Spring 2020


We have taken the heavy decision to cancel this year’s conference. This is a result of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its foreseeable implications within the coming few weeks. Our first priority is the health and safety of our attendees, speakers and exhibitors, and with the situation being as it is, we cannot in the right conscience proceed.

We hope this is not too disheartening as we were collectively excited to share the diverse range of topics, discussions and experiences of our speakers, performers and attendees. Furthermore, we hope to return to these ideas and panel discussions in their own right, using them as the bases for possible SYP monthly events later this year.

We are refunding all tickets purchased.



Keynote Speech

Keynote: Rosemary Ward. Rosemary was born in Helensburgh but her family relocated to the Isle of South Uist when she was four years of age. She learned Gaelic at Garrynamonie Primary School and completed her education at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway. She gained a B.Ed (Primary) degree and went on to become the first Gaelic Medium immersion teacher in Sir John Maxwell Primary in Glasgow in the 1980s. She spent sixteen years as a Gaelic Quality Improvement Officer in Argyll and Bute Council before taking up post as the Director of Education for Bòrd na Gàidhlig. In 2010 she was appointed to the post of Director of the Gaelic Books Council and joined Scottish Book Trust as Director of Programme in 2018.




1: Source, Supply and Sustainability

From the hands of the publisher to the shelves of the bookshop – how are environmental and political issues impacting the supply chain of the book trade? We hear from leading experts in Scottish publishing, printing and distribution about how a post-Brexit Scotland might affect the industry and what is being done to tackle increasing concerns around sustainability.

Chair: Mairi Kidd. Mairi is Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, working with individual writers, publishers and literary organisations to support Scotland’s vibrant ecology of books and writing. She was formerly Managing Director of Barrington Stoke and is a director of Cuilean Craicte CIC (with this hat on she translated Oor Wullie into Gaelic). She has served on the board of the Independent Publishers’ Guild and lectured in publishing at the University of Stirling, and continues to maintain an early career involvement in Gaelic language development and broadcast by serving on the board of MG Alba. In her spare time Mairi is a writer for print and screen.


Panellist: Davinder Bedi. Dav is Managing Director at BookSource, the trading arm of Publishing Scotland and a full service international book distributor servicing almost 100 client publishers. He has been part of the Scottish Publishing scene since 1996 and during his time he has developed the BookSource offering to one which is now vital for publishers to be successful in today’s marketplace, especially small publishers. He has a particular interest in sustainability within the book business supply chain and is keen to make BookSource ‘Net Zero’ by the end of 2023. Dav studied Maths at Glasgow University and later went back to take an MBA. He sits as a Board Member or Trustee on various charity boards, including Publishing Scotland, and can often be found shouting at Partick Thistle on Saturday afternoons.


Panellist: Lewis Dawson. Lewis Dawson is the Co-owner and Managing Director of Bookspeed. Lewis started his career at Bookspeed in 2008, initially working in sales. In 2012 he became Commercial Director, overseeing a period of significant growth, playing a fundamental role in the expansion of the ‘non-traditional’ book market, which is the company’s main customer base, cementing Bookspeed’s position as the leading supplier to the UK Gift, Visitor and Heritage markets. Lewis has been Managing Director of Bookspeed since November 2017 and is focused on continuing the company’s success as it moves into its fourth decade. Lewis is the son of the founders, Annie Rhodes and Kingsley Dawson, who started the business in 1986.


Panellist: Derek Kenney. Derek has worked in the printing industry virtually all his working life, barring a brief spell in the military. He has held various senior sales, technical and executive positions, including at Scotland’s printing industry professional body, Print Scotland, and 18 years with solutions provider Heidelberg. Having been the Sales Director at UK’s leading book and journal printer Bell & Bain for the last 5 years with the aim to make them the ‘best of the best’, he is passionate about print and books in particular. His motto is: Anything that gets people reading is a good thing.





2: Translation Routes

Styled as a series of presentations on translation projects, each speaker will take us through the journey of an idea taking root to the finished copy. Featuring projects from Vagabond Voices, Sandstone Press and Charco Press, this session will highlight the intricacies involved in translating various languages to English.

Chair: Mairi Kidd. Mairi is Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, working with individual writers, publishers and literary organisations to support Scotland’s vibrant ecology of books and writing. She was formerly Managing Director of Barrington Stoke and is a director of Cuilean Craicte CIC (with this hat on she translated Oor Wullie into Gaelic). She has served on the board of the Independent Publishers’ Guild and lectured in publishing at the University of Stirling, and continues to maintain an early career involvement in Gaelic language development and broadcast by serving on the board of MG Alba. In her spare time Mairi is a writer for print and screen.


