VIPs 2016 Participants

Dr Cordelia Borchardt

Dr Cordelia Borchardt
Editor-in-Chief for General Fiction, FISCHER Krüger & FISCHER Scherz
S. Fischer Verlage – Frankfurt, Germany

Main areas of interest:

  • Upmarket women's fiction
  • Crime and thriller
  • Historical fiction
  • Humour       

Cordelia Borchardt is Editor-in-Chief for General Fiction at FISCHER Krüger and FISCHER Scherz, concentrating on upmarket commercial fiction.  Prior to joining Fischer in 1998, she worked as an editor and press officer for smaller German publishing houses.  

Cordelia works closely with her German authors, including bestselling crime writer Jörg Maurer and historical novelist Sabine Weigand, as well as editing English language authors in their original language.    

Among the English language authors she has worked with are Graeme Simsion and Judy Nunn (Australia), Anne Fortier and Rohinton Mistry (Canada), Barbara Wood and Indu Sundaresan (USA), Malcolm Mackay, Roddy Doyle, Sam Bourne, Kate Saunders and Jill Mansell (UK).     

Beyond her publishing activities Cordelia has taught writers’ workshops and lectured at the universities of Frankfurt and Munich. For seven years she ran a series of readings, presenting and interviewing famous authors in English and German. She regularly chairs panel discussions for British Council literature seminars, and is on the jury of two writers’ prizes.

Anish Chandy

Anish Chandy
Head of Business Development
Juggernaut Books – New Delhi, India

Main areas of interest:

  • Digital
  • Commercial fiction
  • Young adult and fantasy fiction
  • Business and self-help

Anish leads digital business development and physical book sales for Juggernaut – an emerging publishing house with a special focus on digital. Juggernaut aims to combine a great list with technology, to engage readers and deliver content to India’s immense mobile audience (and importantly, to get them to pay for it). He is responsible for setting up partnerships with publishers all over the world to bring them onto the Juggernaut digital platform. Apart from publisher partnerships, Juggernaut will produce over 200 titles for their mobile app and 50 books for their select physical imprint in 2016, both in English and Hindi.

He founded The Labyrinth Literary Agency in 2014 to tap into the full potential of writers in countries under-represented by agents. Labyrinth is a multi-service agency, working with any genre with global potential; writers that Labyrinth represents include India’s highest selling female romance writer, Nikita Singh and former international cricketer, Sanjay Manjrekar.

Anish started his publishing career at Penguin (India) as a commissioning editor for non-fiction, quickly moving to Senior Commissioning Editor and expanding his activities to include commercial fiction and mind-body-spirit books. He published some of India's highest selling non-fiction authors such as Prakash Iyer, Harish Bhat, and acquired rights to prestigious international writers such as David Graeber (UK), John Perry (USA), Ralph Lazar, Lisa Swerling (South Africa) and Gyonpo Tshering (Bhutan). 

Shannon Cullen

Shannon Cullen
Publishing Director Children’s
Penguin Random House UK

Main areas of interest:

  • Children's fiction
  • Young adult and crossover fiction
  • Social-media talent (i.e. YouTubers)
  • Diversity 

Shannon Cullen is the publisher for fiction at Penguin Random House UK Children’s and manages the Puffin Classics list. Born in New Zealand, she has lived in London since 1999 and held roles at Collins Education, Puffin and Random House. 

Shannon has worked with a wide range of award-winning authors, including John Green, Zoe Sugg (Zoella), Lucy and Stephen Hawking, John Flanagan, Meg Rosoff, Michael Scott and Anthony McGowan. The Penguin Random House UK Children's list includes award-winning Australian authors Morris Gleitzman, Markus Zusak, John Flanagan, Paul Jennings and Jacqueline Harvey.

Shannon was co-chair of the UK Children’s Book Circle in 2008, and has represented Penguin Random House at events such as the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators UK annual conference, SWIM Copenhagen, and Power to the Pixel. In 2014 she hosted a YA panel at the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts in London, interviewing Bruce Pascoe, Mandy Hager, Nicole Hayes and Joe Ducie.

