Penguin Random House has invested further in audiobooks with four key appointments designed to strengthen their audio team, broaden expertise and drive continued growth in the audio market.
The last twelve months have been particularly strong for the team, with highlights including Michael Sheen’s unforgettable narration for Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage; the launch of a unique 3D audiobook of James and the Giant Peach; and a nomination for ‘Imprint of the Year’ at The British Book Awards – a first for any audiobook publisher.
Next month Katie Bilboa will join Penguin Random House Audio in the role of Executive Producer, Audio Content. Katie is currently Production Manager and Producer at the Prison Radio Association and has won acclaim for her work with the multi award-winning radio station National Prison Radio (NPR) and global digital audio platform, Monocle 24.
During her tenure at the Prison Radio Association, the organisation went from strength to strength, winning the Third Sector Charity of the Year crown in 2016 and a string of Audio Production Awards for NPR. A survey supported by RAJAR in 2016 found that over 99% of prisoners are aware of NPR, with 76% listening regularly. Katie will begin her new role in May and will report into Richard Lennon, Editorial Director, Audio.
Also joining the team is Derek Withshire in the role of Marketing & Communications Executive. Derek has become well known across the UK literary scene and beyond for his work on the Mostly Lit podcast, alongside friends and co-hosts Alex Reads and Reckless Rai.
Building on his successful background in podcasting, Derek will manage the Penguin Podcast, an iTunes #1 and winner of a Silver Prize for ‘Best Review’ at the 2017 British Podcast Awards, with notable guests including Zadie Smith, Johnny Marr and Anthony Horowitz.
Derek will also play a key role in campaigns across the full Penguin Random House audiobook list as part of the UK’s only in-house audiobook marketing team, reporting to Helena Sheffield, Marketing & Communications Manager.
Alongside Katie and Derek, Editors Tom McWhirter and Jess Barnfield will augment a growing editorial team of audiobook experts, joining from Pearson and Ebury Publishing respectively. Tom will report to Samantha Halstead, Senior Commissioning Editor, Penguin, and Jess will report to Duncan Honeyman, Senior Commissioning Editor, Random House.
The Penguin Random House Audio team works in partnership with all eight publishing houses at Penguin Random House in the UK and lead the process from acquisition to casting and publication.
Continuing to work with the very best acting talent to create truly memorable audiobook experiences, the team recently announced that Benedict Cumberbatch will narrate Carlo Rovelli’s upcoming The Order of Time, which is set to be published on 26 April.
Speaking of the appointments, Hannah Telfer, Managing Director, Audiences & Audio said, “The Penguin Random House Audio team is notable for their creative expertise and united in their commitment to creating captivating audio experiences on behalf of our authors and their audiences. I’m delighted that in these four appointments we bolster this expertise still further.”
Looking forward to her new role, Katie Bilboa said: “There’s never been a more exciting time to be working in audio – and I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Penguin Random House. The podcast scene has exploded in recent years, and audiobooks have evolved from alternative book format to unique audio entertainment in their own right, with a rapidly growing audience. As listening habits evolve, I’m excited to explore how we can develop an audio original programme to compliment our audiobook offering – from podcasts to documentaries and beyond.”
Derek Withshire added: “I am overjoyed to be part of the Penguin Random House Audio team. With audiobooks and podcasting on the rise, I can’t think of a better place to be.”