Preena Gadher

I’m the MD of Penguin General, publishing compelling and inclusive fiction and non-fiction across the spectrum. Our imprints are: Viking, Hamish Hamilton, Fig Tree, Penguin Life, Penguin Business, and Sandycove.

I took a slightly circuitous route to my role. I started my career as the work experience at Penguin Press in 2003, hoping to be given a break into the industry. Lucky for me, I landed the Publicity Assistant role and stayed in the publicity team for almost 6 years before I left to co-found and manage a culture and entertainment PR agency in my twenties. Communications and culture - in its broadest sense (TV, films, music, theatre, entertainment brands as well as books) - have been two of my biggest passions. But launching a start-up and growing it ignited a love for business and entrepreneurship.

A book that’s a left a deep impression on me

Dreams From My Father - Barack Obama. Like many people, I read this during Obama’s presidential election campaign and remember being stunned at how terrific a writer this politician was. His poignant reflections on race, identity and belonging struck a chord and at the time, gave me hope that maybe the world could be a better place with someone of his intellect and gift for communication in charge.

My literary hero

Beatrice - Much A Do About Nothing. As an impressionable teenager I went to see a Cheek by Jowl production in London - one of my very first visits to the theatre. Set in the 1920s, Beatrice was a cigar-smoking, fast-talking firecracker of a female character and that production transformed my perception of Shakespeare and sparked a love for theatre in general.

Book I’d recommend to everyone

Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari. This is a history of humankind told through the intellectual acrobatics of a phenomenally gifted thinker. I was fortunate to be the publicist on this book during my time running a PR agency, and as soon as I read the first page of the manuscript, I knew it was incredibly special.

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