Deborah Druba

Deborah Druba
Editorial Director
Editions Kero – Paris, France 

Main areas of interest:

  • Commercial fiction 
  • Upmarket fiction
  • Thrillers
  • General non-fiction 

Deborah Druba joined Editions Kero in 2014, bringing her diverse experience and broad knowledge of the French and international book markets. A native of Germany, she has worked in French book publishing with a focus on translated fiction for 20 years, with extended editorial stints at Presses de la Cité, France Loisirs and Fleuve Editions, as well as two years as a literary agent at Agence Hoffman.

The authors Deborah has acquired and published over the years range from commercial to more literary titles such as Jon Krakauer, Wally Lamb and Richard Price (Presses de la Cité); Khaled Hosseini, Audrey Niffenegger and Alice Sebold (France Loisirs); Peter James, Jasper Fforde, Eowyn Ivey, Jess Walter and Rene Denfeld (Fleuve Editions); and Dörte Hansen, Kit de Waal, Caroline Kepnes, Jane Harper and Mark Lamprell (Editions Kero).

Deborah has acquired ‘Via dell'Amore’ by Mark Lamprell along with two thrillers by Jane Harper for Kero, which has also published Markus Zusak's ‘I Am the Messenger’. She also acquired ‘Lost and Found’ by Brooke Davis while at Fleuve Editions but unfortunately didn't oversee publication due to starting her new role before the novel came out. She still regrets not getting to publish that book!

Katharina Ebinger

Katharina Ebinger
Editor in Chief, Thienemann and Gabriel
Thienemann-Esslinger Verlag GmbH – Stuttgart, Germany 

Main areas of interest:

  • Children's books: picture books to young adult, middle-grade and young adult titles
  • Suspense, especially for ages 8+ and 10+
  • Fiction and non-fiction
  • Digital concepts

Katharina Ebinger became editor in chief of Thienemann and Gabriel Verlag in December 2014 following 20 years working with children’s and young adult books in German publishing houses.

For Thienemann, Katharina acquires German and international fiction rights for picture books, middle-grade and young adult titles, looking for new voices, and literary, humour, and high quality fantasy books in the tradition of Michael Ende. For Gabriel she acquires titles on ethics, philosophy and intercultural topics, both fiction and non-fiction. 

Recent Australian acquisitions include Toby Riddle (Curtis Brown), Claire Zorn, Steven Herrick (UQP), and Kylie Westaway/ Tom Jellett (Allen & Unwin), with two Australian titles to be published in 2016.

With Gabriel authors Oscar Brenifier/ Jacques Després and Christian Nürnberger/ Katharina Bußhoff she won the German youth literature prize, and introduced the German photographer Jan von Holleben to the children's book market, selling rights to twelve countries.

Thienemann have sold English language world rights for Michael Ende, Otfried Preußler, Rainer Oberthür, and Oliver Pötzsch. They’ve also sold rights from Sebastian Meschenmoser to Wilkins Farago, and their current bestselling author is Oliver Scherz.

James Gurbutt

James Gurbutt
Publisher, Corsair and Atom
Little, Brown Book Group – London, UK

Main areas of interest:

  • Literary fiction
  • Crime
  • Non-fiction 

James Gurbutt set up Corsair as a boutique literary list at the then independent publisher Constable & Robinson in 2009 (the latter purchased by Little, Brown in 2014). He started out as an accountant for Random House in 1997 and was the Commercial Director at Vintage. He later moved into editorial as Associate Publisher for Harvill, publishing works by Haruki Murakami, Nicholas Shakespeare and Australian authors Gail Jones and Murray Bail.

Key literary writers on the Corsair list include Roxane Gay, Jennifer Egan, Louise Erdrich, William Finnegan and John Waters. Commercial writers include Lincoln Child, Ace Atkins and Dale Brown.  Corsair recently acquired the rights to the work of Australian writers Maxine Beneba Clarke and Antonia Hayes, both to be published in 2016.

Rachel Hecht

Rachel Hecht
Executive Director, Children's Scouting
Mary Anne Thompson Associates – New York, USA

Main areas of interest:

  • Young adult fiction
  • Middle-grade fiction
  • Picture books
  • Graphic novels

Rachel Hecht became Executive Director of Children’s & YA Scouting at Mary Anne Thompson Associates in 2013, after serving as the Foreign Rights Director for Children’s Books at Foundry Literary + Media. She originally joined Mary Anne Thompson Associates in 2007 as the Children’s & YA Scout, having acquired a taste for the international side during her time at a boutique literary agency.  

