anywhere

Pictured Penny

Thomas and Horatio Clare right collect the 2016 Branford Boase Award from Chris Riddell

Our books are not lower in production or editorial values because we are outside the capital, and we can supply them on the same terms. Great books can come from other places too! So we don’t just publish “local” authors, “local” setings or only for “local” children. It’s important that children from Wales can see themselves in books. But an outstanding book from Wales is an outstanding book anywhere—stories from different places are not a barrier, but vital to diversit, empathy and understanding.

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