Nick Wroe – Guardian Review email@example.com
Familiarise yourself with the paper so you are aware of any updates. Format changed 18 months ago when the paper went tabloid and they still get pitches for long defunct sections such as My Working Day
Review is largely made up of reviews and book features arranged by Liese Spencer and Charlotte Northedge. Options for coverage:
- Cover story
- The two essays at the back
There are also some regular slots:
- The Books That Made Me – Q&A
- Made In… – author talking about their childhood
- Further Reading – expert talks about 4 or 5 other books related to a breaking news story which offer good opportunity to get clued up on what is going on. Pitch as the news story breaks.
There is always one lead Book of the Week which can be fiction or non-fiction. Paul Laity handles non-fiction and Justine Jordan fiction.
They also have a monthly genre page – crime / sci fi /children/YA and poetry. Contact Nick for poetry and Justine for the others.
Paperbacks are usually a digest of a book review but they will commission reviews if the book was missed first time round.
On-line opportunities include Top 10s and first book interview which is good for debut authors
The podcast tends to focus on people in the news with books out and what they like. Sometimes there are themes, sometimes there are individual books. Sian Cain is the contact for on-line and the podcast but let her know if you’re pitching to other sections of the paper. It’s important that participants are comfortable speaking about their work.
Review works several months in advance. Catalogues are very useful and happy to meet up if there is time. Ideally at the office.
Tuesday / Wednesday are press days so best avoided for pitches. Email preferred over phone in first instance.
Alison Flood – Book News Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison reports to Sian Cain for the books section of the website. She works 9am-1pm every day so will usually only reply in the morning.
She covers prizes, big book deals, non-fiction with a news hook, trends in publishing and opinions from author. She will run before Review. News stories sometimes go in the paper (Sian will pitch at conference) but have a wide reach even if they just go on-line.
She’s happy to work with PDFs and use news stories pre-publication to build books
Fiction makes news stories if it has been a big deal or if there is an interesting backstory
She is the most commercial / genre reader on the Guardians book team
As she works part-time email is much better than meeting up
They are covering less book news stories these days but trying to do the ones they do cover better
In addition to book news for The Guardian Alison reviews crime for The Observer.
Rob Fearn – Features Editor, Guardian Weekend email@example.com
Rob is covering mat leave for Abigail Radnor. His editor is Ruth Lewy. He was previously on G2.
Weekend is the flagship glossy magazine which comes out on a Saturday
He is the primary book contact for any interviews, features or extracts. Particularly keen on memoir / reportage / voices we don’t already have on the paper
He’s looking for three features per week
The bar is quite high. Their method of judging a book is ‘would we feel jealous if we saw this author elsewhere’. Recent book coverage has included Invisible Women, a chilling book about climate change by David Wallace-Wells and a memoir by Kerry Hudson about growing up in poverty
They need at least 3-4 weeks notice, ideally more.
They go to press on a Friday for the following Saturday. Mondays and Fridays are not a good day to contact them and Rob doesn’t work Thursday so best day to contact Tuesday or Wednesday. PDFs are OK but they prefer printed proofs.
Generally don’t extract fiction and would only interview top tier (buzzy or famous) authors but never say never
Think creatively about features which fiction authors could write about eg memoir pieces NOT what inspired them to write or their experience of writing the book
A very big book has the potential to be extracted in Weekend followed by an interview in G2 and they also work with Today in Focus podcast who sometimes interview authors have appeared in Weekend. It’s run by a separate department. A good contact is Nicole Jackson. https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/todayinfocus
Happy to go through catalogues within the office. Finds it useful to be helped out with extractable chapters flagged or feature ideas sent with the pitch
Family is no longer a separate section but is absorbed into G2. The editor is still Steve Chamberlain but space very much curtailed. He is not interested in getting books on parenting and stressed that people should think beyond that – look upwards and sideways to other family relationships, with emotional content that isn’t just about unconditional love.
Staff levels have decreased over the last few years so anything you can do is helpful
Aida Edemarium – G2 (and award-winning author) firstname.lastname@example.org
Aida lives in Oxford and commissions on a Thursday and Friday.
G2 comes out four times a week with the main paper. It has relaunched in the last year so familiarise yourself with it
Content therefore needs to be different to the main paper – keen on upbeat / inspiring stories Human, first person stories with unexpected ways of looking at things e.g. expert showing a journalist all the bugs that live in his home or another one going mudlarking with an author; stories on how to live a good life without harming oneself or the planet; about how to make a difference: the Guardian’s mission is to use “clarity and imagination to build hope”.
Also always in the market for great writing and things that make you laugh … always looking for lateral and unexpected takes on things
Aida looks for possible excerpt / general feature ideas / interviews that work as features / secondary interviews. Goes through all catalogues / has overview of what’s coming out.
Things that will work for the more specialist pages with funnel them through to the right editors.
Also writes for Review and Long Reads
The G2 Interview – Very keen to have great interviews for this, flagship interview. The Guardian averages 155 million unique browsers per month online, and weekday coverage is actually where they get the highest volume of traffic. – contact Chris Godfrey
Dept: Wellbeing – two features plus: – ed. Elle Hunt
The One Change that Worked – ed. Sarah Phillips (G2 deputy editor)
Love & Sex – shared among editors
How We Met – this might work for some authors too
Dept: Style – eds. Scarlett Conlon, Leah Harper
plus The Look I Loved – especially stylish authors might like to do this!
Dept: Food – ed. Phil Daoust
Dept: Women – ed. Jenny Stevens
Film & Music — ed. Alex Needham, arts editor
Prefers physical catalogue and books to digital, sent to the office rather than home
Will attend showcases and launch parties
Favours email contact
Guardian Live aims to bring the Guardian (and Observer) to life with events ranging from 100 people (in the office) to 2K plus at the Barbican. Events are promoted on-line and via The Guardian Facebook page (currently standing at 8 million followers)
Events tend to be inspired by politics, film or books eg in recent years they have had Tony Blair, Billy Bragg and Arundhati Roy
Events can also take the form of panel discussions related to newsy books
They have a rolling programme of up to 100 events and have linked up with the Long Read in the Past
Best themes tend to be UK/US politics; environment; racism; feminism; social justice; fiction; Music
One to one interviews have to be big names
Unlikely to cover historical / biography or debut fiction
Happy to receive PDFs sent to both by email but prefer books if possible
Happy to go through catalogues over coffee at The Guardian
They have options to include a book in the ticket and Pages of Hackney are their official bookseller, all sales go through TCM
Let them know if there is an extract or interview in the paper – don’t assume they talk to each other! – the same goes for The Observer.
They book 2-3 months in advance.
Georgia Easteal – Guardian Masterclass Georgia.email@example.com
They are always looking to diversify tutors – like people with bold ideas who are charismatic communicators. Academics are very popular
Tutor fees are standardised but vary based on the length of the course (weekday evenings / 1-2 days / 5-6 weeks)
They are interested in all genres – journalism and creative writing (memoir and life writing, nonfiction, translation, novels, poetry, genre fiction), wellbeing, lifestyle and culture, digital and business skills.
They promote via email (210,000 weekly recipients), press, social and on-line.
Events are programmed months in advance. There’s a masterclass pitch booking form – go to end of masterclass page, download tutor pitch form from there and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Most classes run in London but they create bespoke classes for private clients across the UK and globally.
Tickets are on sale for at least 8 weeks before the event and are usually programmed months in advance