She scouts the US, Canadian, and Australian markets on behalf of fourteen foreign publishers ranging in size and focus, including Gallimard Jeunesse (France), Macmillan Children's Books (UK), Ravensburger (Germany), B. Wahlstroms (Sweden) and Kinneret-Zmora Bitan (Israel).

As a scout, Rachel always delights in discovering new voices to recommend to her international clients. Authors she’s proud to have championed, resulting in sales or offers, include Cath Crowley, Karen Foxlee, Justine Larabalestier, Alexandra Adornetto, Bernard Beckett and Richard Newsome, among others. During the Frankfurt and Bologna book fairs, she makes a point of seeing as many Australian publishers and agents as she can to catch up in person on the state of the market and any emerging trends. Rachel welcomes the opportunity to strengthen these relationships and establish new ones during the Visiting International Publishers program in 2016.

Jenna Johnson

Jenna Johnson
Executive Editor
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – New York, USA

Main areas of interest:

  • Fiction
  • Memoir
  • Narrative non fiction 

In her role as Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jenna Johnson concentrates on literary, international, historical, and upmarket commercial fiction. She also publishes memoir, poetry, and narrative non-fiction, with particular interest in food, cultural history, religion, animal stories, music, and biography.

Her titles include the national bestsellers ‘We, the Animals’ by Justin Torres, ‘The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox’ by Maggie O'Farrell, and ‘Chosen by a Horse’ by Susan Richards. Among her award-winning titles are National Book Award 5 Under 35 winner Angela Flournoy’s National Book Award Finalist ‘The Turner House’, Booker finalist ‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman, James Beard Winner ‘Save the Deli’ by David Sax, National Jewish Book Award Winner ‘The Lion Seeker’ by Kenneth Bonert, and Man Asian Prize Winner ‘Three Sisters’ by Bi Feiyu. She works with authors Chinelo Okparanta, Alexis Smith, Samantha Hunt, Natasha Trethewey, Carlene Bauer, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Young-ha Kim, Kent Meyers, Richard Wilbur and many others.

Jenna has also taken over as house editor for Australian writer John Harwood’s titles.

Duran Kim

Duran Kim
President/Agent
Duran Kim Agency – Seoul, Republic of Korea

Main areas of interest:

  • Fiction
  • General non-fiction
  • Business
  • Science

Duran Kim has worked as the Korean agent for major US, UK, European and Australian publishers and agencies since 1992. Before setting up his own agency in 2001, Duran was an agent at Imprima Korea, Rights Director at Hainaim Publishing, and in several roles in the digital space.  His agency is particularly strong in fiction, science, and business titles.

Internationally, Duran has represented The Perseus Book Group, WW Norton, Little Brown, Random House, St. Martin's Press, Oxford University Press (Adult and Children), Harvard University Press, Yale University Press, University of Chicago Press, Curtis Brown UK/Australia, Fletcher & Co, McCormick Literary, The Science Factory and others. 

From Australia he currently represents Curtis Brown, Black Inc, Jenny Darling Agency, HarperCollins Australia, Margaret Gee Literary Agency, University of Queensland Press, UNSW Press, and Exisle Publishing. He has sold the Korean rights for such Australian writers as Anna Goldsworthy, Robyn Arianrhod, Hugh White and Liane Moriarty.

Duran attends major international book fairs including Frankfurt Book Fair, London Book Fair, BookExpo America, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Tokyo Book Fair, Beijing Book Fair and Shanghai Book Fair.

He was a key adviser for Austrade Seoul during recent market exploration delegations supported by the Australia Council, and regularly contributes book reviews and articles to major newspapers and magazines.

Renate Liesker

Renate Liesker
Commissioning Editor
Ambo|Anthos Publishers – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Main areas of interest:

  • Translated literary fiction
  • Translated commercial women's fiction
  • Crime/thrillers
  • Narrative non-fiction 

Renate Liesker has worked at Ambo-Anthos Publishers as commissioning editor of translated fiction and narrative non-fiction since 2011. Key writers published include Kamel Daoud, SJ Watson, Renée Knight, Emma Straub, Virginia Baily, Christina Baker Kline, Kathleen Grissom, Jennifer Worth, and Piper Kerman. Prior to that she spent eight years at De Fontein/De Kern, publishing works from Liane Moriarty, Sophie Hannah, and Jojo Moyes. Earlier in her career Renate was Commissioning Editor at Van Buuren publishers, where key authors included Tamara McKinley and T. Jefferson Parker. 

