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EDPR are an award-winning publishing, arts and entertainment PR agency. They won The British Book Awards 2018 Publicity Campaign of the Year for the fabulous The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (which was adored by our Editorial Expert Joanne Owen). They have also recently worked on Helen Lederer’s Comedy Women in Print prize, a very welcome addition to the book awards scene. Emma, the founder and Managing Director of EDPR has given us a real insight into her world, and we at LoveReading applaud her aims and ideals. I love the passion you can hear in Emma’s voice, and just to say that her fun book fact was a new one on me!
Tell us about ED Public Relations and how it came into being:
EDPR is a communications agency that specialises in books, publishing, arts and entertainment PR. I founded the company just shy of 10 years ago with the aim to develop a small, friendly agency that is both professional and personal and delivers bespoke, award-winning campaigns. Our clients include Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pan Macmillan and Hachette and independent publishers including Canongate, Belgravia Books, Walker and David Fickling Books. We also work on awards and events including the BBC National Short Story Award and Young Writers’ Award, Helen Lederer’s ‘Comedy Women in Print Prize’, the Society of Authors’ Awards and the Greenwich Book Festival.
We are passionate about inclusivity and bringing unheard voices and stories to new audiences and our recent campaigns include the British Book Award Campaign winning PR for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and work with the dynamic and constantly inspiring publisher, Knights Of. We work across all areas of fiction and non-fiction– from brand powerhouses like Lesley Pearse, Dorothy Koomson, Milly Johnson and Amanda Prowse; to contemporary bestsellers like Jess Kidd and Ruth Hogan to translated fiction authors like Antoine Laurain and to children’s legends like David McKee, Mal Peet and Michelle Paver. We are also passionate about non-fiction with Shona Abhyankar, the publicist behind the award-winning campaign for Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-In recently joining the team. Non-fiction highlights this year include work on Kate Clanchy’s ‘Some Kids I Taught and What they Taught Me’ (Picador) and the heart-rending forthcoming memoir from Lemn Sissay, 'My Name is Why' (Canongate).
What is your specific role?
As Managing Director and original founder of EDPR, I have seen the company grow from me at my kitchen table to a small but perfectly formed team of five including Bethan James, Annabelle Wright, Megan Denholm and Shona Abhyankar: all are incredibly hard-working and passionate about what they do.
One of my original aims on setting up EDPR was to ensure a bespoke and personal approach and it’s vital to me that, alongside managing the company and team, that I still create campaigns and work with the authors I love. Strong relationships – whether with authors, clients or media – are the key to success in this career and I have had the privilege of working with many authors, publishers, publicists and journalists for more than 20 years.
What three words best sum up your job?
Inspiring, fulfilling, tiring!
When it comes to your job, what makes your heart beat faster?
Securing that killer piece of coverage that really makes a difference to a campaign and bringing books to young people who have never seen themselves represented in fiction before.
Have you seen any particular trends or changes in the book world over the last few years?
Thankfully, publishers have started to recognise that there are vast audiences that have been ignored by traditional publishing so there is greater diversity in the voices we are seeing represented and there seems to be greater investment in bringing books into new communities. I would love to see that celebration of diversity extend to the way commercial fiction is valued– we have a plethora of incredibly talented, bestselling commercial writers who still don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Who are your book world inspirations?
I’m constantly inspired by talented publicists in the publishing industry but particular inspirations are Steven Williams and Tony Mulliken, founders of Midas PR for their kindness, generosity and the freedom they gave me during my 15 years at the company and Aimee Felone and David Stevens of Knights Of because they don’t just ‘talk the talk’, they really make things happen.
Describe your favourite place to read:
In the bath or curled up on my new bright pink sofa overlooking my garden – bliss!
What’s your favourite book from childhood, how did it make you feel?
I don’t think I can pick just one book from childhood – I fell in love with reading before I started school – but adventure stories were my favourite with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books, my earliest memory closely followed by anything by Daphne du Maurier. I loved the wildness and romance of the Cornish landscapes and that sense of haunting mystery.
Hbk, pbk, ebook, discuss:
I love a hardback to look at, but a paperback is always much easier to handle and a definite ‘no’ to eBook for me – I love the smell and feel of a physical book – the emotional connection is always so much greater.
Any strange book habits?
Am not sure this is strange but I always insert postcards, napkins and mementoes into books read on holiday so I can look back in years to come and remember exactly where I was, and the experiences I had, while reading that book. Even sun-cream stains on a book bring back memories.
Fun book fact:
One of my all-time favourite novels is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I named my eldest daughter, Daisy - but the novel went by many different names before its eventual title was selected including Trimalchio; Trimalchio in West Egg; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; and The High-Bouncing Lover. There is also a printing of an early version of the book in existence under the alternate title, "Trimalchio in West Egg."
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