A look back at 2017: October to December

As we start the New Year, we're taking one final look back at 2017. It was a big year for Penguin Random House UK, full of award successes, brilliant titles, and unforgettable campaigns, and the final three months were no different.

Read about January to March, April to June, and July to September. Skip forward to October... November... December.

October: New reads and Read North East

The National Literacy Trust launched Read North East to the public in October. The campaign aims to raise the region’s literacy levels, which are among the lowest in the country, by encouraging parents to talk and read to their babies and children every day. At Penguin Random House UK, we are proud to support the campaign, which is also supported by the Education Endowment Foundation and Greggs PLC together with local schools, libraries and arts organisations.

So far we have donated over 3,000 books to families across the region. Books have been given away at intu Metrocentre, the Riverside Stadium, home to Middlesbrough FC, and the Stockton Sparkles Christmas lights switch on, along with activity sheets and family reading tips. In 2018, more books will be gifted to the children and families who need them the most, with events and initiatives taking place in different towns and cities throughout the year.





Vintage revealed that Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens (2014) and Homo Deus (2016), will return in August 2018 with a new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century In bringing his focus to the here and now, Harari will help us to grapple with a world that is increasingly hard to comprehend, encouraging us to focus our minds on the essential questions we should be asking ourselves today. Employing his trademark entertaining and lucid style, Harari will examine some of the world’s most urgent issues, including terrorism, fake news and immigration, as well as turning to more individual concerns, from resilience and humility to meditation. The Vintage editions of Sapiens have now sold 1.2 million copies worldwide in all formats. Homo Deus has sold 550,000 copies and counting…

5 things you need to know about 21 lessons for the 21st century



November: Working to make publishing more accessible

In November we launched an exciting new company initiative, ‘Home Sweet Loan’ to support employees with the cost of a deposit of a rental property. Eligible to all our employees, including new joiners, this new benefit offers an interest-free loan to help employees pay their rental deposit when moving into a privately rented home.

The scheme complements other initiatives from Penguin Random House UK designed to reduce barriers to entry into the publishing industry and attract more talent from diverse backgrounds and low income households. This includes removing the requirement for a university degreetransforming our work experience placement programme, and proactively reaching out to candidates who might not have previously considered publishing as a career through our #JobHack workshops.

On Sunday 26 November British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honoured  Dame Jacqueline Wilson with the Special Award at this year's British Academy Children's Awards for her many literary creations that have gone on to become BAFTA-winning and nominated screen adaptations. One of Britain’s most popular children’s authors, Jacqueline’s work plays a huge role in introducing the nation’s children to the joys of reading. Many of Wilson’s literary creations have gone on to become BAFTA-winning and nominated screen adaptations and the Special Award recognises Wilson’s outstanding contribution in this area.

Hetty Feather

Dustbin Baby

The Illustrated Mum

The Story of Tracy Beaker



La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua...

find out more at penguin.co.uk

The Power by Naomi Alderman

What if the power to hurt were in women's hands? Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.

find out more at penguin.co.uk


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

This book is a true celebration of the heroines who definitely don't need rescuing. Through the beautifully-illustrated stories of 100 heroic women - from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams to Malala - it succeeds in redressing the lack of female role models in children's literature, in collaboration with sixty phenomenal female artists.

find out more at foyles.co.uk




November also marked the first WriteNow acquisition, as Transworld snapped up two novels from 2016 mentee Charlene Allcott. Her debut novel, currently titled The List, is a raw, honest and hilarious re-coming of age story about call-centre worker Martha, who must come to terms with the breakdown of her marriage and get her life back on track. It will be published in summer 2018 with a second novel coming out the following year.


December: WriteNow and Rebel Girls

The WriteNow acquisitions continued into December as Penguin General signed the insightful debut novel Music Love Drugs War from WriteNow mentee Geraldine Quigley. The novel tells the story of a group of teenagers and their families in Derry in 1981. The friends' interests are music, love, drink and drugs (probably in that order) but some of them will become increasingly consumed by the ongoing war going on around them. The novel will be published in Spring 2019.