Speaker: Allan Cameron. Allan Cameron was born in 1952, grew up in Nigeria and Bangladesh, and lived as a young adult in Italy. He is the founder of Vagabond Voices, which runs the Think in Translation blog and podcast. He has written three novels, The Golden Menagerie (Luath Press, 2004), The Berlusconi Bonus (Luath Press 2005), and Cinico (Vagabond Voices, 2017) and a non-fiction title, In Praise of the Garrulous (2008). His two short-story collections, Can the Gods Cry? and On the Heroism of Mortals, were published in 2011 and 2012. Over the years, Allan has translated twenty-four books, and his two collections of poetry, Presbyopia and A Barrel of Dried Leaves, were published in 2009 and 2016.


Speaker: Kay Farrell. Kay Farrell is Assistant Publisher at Sandstone Press, working across editorial and production. She edited the English language edition of Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, which went on to win the Man Booker International Prize. In 2019 she was selected as a Bookseller Rising Star and Saltire Society Emerging Publisher of the Year.



Speaker: Carolina Orloff. Originally from Buenos Aires and now based in Edinburgh, Carolina Orloff is an experienced translator and researcher in Latin American literature. In 2016, Carolina co-founded Charco Press, where she acts as Publishing Director. She is also the co-translator of Ariana Harwicz’s Die, My Love, which was longlisted for the Man Booker International 2018, as well as Feebleminded (by Harwicz) and Fate by Jorge Consiglio. In its short life, Charco Press has received several awards and nominations, including Creative Edinburgh Start-Up of the Year (2018) and the British Book Award – Scottish Regional Prize (2019). Carolina herself was named ‘Emerging Publisher of the Year (2018)’ by the Saltire Society.





3: Contracts & Rights Workshop

Join Caro Clarke of Canongate Books as she takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the world of contracts and rights, looking at copyright, territories, sublicensing and the all important financial side of things.

Workshop Facilitator: Caro Clarke. Caro Clarke has MAs in political sciences and international relations from both the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Bordeaux and the University of Turin. After a short stint at the French Institute in London, she spent two years working at Transworld. In 2012, she relocated to Scotland and joined the Rights Department at Canongate Books. She is now Rights Manager and, with Megan Reid, co-founded the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented nature writers. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram talking about books, jams or dogs.



4: #AuthorBranding

Social media, individual branding and the morality clause: we consider the author as a brand, and the impact this has upon the team around them. Combining the perspectives of author, agent and marketer, this panel discusses how much of a consideration the author’s brand should be, and can – or should – publishers do more?

Chair: Chiara Bullen. Chiara Bullen is a PhD Researcher at the University of Stirling, looking into the moral and ethical responsibilities of book publishers and authors. She has a particular interest in the practices put into place by publishers in an attempt to meet moral and ethical standards expected by consumers in the 21st century, which includes the use of the morality clause and strategies surrounding author branding. Previously, Chiara was Media Coordinator at Red Press. She writes a monthly book review column with a focus on books from Scottish publishers for CommonSpace.



Panellist: Ella Horne. Ella Horne is Marketing Manager at Transworld, a division of Penguin Random House. She has worked on big brands – Lee Child, Terry Pratchett and Bill Bryson – as well as helping debut authors reach the bestsellers charts. She was awarded a Bookseller Rising Star in 2019 for her work as co-founder of The Flip, an online platform that empowers women in publishing.




Panellist: Lina Langlee. Lina is originally from Sweden but moved to Scotland in 2008 to study. After graduating with a First from University of Glasgow and an MLitt (Distinction) in Publishing Studies from Stirling University, she went on to work in publishing, notably in the rights department at Canongate, and publicity at Black & White. She joined the Kate Nash Literary Agency in 2018, and is actively building her list of clients.




Panellist: Chris McQueer. Chris McQueer is a 28 year old writer from Glasgow. He has written two collections of short stories, Hings, which recently won the award for outstanding literature at The Herald Scottish Culture Awards and has been adapted for the BBC, and HWFG, a series of longer and darker stories. He is currently writing his first novel.






5: Business Model/Model Business

Discussing the established business model and new, creative adaptations for modern publishing and beyond, we consider our loyalty to the traditional structure and the varied community interest companies, subscription services, crowdfunding and Patreon. How can you adapt your organisation not just to survive, but to thrive?