Ambo|Anthos is the Dutch publisher of Christos Tsiolkas and Kate Grenville, and in 2014 Renate bought the rights to ‘Lost & Found’ by Brooke Davis, whom she enjoyed meeting recently in Frankfurt. She has also acquired the Dutch rights to two novels by Fiona Higgins, ‘The Mothers' Group’ and ‘Wife on the Run’.

Kira Lynn

Kira Lynn
Publishing Director
Kane Miller, a Division of EDC Publishing – San Diego, USA

Main areas of interest:

  • Children's picture books
  • Children's fiction

Kira Lynn has been Editor and Publisher of Kane Miller Books, a division of EDC Publishing, since 2000. Publishing picture books and fiction, Kane Miller aims to bring children around the world closer to each other through the sharing of stories and ideas, and exploring cultural differences and similarities.

Kane Miller has published many titles by Australian authors, including Sally Rippin’s ‘Billie B. Brown’ series, James Phelan’s ‘The Last Thirteen’ series, Susanne Gervay’s ‘Jack’ books, Gabrielle Lord’s ‘Conspiracy 365’ series, Chris Morphew’s ‘The Phoenix Files’ series, Sally & Darrel Odgers’ ‘Jack Russell Dog Detective’ series, Janeen Brian’s ‘Dinosaur’ books, Margaret Hamilton’s ‘B is for Bedtime’, Mem Fox’s classic picture book ‘Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge’ and works by Margaret Wild, Briony Stewart, Helen Manos, Colin Thompson, and Nette Hilton.

Irena Mis Svoljsak

Irena Mis Svoljsak
Publishing Director
Miš založba – Dob, Slovenia

Main areas of interest:

  • Young adult
  • Middle-grade
  • Adult 

Irena Mis Svoljsak spent close to two decades in corporate marketing, writing the first Slovenian book on personal finances along with over a hundred articles for Slovenian business magazines. In 2003, Irena and her husband established Miš založba publishing, now one of the two most important Slovenian publishers for young readers. As publisher and chief editor, she has edited more than 250 titles and translated 11 titles from English to Slovenian. 

Miš založba aims to translate excellent books from countries, continents, and cultures whose literature is widely unknown to the Slovenian public. Of the 30-40 new titles released each year, 75% are works for young people, by both Slovenian and foreign authors. They translate recognised works from many countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, and Spain. 

Published works include those by Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson, Leonard Cohen, Witi Ihimaera, and John Boyne, as well as 66 Australian literary titles and 3 non-fiction titles from authors such as Patrick White, Ursula Dubosarsky, Christos Tsiolkas, Shaun Tan, Sonya Hartnett, Libby Gleeson, Richard Flanagan, Alex Miller, Sally Morgan, Terry Denton, Tim Winton, Di Morrissey, Kathy Lette, Melina Marchetta, and Paul Jennings. Miš založba have won many awards and prizes for their published titles, most recently best translated children's book in Slovenia for Shaun Tan's ‘Tales From Outer Suburbia’.

A member of the Executive Committee of the Slovenian branch of the International Board on Books for Young People, Irena frequently visits and speaks at international conferences. She is also the organiser for the Slovenian children’s literature festival (under UNESCO), which has more than 100 events and 7,500 attendees. In 2016, one of their guests will be Australian author Morris Gleitzman.

Ira Silverberg

 

Ira Silverberg
Senior Editor
Simon & Schuster – New York, USA

Main areas of interest:

  • Literary fiction, English language
  • Literary fiction, translation
  • Memoir 

Ira Silverberg recently joined Simon & Schuster as a Senior Editor, where he'll expand the company's program in Literary Fiction.  He has been an agent and Foreign Rights Director at both Donadio & Olson, and Sterling Lord Literistic; was the Editor-in-Chief at Grove Press; managed Serpent's Tail's US office where he published both original US titles and oversaw exports from the UK; and was Literature Director at the National Endowment for the Arts. Ira worked with Australian publishers Text and Scribe during his time as an agent. 

