Hannah Telfer

Managing Director, VINTAGE

Being part of a team that works with an author to take their work from a manuscript to a beautifully designed book in a reader’s hands is utterly addictive. The creative reward that comes from working on a book that instantly lights up a bestseller chart, or one that builds word-of-mouth steadily over many years is, for me, irreplaceable.

Gabrielle Zevin’s global bestseller, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, is a wonderful recent Vintage example of a writer at the top of their game. The thrill of reading it overnight before we made our publishing offer to Gabrielle remains undiminished.  While The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono showed me that small actions can make the biggest difference, and the central character – Elzéard Bouffier – has stayed with me, quietly, ever since. For every book, the experience is unique.

I want to improve representation for communities under-represented in the creative industries. I grew up in the north-west of England: no one worked in publishing, and it was never presented as a career option. Now I work with Speakers for Schools and focus on school visits in the north-west of England with the goal of opening up the publishing industry to those who may not have access otherwise. I mentor with Creative Access and am the Penguin Random House UK Leadership Sponsor for Common Ground, the network for colleagues coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

I’ve worked in many roles at Penguin Random House UK and relish looking at publishing from different angles. Being MD of Vintage gives me the opportunity to draw all these experiences together and to work with committed, smart colleagues in the service of our authors and their readers.

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