Visiting International Publishers Biographies 2018

Valeria Betrgalli Cozzi

Valeria Bergalli Cozzi 

Publisher and Editor – editorial minúscula  

Barcelona, SPAIN

Main areas of interest:

  • Shorter literary forms
  • Classics, fiction and non-fiction
  • Contemporary fiction and literary non-fiction

Valeria was born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and was raised in Italy and Germany. Originally trained as a social anthropologist, and specialising in Urban Anthropology, in 1999 she left the field of research to set up editorial minúscula, an independent publishing house. As both a publisher and an editor, her aim is to encourage a wide readership (both Spanish-Castilian and Catalan) to discover classics, contemporary fiction and literary non-fiction from around the world, and little known works of great authors.

Authors she has published include Pierre Bergounioux, Emmanuel Bove, Jennifer Egan, Ludwig Hohl, Shirley Jackson, Hans Keilson, Gerald Murnane, Irmgard Keun, Victor Klemperer, Marisa Madieri (both titles translated by Valeria), Dacia Maraini, Anna Maria Ortese, Pascal Quignard, Joseph Roth, Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Varlam Shalámov, Giani Stuparich, and S. Yizhar.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘Pedro Páramo’ by Juan Rulfo, ‘The Passion According to G.H.’ (the original Portuguese title is ‘A Paixão segundo G.H.’) by Clarice Lispector, and the ‘Into their labours’ series by John Berger that includes ‘Pig Earth’, ‘Once In Europa’ and ‘Lilac and Flag’.

Martin Breitfeld 

Editorial Director – Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch

Cologne, GERMANY 

Main areas of interest:

  • Crime
  • Commercial and literary fiction
  • Commercial and literary non-fiction

After graduating from Cologne University, Martin went to Canada to teach at Université de Montréal. Back in Germany, he turned to publishing and began as an editorial assistant for fiction at C.H. Beck in Munich before becoming a non-fiction editor at Herder Verlag in Freiburg. In 2007 he moved back to Cologne to join Kiepenheuer & Witsch (KiWi), where he served as Senior Editor for a number of years, before being appointed as Editorial Director in January 2018.

KiWi is home to international authors such as Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Don De Lillo, E.L. Doctorow, Bret Easton Ellis, Miranda July, John Banville, Zadie Smith, and Nick Hornby, as well as German writers such as Christian Kracht, Uwe Timm, and Norman Ohler (Blitzed). Martin publishes both international and local writers; some of his German authors have been translated widely (‘The Panama Papers’ by Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier, and ‘A Crime in the Family’ by Sacha Batthyany).

Traditionally KiWi has focused on the US and UK when it comes to international fiction and non-fiction, but they are now looking to broaden their horizons and publish authors from a wide range of countries and backgrounds, including migrant and Indigenous authors. KiWi currently has two Australian authors on their list (Helen Fitzgerald, who lives in Scotland, and Jon Bauer, who immigrated to Australia from the UK).

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen, ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ by Jennifer Egan, ‘In Xanadu: A Quest’ by William Dalrymple.

Arpita DasArpita Das 

Publisher and Co-Founder – Yoda Press 

New Delhi, INDIA 

Main areas of interest:

  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction

Arpita began her career in publishing in 1998 as a copy-editor with HarperCollins Publishers India. She then worked with Sage Publications and Oxford University Press, and ran an independent bookstore called Yodakin in South Delhi from 2009 to 2013. She founded Yoda Press in 2004.

Yoda Press draws attention to topics not given space within the mainstream in India. It specialises in areas such as sexuality and gender, popular culture, and political comment, and publishes in genres such as creative non-fiction and essays. In 2016, Yoda Press won the Publisher of the Year Award at the prestigious Publishing Next event in India.

Arpita has published award-winning and well-known authors such as Thomas Trautmann, Ranjit Hoskote, Ilija Trojanow, Saleem Kidwai, Ruth Vanita, Gautam Bhan, Veena Venugopal, Kaiwan Mehta, Harsh Mander, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Orijit Sen, Mukulika Banerjee, Rahul Roy, and Syed Afzal Ahmed.

