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In an industry of constant change, having the right skills to stand apart from the crowd has never been more important. Aimed at those looking to kick-start a career in publishing, The Society of Young Publishers brings together an expert panel, offering practical advice and guidance to new entrants. From MA courses to work placements, we discuss the right route for you: what skills you really need, and how to get your CV noticed.
Conference Room 1 & 2
Neil Morrison – Group HR Director, Random House Group
After starting his working life as a lecturer in Psychology, Neil took his first role in HR management in 1996. For the next 12 years he worked in a variety of specialist and generalist HR roles in FTSE100 companies, including Rentokil Initial and GUS (which latterly became Home Retail Group).
Neil joined the Random House Group in September 2008 taking responsibility for Human Resources, Learning and Development and Facilities. In November 2010 Neil was appointed to the main board.
Neil is a regular commentator on Human Resources and workplace issues and has written for a number of trade and generalist publications and websites on a range of topics.
Samantha Rayner – Senior Lecturer in Publishing, UCL
Sam previously worked at Anglia Ruskin University, where she was Director of the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute (CoDE) and leader of the Publishing MA, which she designed. She is now a Senior Lecturer in Publishing at UCL, in the University’s Centre for Publishing in its Department of Information Studies (DIS).
Sam teaches and writes on publishing and book related topics, and helps her students obtain jobs and placements. She is also the Research Officer for the Association of Publishing Education (APE), a member of the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) Peer Review Panel, and co-editor for the new Intellect journal ‘Book 2.0’.
Sophia Blackwell – Marketing Manager, Bloomsbury
Sophia Blackwell started her publishing career designing ads at Routledge while she developed her events management skills running poetry, comedy and cabaret events in Oxford and London. After two years as a marketing executive at Routledge, she moved to London and to Palgrave Macmillan where she was a Product Manager. Joining Bloomsbury as maternity cover on their imprints Methuen Drama and Arden Shakespeare in April 2011, she now works on Bloomsbury’s trade list, marketing mainly Middle Eastern literary fiction and business titles and runs international author events. She is also a writer and freelance editor.
Jessica Leeke – Senior Commissioning Editor, Simon & Schuster
After a spell in a New York ad agency, Jessica Leeke started publishing at Bloomsbury in 2005 before moving to Simon & Schuster in 2008 where she is currently Senior Commissioning Editor. She publishes literary fiction, both contemporary and historical, and fiction with reading group potential. She has a particular passion for American literature. Her authors include Lisa Genova (R&J Book Club), Sophie Hardach (Waterstone’s 11) Lloyd Shepherd (Waterstone’s Book Club), Benjamin Wood (Costa First Novel Shortlist, 2012), Wendy Wallace, Lydia Netzer (New York Times 100 notable books of the year) and Jason Hewitt. She also works with Philipp Meyer, Elizabeth Strout, Tom Rob Smith and Alice Hoffman. She was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2011.