Joel Rickett

Managing Director, Ebury Publishing

I look after Ebury, the non-fiction publisher at Penguin Random House. Though I love to dive into a good novel, for me the most powerful and gripping stories are often true ones. I started my career in journalism and gravitated towards arts coverage – so my move into publishing felt like coming home. I get the biggest buzz from taking an idea – whether from an author or our own team – and helping build it into something that reaches people around the world.

A book that’s left a deep impression on me: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It showed me that to live more fully and happily, I had to face up to the difficult stuff, to put myself on the line.

My literary hero is: A photo finish between Pip (Great Expectations) and Lisbeth Salander (Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series). Pip is resilient and ultimately good, despite wrong turns. Lisbeth is whip-smart, darkly twisted and terrifyingly effective. She fights the good fight without fear or favour.

A book I’d recommend to everyone: The book I’ve probably pressed on most people is Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I love falling into his awe-inspiring mythical world. The opening line – ‘Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening Hall...’ – never fails to take the breath away.

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