Yoda Press has worked with Australian publishers several times, co-publishing ‘Tramjatra’, a collection of essays edited by Mick Douglas with RMIT University Press; publishing an Indian edition of the Australian Scholarly Press (ASP) title ‘Joan in India’ by Suzanne Falkiner, (with ASP publishing the Australian edition of Thomas Trautmann's ‘Aryans and British India’); and publishing Australian author John Burbidge's memoir ‘The Boatman’ in India. Arpita has also met Australian publishers through the Australia Council’s Literature Exploratories to India.

Arpita also regularly writes on books, publishing, popular culture, and gender, for a number of periodicals and digital platforms in India. Since 2016, she has curated the book-related initiatives at the Mumbai Film Festival and has started a writing festival focused on city writings in Bangalore.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘A Room of One's Own’ by Virginia Woolf, ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by W.G. Sebald, and ‘Nothing to Be Frightened Of’ by Julian Barnes.

Linda Kaplan

Linda Kaplan 

Translation Rights Agent – Kaplan/DeFiore Rights, and DeFiore & Company Literary Management

Montclair, New Jersey, USA 

Main areas of interest:

  • Literary and commercial fiction
  • Memoir
  • Non-fiction: business, history, science, cooking, craft, spirituality and self-help

Linda has been a rights professional for more than 30 years at companies including Random House US, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Simon & Schuster US, Disney Publishing Worldwide, and was most recently Vice President, Director of Rights at the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House US. She currently licenses translation rights for English-language book projects.

Linda has sold British, translation, and domestic rights across all categories including business, memoir, history, science, cooking, craft, spirituality, and self-help as well as literary and commercial fiction. She has negotiated rights licenses on behalf of authors such as Gillian Flynn, Martha Stewart, Tim Ferriss, Deepak Chopra, Jillian Michaels, Nick Vujicic, and US Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, among others.

Linda’s company, Kaplan/DeFiore Rights, offers publishers and literary agents full-service international licensing solutions, including early proposal/manuscript reports, solicitation and negotiation of contracts, tax forms and financial analysis of royalty statements. A regular presence at the London, Bologna and Frankfurt Book Fairs, Linda works closely with publishers, scouts and sub-agents to get the best offers with the best publishers. Affirm Press is one of her clients.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘Personal History’ by Katherine Graham, ‘Great Plains’ by Ian Frazier, and ‘Big Little Lies’ by Liane Moriarty.

Benedicte Lombardo

Bénédicte Lombardo 

Senior Acquisitions Editor – Michel Lafon Publishing

Saint Mammes, FRANCE 

Main areas of interest:

  • Commercial and upmarket fiction
  • Commercial and upmarket non-fiction
  • Young Adult fiction

Bénédicte was born in Cannes, and after studying Spanish and philosophy in Nice, she graduated in publishing and communication in Paris. After six months in Denmark at the end of her studies, she joined Editions Joëlle Losfeld, an independent literary publisher specialising in French and foreign fiction, where she was editor for eight years. In 2003 she moved to Univers Poche where she worked for 11 years as editorial director for the SFF imprints for both Fleuve Noir (trade) and Pocket (mass market paperback). She also created a general Young Adult imprint, Territoires. She briefly worked with a TV Producer as commissioning editor, and eventually joined Michel Lafon Publishing in 2014.

At Michel Lafon Publishing she is the Senior Acquisitions Editor for both adult and children's fiction,

acquiring mostly foreign fiction – from commercial fiction titles (Kristin Hannah, Delia Ephron) to thrillers (Riley Sager). She also edits French non-fiction titles.

Bénédicte is eager to promote commercial and upmarket fiction from different countries and cultures in the adult and children’s fields, and has read Australian fiction for as long as she can remember. She has recently published a thriller trilogy by Australian author Candice Fox (‘Hades’, ‘Eden’ and ‘Fall’).