Chair: Sonali Misra. Sonali Misra, an Indian author and PhD researcher in Publishing Studies, is the Co-founder of The Selkie Publications CIC, which supports and publishes underrepresented writers and artists. She has previously worked in book publishing for four years as an Editor at Scholastic India and a Senior Product Executive at Hachette Book Publishing India. Her nonfiction book, 21 Fantastic Failures, will be out in June 2020. Sonali is also the Conference Lead of the Society of Young Publishers Scotland.




Panellist: Laura Jones. Laura Jones is a co-founder and co-publisher of 404 Ink as well as a book production and promotion freelancer for numerous clients. She recently joined the Publishing Scotland Board and is also on the Board of crime writing festival Bloody Scotland, in addition to being their Digital Manager.




Panellist: Hannah Taylor. Hannah Taylor launched She Is Fierce in 2017, producing four print magazines aiming to challenge the media’s portrayal of women, and in 2019 rebranded as The Delicate Rébellion, to emphasise inclusivity and community. While the magazine remains the ‘beating heart’ of the business, Hannah also runs The Collective, a collaborative community providing workshops, mentorship and connection to creatives in their business endeavours.




Panellist: John Watson. John Watson is the journals Commissioning Editor for Edinburgh University Press. EUP specialises in producing academic books and journals, in print as well as digital content, in the Humanities and Social Sciences. This includes developing transitional models of publishing towards Open Access.






6: Audio-Visual Futures

From newsletters to apps, Twitter feeds to Instagram lives, visual and audio tools have become an essential part of book publicity/marketing in the modern age. Will the rise of technology encourage us to look towards the future, or reflect nostalgically upon the way we consumed books in the past?Join us as we discuss the increase of these promotional activities, and their place within the industry today.

Chair: Ceris Jones. Ceris Jones is a Marketing Executive at Sandstone Press, an independent publisher based in the Scottish Highlands and Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year in 2014 and 2019. She manages campaigns for a variety of fiction and non-fiction, from debut novels to books by internationally established authors including Jokha Alharthi, Jørn Lier Horst and Volker Kutscher. She has an MA in Business Management and Marketing from Heriot-Watt University, and an MSc in Publishing from Edinburgh Napier University.



Panellist: Ella Horne. Ella Horne is Marketing Manager at Transworld, a division of Penguin Random House. She has worked on big brands – Lee Child, Terry Pratchett and Bill Bryson – as well as helping debut authors reach the bestsellers charts. She was awarded a Bookseller Rising Star in 2019 for her work as co-founder of The Flip, an online platform that empowers women in publishing.



Panellist: Joanna Lord. Joanna Lord joined Canongate Books in December 2014 in the role of Online Key Accounts Executive. She took over the running of Canongate’s audio business in September 2017 and was promoted to the role of Head of Audio and Online in July 2018 as part of the company’s increased focus on audio. Prior to Canongate, she worked at the Guardian, managing the paper’s online bookshop, and as Sales Administrator at Atlantic Books.




Panellist: Kate Wilson. Kate Wilson was born and raised, at least for a bit, in Edinburgh before living in Belgium. After studying English at Oxford University, she worked for Canongate, Faber, Egmont, Macmillan, Scholastic and Hachette. She set up Nosy Crow in 2010. A proudly independent children’s publisher, the company is currently the holder of the Children’s Publisher of the Year Nibbie for the second time in 3 years. Kate herself has won several awards including the 2015 Futurebook Digital Publishing Person of the Year Award.





7: New Lens: Repackaging and Adapting

We enjoy the hype surrounding front list titles, but what about breathing new life into older beloved books? We will discuss the processes behind refreshing a pre-existing title, whether it’s a backlist gem or a long-surviving classic. From repackaging as a strategy for production and marketing, the challenge designers face in creating on-trend covers, to screen adaptation as a means of bringing stories to a new format, we will consider how publishers and agents can rejuvenate the life of a book.

Chair: Andrew Sharp. Andrew Sharp has worked in Rights for 24 years, spending most of his career in children’s publishing. Before moving to Scotland to work on a freelance and consultancy basis, he worked as the Group Rights Director for Hachette Children’s Group. He received the Rights Professional of the Year award at the British Book Awards 2019. The focus of his rights selling has been US and translation rights, though he also has experience in electronic, audio and performance rights.




Panellist: Leah McDowell. Leah McDowell is an award-winning book designer and art director who is passionate about opening up the publishing industry to aspiring designers and illustrators and developing their talent. She leads the Design & Production team at Floris Books in Edinburgh, an independent publisher of award-winning Scottish children’s books.




Panellist: Kate Nash. Kate has seen every side of publishing and set up her own literary agency so she could do “the best job in publishing”. Her reading tastes – from romance to thrillers – are highly commercial. Kate was named a a Bookseller Rising Star in 2018 and was awarded Agent of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2019.