Among the writers he's either edited, published, or represented, are National Book Award nominees Adam Haslett, Rene Steinke and Christopher Sorrentino; Nobel Prize winners Elfriede Jelinek, Kenzaburo Oe, and Herta Muller; and New York Times bestsellers Ishmael Beah, Neil Strauss and Erica Kennedy.  He serves as Adjunct Faculty at the MFA Writing Program of Columbia University, and has served on the boards of the PEN American Center, BOMB Magazine, the US Committee of the Jerusalem International Book Fair, and the MFA Writing Program at The New School.  He received the 2013 Publishing Triange Leadership Award.

Berna Sirman

Berna Sirman
Publishing Coordinator, Children's & YA
Pegasus Publishing House – Beyoglu, Turkey

Main areas of interest:

  • Young adult
  • Children's
  • Adult
  • Non-fiction

Berna Sirman started working at Pegasus as an editor six years ago and became the coordinator of the Children’s and YA department in 2012, responsible for the editorial team and the translation program of their 80+ translators. They acquire the Turkish rights of almost 100 titles per year, publishing a similar amount.

Pegasus Publishing House is one of the leading publishers in Turkey, with a wide and diverse readership.  It publishes a range of genres such as crime novels, thrillers, politics, self-help, young adult, historical novel, romance, and biography.

The Children’s and YA portfolio includes the bestselling books of John Green, Gayle Forman, Rainbow Rowell, Rick Yancey, Sharon Creech, Jo Nesbo, Astrid Lindgren, picture books by Oliver Jeffries, and middle-grade titles like ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio, and ‘Flora and Ulysses’ by Kate DiCamillo.

Pegasus has many worldwide bestseller titles and authors in its portfolio, such as ‘The Maze Runner’ trilogy by James Dashner, the ‘Millenium’ series by Stieg Larsson, books by Jojo Moyes, and other novels which have inspired films, such as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and ‘One Day’.  Australian writers published include Graeme Simsion, M. L. Stedman, Christos Tsiolkas and Justine Larbalestier.

Berna has attended the Frankfurt, Bologna & London Book Fairs every year for the last 5 years. She also translated the #1 New York Times bestseller ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio, the book that she fell in love with from the moment they bought the rights.

Yuko Tanaka

Yuko Tanaka
Chief Editor, Foreign Book Department
Kawade Shobo Shinsha Ltd – Tokyo, Japan 

Main areas of interest:

  • Children's picture books
  • Fiction
  • Young adult fiction
  • English literature
  • General non-fiction

Yuko Tanaka started her career with Kawade in 1991 as part of the editorial staff of literary magazine, Bungei. In 1995 she became Editor of the Foreign Book department, taking on the role of Rights Manager in 2000. 

Kawade Shobo Shinsha is one of Japan’s leading publishers and cerebrates it's 130 year anniversary in 2016. 

Yuko regularly meets with Australian publishers at book fairs such as Frankfurt or Bologna and during market exploratory missions supported by the Australia Council with the Australian Embassy and Austrade. 

Bestselling titles from her list include ‘Pooh and the Philosophers’ by John T. Williams, ‘Man and Boy’ by Tony Parsons, ‘The Gashlycrumb Tinies’ by Edward Gorey and ‘The Princes Diaries’ series by Meg Cabot.

Yuko has acquired the rights to eight titles by Australian author Shaun Tan, and three titles by Australian author Sonya Hartnett.

Annette Weber

Annette Weber
Editorial Director, Fiction
DuMont Verlag – Cologne, Germany

Main areas of interest:

  • Literary fiction/ young voice
  • Women's fiction/ upmarket literary
  • Classics
  • Literary crime fiction/ crime fiction with a twist

Annette Weber started working with DuMont in March 2015. Her career in publishing spans over 25 years with stints in the editorial department at S.Fischer Verlag, FSG and Greenburger Agency (New York), and close to ten years as Editor and then Editorial Director with Droemer Knaur. 

Acquisitions for the DuMont list include Alice Adams, J.L. Carr, Yaa Gyasi, Jess Kidd, Helen Simonson and Delphine de Vigan, plus books by DuMont authors Hilary Mantel and Richard Russo. 

While at Droemer Knaur, Annette acquired Hannah Kent’s 'Burial Rites' in a two-book deal. Other published authors include Monica Ali, Kate Atkinson, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Dave Eggers (his first 2 books), Emma Hooper, Nedjma, Zadie Smith (her first 2 books), Ivo Stourton, Tan Twan Eng, Linn Ullmann and Xinran.

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