 Which books do you wish you had published?

‘1984’ by George Orwell, ‘Sylvia’ by Howard Fast, and ‘Les Liaisons dangereuses’ (Dangerous Liaisons) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

Kirsty Melville

Kirsty Melville 

President and Publisher – Andrews McMeel Publishing

Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Main areas of interest:

  • Poetry and Young Adult
  • Contemporary, relevant and creative voices
  • Comic storytelling

Founding publisher of Simon & Schuster Australia, Kirsty Melville moved to the US in 1994 as Vice-President and Publisher for Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, California, and led in its transformation from a niche publishing company into an internationally recognized, award-winning publisher. She departed Ten Speed to work as Publisher for San Francisco’s University Games, was appointed Publisher and Executive Vice-President of Andrews McMeel Publishing in 2005, and was named President and Publisher in 2009.

Known for best-selling humour, poetry, inspiration, entertainment and children's books, Andrews McMeel is home to an extraordinary and vibrant selection of writers, artists, poets and comic storytellers. Under Kirsty’s leadership, Andrews McMeel has discovered and nurtured many unique and powerful voices of our times, including #1 New York Times bestselling poet Rupi Kaur, author of ‘Milk and Honey’ and ‘The Sun and Her Flowers’. She has published many bestselling authors including Lang Leav, Amanda Lovelace, Sarah Andersen, Matthew Inman, and Lincoln Peirce.  Most recently she has published Australian poets Courtney Peppernell, Beau Taplin and Gemma Troy.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘The Hare with Amber Eyes’ by Edmund de Waal, ‘The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin, and ‘What Is the What’ by Dave Eggers.

Julie Paludan-Muller

Julie Paludan-Müller 

Senior Editor – Gyldendal

Copenhagen, DENMARK

Main areas of interest:

  • Literary fiction
  • Upmarket commercial fiction
  • Crime fiction
  • Classics

Julie started her career in publishing in 2005. She has worked for People's Press, which is a very commercial house and especially strong in non-fiction, and for Rosinante, a smaller high quality publisher, before moving to Gyldendal in 2014. She is on the committee of the Danish book fair, BogForum, and has attended several fellowships abroad including the Paris Fellowship in 2013, the Guadalajara Fellowship in Mexico in 2013, and most recently the Jerusalem Fellowship in 2015.

Founded in 1770, Gyldendal is one of the world's oldest publishers. They are independent and the largest publishing house in Denmark with an exquisite literary list and a growing list of crime and commercial fiction. Gyldendal has published 52 Nobel Prize winners and publish around 100 new fiction titles every year, 40 of them in translation.

Julie publishes translated literature, including literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction and crime fiction, and is responsible for the Gyldendal backlist and classics program. She also directs a small list of ‘rediscovered classics’. Julie has acquired authors as diverse as British crime writer Paula Hawkins, Korean author Han Kang, and New Zealand/US ‘rediscovery’ Chris Kraus for Gyldendal.

Most of Gyldendal's translated fiction is from the US, UK or Scandinavia, and one of Julie’s main tasks is to renew their translated list and bring in new voices from around the world. Very few Australian authors are published in Denmark, and Julie is eager to learn more about contemporary Australian fiction.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘My Brilliant Friend’ by Elena Ferrante, ‘To the Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf, and ‘The Notebook’ by Ágota Kristóf.

Sabrina Verbeek

Sabrina Verbeek 

Acquiring Editor Fiction – De Fontein 


Main areas of interest:

  • Commercial & upmarket fiction
  • Commercial & upmarket crime/thrillers
  • Narrative non-fiction

After obtaining an MA in English literature and attending an MA program in publishing, Sabrina Verbeek began her publishing career at Unieboek in 2007. She became general editor at the then start-up commercial/upmarket list of Mistral in 2008, before moving on to De Fontein in 2011 where she works on their ‘fiction and thrillers’ list. 