Panellist: Tash Pile. Tash Pile is Campaigns Assistant at Canongate, where she has worked since 2018. She works on marketing campaigns for both adult and children’s authors including Matt Haig, Jess Kidd, Claudia Hammond, Patience Agbabi & Scarlett Thomas. Tash also looks after the marketing for Canongate’s classics list – The Canons. She has a Publishing MA from London College of Communication and Media Writing BA from Greenwich University. Previous to Canongate, she worked for 3 years as Marketing Executive at national charity Brain Tumour Research.





8: 20/20 Visibility

How are people carving out a space in the industry, and striving to keep their place within it? Join us as we consider the concept of visibility in an ever-changing world, championing those who are fostering change in book and magazine publishing as well as bookselling. Everyone has the potential to make a difference, and this panel discusses whether all voices are truly being heard – is hindsight really 20/20, or has the conversation around inclusivity only just begun?

Chair: Alycia Pirmohamed. Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet living in Scotland. Her chapbook, FACES THAT FLED THE WIND, won the 2018 BOAAT Press Chapbook Prize. Her next chapbook, HINGE, is forthcoming from Oxford Brookes’ ignitionpress in 2020. In 2019, Alycia won the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, the CBC Poetry Prize, and the Sawti Poetry Prize in English. She was also a recipient of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest. In 2018, Alycia won the Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest in poetry. Alycia is a co-editor of They Rise Like A Wave: An Anthology of Asian American Women Poets (Blue Oak Press), and currently reads for Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She is also the co-founder and director of the Scottish BAME Writers Network.


Panellist: Ever Dundas. Ever Dundas’ novel Goblin won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award 2017. Her second novel, HellSans, is a sci-fi thriller with disability as a central theme. Ever set up Crip Collective, a Facebook support group for disabled people in the UK publishing industry.




Panellist: Nathaniel Kunitsky. Nathaniel is the founder of Knight Errant Press, a micro queer publisher based in Falkirk. He runs creative writing workshops that support writers across Scotland and is a passionate advocate for underrepresented voices in publishing. He previously worked for Prepress Projects, Perth, as a Project Editor, at Scottish Book Trust as an Administrative Assistant to the Reader Development team and as a freelance copy-editor, proofreader and translator.



Panellist: Sha Nazir. Sha is the publisher at BHP Comics, Scotland’s only graphic novel publisher and rights agent for 9 Panels Agency. He produces Glasgow Comic Con, Edinburgh Comic Art Festival and is the founding chair of the Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance (SICBA) the UK’s longest running comic book awards. He occasionally writes and draws comics.



Panellist: Jim Taylor. Jim Taylor is a writer and bookshop manager who has worked in bookselling for almost fifteen years. Since 2017 he has been part of the team at Lighthouse Bookshop, helping to shape their stock profile and events programme with a view to promoting diversity. His writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Guardian and The Fountain.






Poetry Performance

Poet: Gray Crosbie. Gray Crosbie is a queer poet who performs regularly at poetry events and cabaret nights around Scotland. Their writing has been published in various anthologies and literary magazines, and as poetry films on BBC The Social. Their pamphlet of flash-fiction – Love, Pan-Fried – was published in 2019 by Knight Errant Press. Find them at facebook.com/plantpoweredpoet






Closing Speaker

Closing speaker: Leila Aboulela. Leila Aboulela is the author of five novels: Bird Summons (2019), The Translator, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year, The Kindness of EnemiesMinaret and Lyrics Alley, Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. She was the first winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and her latest story collection, Elsewhere, Home won the Saltire Fiction Book of 2018. Leila’s work has been translated into fifteen languages and she was long-listed three times for the Orange Prize. She grew up in Khartoum and moved in her mid-twenties to Aberdeen.






Lunch will be provided by the fantastic Social Bite, who work to end homelessness. There will be vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. If you have other dietary requirements, please email us at sypscotlandconf@gmail.com.


At SYP Scotland we want to unite publishing newbies all across Scotland. If you’re interested in becoming a member, full information is here.

The Society of Young Publishers is a not-for-profit, volunteer-led organisation looking to support, educate, enthuse and entertain prospective publishers, and those within the first ten years of their career in the publishing or book industry. We do this through monthly events, online events, mentoring schemes and more.

Praise for previous conferences:
“Such great passion and eagerness – utterly inspiring.”
“Genuinely excited and optimistic about the future of publishing!”
“Hugely informative and exciting.”
“Can honestly say this is the first publishing conference I’ve been to that has inspired rather than depressed! I’ve lots of new ideas!”