Search magnifier
Book Your Open Day

Calls for budding writers to attend publishing panel

Publishing panel 1

BUDDING authors curious about writing a best-seller or how a book makes its way into print are being urged to attend the University of Chichester’s publishing panel next week.

The annual event by the department of English and Creative Writing returns on Wednesday 18 April to lift the veil on the often-misunderstood world of publishing. Editors and agents from leading agencies and publishers will gather  to answer questions from 6:30pm in Cloisters Chamber, Bishop Otter campus, Chichester, PO19 6PE.

The event has launched a number of successful writing careers including that of University Associate Lecturer Gabrielle Kimm who is currently completing her fourth novel, thanks to connections forged at the event.

The panel will be hosted by English and Creative Writing Senior Lecturer Karen Stevens and is free to enter for all students, staff, and members of the public. It will open with a panel discussion, led by Karen, and then open out into a public question and answer session.

This year’s line-up features Kate Shaw, literary agent/director at Viney Shaw Agency, Richard Pike, agent at Conville & Walsh, Jemima Forrester, agent at David Higham agency, Claire Hey, publishing director at Orion Fiction, and Simon Mason, managing director at David Fickling Books.

Simon Mason edited Philip Pullman’s Daemon Voices: Essays on Writing, which was published in 2017 by David Fickling Books. He has worked for OUP, Thames and Hudson, ABC-CLIO, Greenwood, and Random House, while simultaneously pursuing a writing career, and is the author of three novels for adults, five novels for younger readers, and a work of non-fiction, The Rough Guide to Classic Novels.

Kate Shaw represents the University of Chichester’s Royal Literary Fund Fellow, novelist Isabel Ashdown. She said she is “always looking for brilliant new voices in fiction, particularly books that make me laugh, cry or fearful, whilst also provoking thought and empathy. I like non-fiction about current affairs, investigative journalism, and miscarriages of justice.”

Richard Pike is looking to build his current client list in both fiction and non-fiction, and said his fiction tastes are fairly broad, “from traditional thrillers to original stories involving science fiction or fantasy”. He describes his wish-list as including 'plot-driven novels,' and says he “is not one to send your meandering tales to”.

Publishing panel 2

Jemima Forrester is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction, including crime and thrillers, psychological suspense, accessible literary fiction, women’s fiction and speculative/high-concept novels. She said she “loves distinctive narrative voices, well-paced, intriguing plots and characters that leap off the page”.

Jemima’s favourite books of recent years include Elizabeth is Missing, Disclaimer, Life After Life, The Night Circus, Me Before You and anything by Jo Nesbø, Margaret Atwood or Curtis Sittenfeld. In non-fiction, she is looking for innovative cookery, popular-culture and lifestyle projects, unique personal stories and humour.

Claire Hey, publishing director at Orion Fiction, acquires women’s fiction and commercial-literary crossover fiction. She spearhead her imprint’s publishing strategy, and has worked with authors such as Santa Montefiore, Rachel Hore, Milly Johnson and Jane Costello, as well as bringing new talent such as Lucy Ribchester, Sophia Tobin, Iona Grey and Andy Jones to the list. Her list spans women's fiction and historical fiction, reading group fiction and award-winning fiction.

To find out more about the publishing panel contact Karen Stevens at or visit