De Fontein was founded in 1949 and since then has developed a solid reputation for publishing quality fiction and non-fiction; with around 35-45 new titles each year. (They also have a children’s list). The main focus is on translated fiction, with around 90% of titles being translated, roughly 75% of which are from the English language.
At De Fontein, Sabrina has had the pleasure of working on a range of authors and works, including contemporary fiction by authors such as Jojo Moyes, Liane Moriarty, and Nicola Moriarty; suspense and thrillers by such authors as Karen Rose, Andrew Gross and Clare Mackintosh; historical novels by CJ Sansom and Sophie Green, among others; and wide-ranging narrative non-fiction covering a variety of subjects.

Australian authors she has acquired include Sarah Armstrong, J.D. Barrett, Jaye Ford, Kimberley Freeman, Sophie Green, Debra Oswald, Tamara McKinley, Liane Moriarty, Nicola Moriarty, Katherine Scholes, and Kate Veitch. While De Fontein traditionally focuses on the US and UK markets, Sabrina hopes to gain a better understanding of Australian publishing, especially the smaller houses that are not (sub) represented in the Netherlands.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘A Woman of Substance’ by Barbara Taylor Bradford. I was about 12 or 13 when I got my hands on a copy and it was the first time I realised ‘grown-ups’ read other things besides whodunits and spy thrillers – and so I started exploring genres. Never stopped.

‘Maus’ by Art Spiegelman. This book proved more than any other I have read since, that sometimes form makes all the difference in getting your message across.

‘Dungeons & Dragons’ by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Yes, I am a nerd and proud of it. But to me, this also shows that books and stories are, and always will be, at the heart of a whole host of other entertainments. Scratch the surface, and you will always find a book…

Linda Vogt

Linda Vogt 

Acquisition Editor for Fiction – Ullstein Buchverlage


Main areas of interest:

  • Literature and upmarket commercial women´s fiction

Linda received her M.A. from Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, in 2009 after studying abroad at Jagiellonian-University in Krakow. Having been an assistant to the manager of a second-hand bookshop for three years, she completed a traineeship at a small publishing house in Berlin, where she was subsequently employed as an editor. In 2012 Linda began working at ‘Die Andere Bibliothek’, a highly literary publishing house in Berlin, and since 2016 has been an editor at ‘Ullstein Buchverlage’ most recently working with authors from Germany, the UK, and the US.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘Ladys’, the debut from a talented young German author, Jenifer Becker; ‘You Know You Want This’, a great story collection from Kristen Roupenian; and ‘Manhattan Beach’ by the always impressive Jennifer Egan.

Daniella Wexler

Daniella Wexler 

Editor – Atria Books, Simon & Schuster US

New York, USA

Main areas of interest:

  • Literary and upmarket fiction (younger novelists with potential)
  • Narrative nonfiction (memoir, social issues, popular culture)
  • Pop culture and humour

Daniella joined Atria Books in 2011, after growing up in Los Angeles, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and moving to New York to begin a career in publishing. Based on the strength of her authors and acquisitions, including rising stars Matt Gallagher, Jess Kidd, Sofija Stefanovic, Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Dana Czapnik, Soraya Chemaly, and Gaby Dunn, she was promoted to editor in May 2016. In her role at Atria, she acquires and edits literary fiction (younger novelists with the potential to win prizes and sell well) and narrative nonfiction (memoir, social issues, popular culture). The thematic strands that unite many of her books are feminism, dark humour, and social justice; and she is drawn to dark, offbeat stories, new ideas, distinct voices, memorable characters, humor and suspense.

Atria publishes many Australian authors including Kate Morton, Stephanie Bishop, Ashley Hay, Alexis Wright, Georgia Clark, Favel Parrett, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Kirsten Tranter, and Thomas Keneally (whom she has worked with personally for a long time). In April 2018 Daniella will publish a coming-of-age memoir called ‘Miss Ex-Yugoslavia’ by Australian writer Sofija Stefanovic, alongside Cate Blake at Penguin Random House Australia. Daniella is also working with Australian former publisher Bernadette Thomas on a memoir about her son Richard, who has Down's Syndrome.

