Venetia Butterfield

Managing Director, Cornerstone

I’ve been at Penguin since 2007 and felt that I’d finally arrived where I was meant to be. I’ve worked in publicity, marketing, published paperbacks and commissioned fiction, history, neuro-science, psychology, health, politics, memoir, psychotherapy, business and pop science. I love my job, there is very rarely a day when I don’t wake up and feel excited by what I do and deeply grateful. I passionately believe that books are a great force for good in the world; telling stories and reading stories is age-old - it’s how we learn, understand each other, dream and live a thousand lives.  I love working with a terrific team of people and see our work as a service to readers and authors – a kind of match-making service! I learn anew every day and am deeply grateful to authors who are prepared to sit and write – it is not an easy way to make a living.

A book that's left a deep impression on meGiovanni’s Room by James Baldwin – one of the world’s great love stories that does what all great novels do – transports us into the skin of another.  Every time I read it I am struck by the universality of desire and unrequited love.

My literary hero: Lucy Barton (well really Elizabeth Strout). She can’t write a bad word, she’s funny, wise, modest and the most fantastic human being.

A book I'd recommend to everyone:  The book everyone should read on the cusp of adulthood and then again every 10 years. M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled. It has one of the all-time wisest first lines – ‘Life is Difficult.’

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