Simon & Schuster Australia publishes Daniella’s author, Matt Gallagher, who wrote the critically acclaimed Iraq War novel, ‘Youngblood’, and will also publish Soraya Chemaly's ‘Rage Becomes Her’ alongside Simon & Schuster US in the northern autumn of 2018. Other international authors Daniella publishes include Anuradha Bhagwati, Christine Carbo, Nicole Baart, and Stef Willen.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘Everything I've Never Told You’ by Celeste Ng, ‘Nobody is Ever Missing’ by Catherine Lacey, and

‘All Who Go Do Not Return’ by Shulem Deen.

Janie Yoon

Janie Yoon 

Editorial Director – House of Anansi Press 

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Main areas of interest:

  • Fiction and non-fiction, in particular Indigenous authors and their works

Janie is the Editorial Director at House of Anansi Press, Canada’s largest and most prestigious independent publishing company. She acquires international titles across all categories, specialising in literary fiction and general non-fiction, including current events, big ideas, science, politics, biography, memoir, and history.

Her recent acquisitions include ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ by Australian author Holly Ringland, ‘Sleepless Night’ by Dutch author Margriet de Moor, ‘When the Doves Disappeared’ and ‘Norma’ by Finnish author Sofi Oksanen, ‘The Accusation’ by North Korean author Bandi, and ‘Fire Sermon’ by US author Jamie Quatro. She has also worked with Canadian authors such as Patrick deWitt, Kathleen Winter, Douglas Coupland, Adam Gopnik, Margaret MacMillan, and Lawrence Hill, as well as Indigenous authors Tanya Talaga, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and Harold Johnson.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead, ‘The Slap’ by Christos Tsiolkas, and ‘The Neapolitan Novels’ by Elena Ferrante that include ‘My Brilliant Friend’, ‘The Story of a New Name’, ‘Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay’, and ‘The Story of the Lost Child’.

Sylvie Zannier-Betts

Sylvie Zannier-Betts 

Founder and Literary Scout – Sylvie Zannier Literary Scouting 

Oxford, UK

Main area of interest:

  • Fiction (literary and commercial)
  • Non-fiction (narrative non-fiction, memoirs, history, popular science, popular philosophy, nature writing, current affairs, politics)
  • Children's and Young Adult

After training as a historian in France, specialising in international relations, Sylvie began her publishing career in Germany when she was given the opportunity to work at an independent literary publishing house in Frankfurt (Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, owned at the time by the current publishers of Schoeffling & Co). There she was mainly responsible for selling translation rights from German authors to foreign publishers as well as helping acquire German rights to foreign authors’ titles.

Fresh from this experience and keen to start a career in France after three years in Germany, she joined the foreign rights team at Editions Gallimard, where she stayed for four years before relocating to the US for another three years. Sylvie then moved to the UK and officially started her literary scouting agency in 2002, first with a Dutch publisher (De Geus Uitgeverij, now part of the Singel group) and gradually taking on more international clients.

Sylvie scouts English-language books from the UK and Commonwealth countries, and currently works for imprints in six different countries (S.Fischer Verlag in Germany; Garzanti Libri, Corbaccio Libri, and Bollati Boringhieri Editore in Italy; Ediciones Salamandra in Spain; Editions Stock in France; Alfabeta Bokförlag, and Ordfront Förlag in Sweden; and Gummerus Kustannusin Finland), as well as advising an English-Australian film and TV production company.

Some of her clients have been very successful in publishing Australian authors; names such as Peter Carey, Jane Harper, Tim Flannery, Graeme Simsion, Lloyd Jones, Vikki Wakefield, Andy Griffiths, Christos Tsiolkas, among others.

Which books do you wish you had published?

‘The Master’ by Colm Tóibín, ‘The Return’ by Hisham Matar, and ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen MacDonald.

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