In the same month, the eleven mentees from the WriteNow 2017 programme were announced. Over the next twelve months each writer will work closely with a Penguin Random House editor with expertise in their genre in order to develop their manuscript and get it ready for publication.

discover more about WriteNow

It was also announced that there are to be eight Penguin Random House books for World Book Night 2018 amongst an eclectic range of titles from a variety of publishers. Our titles include Emma Healey's bestseller Elizabeth is Missing, Susan Hill's classic ghost story The Woman in Black and Kit de Waal's My Name is Leon.

learn more about World Book Night

And finally, towards the end of December a group of London children attended a workshop with Elena Favilli, co-author of bestselling book Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, where they were encouraged to talk and write about some of the inspirational women they look up to in their own lives.

Seventeen children from Year 5 at St John the Baptist Primary School in Hackney visited the Ministry of Stories for the special one-off workshop. Elena introduced the children to some of the extraordinary tales from the book and also spoke about why she and her co-author Francesca Cavallo felt it was so important to bring these stories to life. The workshop was filmed by Channel 4 News and broadcast on their programme that night.

When one of the boys was asked "How does it make you feel as a boy to read a book about girls and women?", he replied:

I feel kind of happy and kind of sad. I feel happy because there's a book full of girls instead of boys, but I feel sad because I don't know most of these characters. I mostly know famous men instead of women."



Read more

  • WriteNow City Literary Guide: London

    To celebrate WriteNow Live coming to Nottingham, London and Liverpool we've been looking into the iconic literary past of these 3 cities. As the UK’s capital city, it’s not surprising that many well-known writers decided to live there or were inspired to pen their stories and verse on the diverse, bustling streets surrounding the Thames.
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  • WriteNow City Literary Guide: Nottingham

    To celebrate WriteNow Live coming to Nottingham, London and Liverpool we've been looking into the iconic literary past of these 3 cities. Home to folklore, scandalous stories and romantic poetry, this UNESCO City of Literature's literary history is much more than its famous outlaw Robin Hood.
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  • WriteNow City Literary Guide: Liverpool

    To celebrate WriteNow Live coming to Nottingham, London and Liverpool we've been looking into the iconic literary past of these 3 cities. Named the European Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool is home to some of the UK’s most celebrated authors, poets, musicians and artists; all of whom were inspired by their iconic city.
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  • Top tips on applying for WriteNow

    We’ve pulled together feedback from editors who assessed applications for WriteNow last year. Here are our top tips for what makes an excellent application...
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  • Thoughts from a Sound Editor involved in our audio project

    Read thoughts from Richard Hughes, Sound Editor on working with the young authors from Ministry of Stories to bring their stories to life. Richard also explains the importance in choosing the right sound effects and music for an audio book.
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  • Your stories are full of wisdom and wonder

    In May 2018, Penguin Random House Audio and Ministry of Stories launched their first ever audio collection of 35 short stories, written and recorded by children aged between 8 and 12 and and published as an audiobook CD entitled The World was an Avocado. The unique publishing project is part of a partnership between Penguin Random House UK and Ministry of Stories, which is now in its third and final year.
    Read more »
  • Celebrating National Storytelling Week 2018

    Storytelling is an age old form of human communication: a way to tell others of our experiences, dreams, ideas and feelings, whether through the spoken word or in writing. With National Storytelling Week drawing to a close for its eighteenth consecutive year, we asked some Penguin Random House colleagues to tell us what storytelling means to them.
    Read more »
  • A look back at 2017: October to December

    As we start the New Year, we're taking one final look back at 2017. It was a big year for Penguin Random House UK, full of award successes, brilliant titles, and unforgettable campaigns, and the final three months were no different.
    Read more »
  • A look back at 2017: July to September

    The third instalment in our 2017 retrospective is July to September. From Penguin Pride to WriteNow 2017, summer at Penguin Random House was filled with exciting events and announcements.
    Read more »
  • A look back at 2017: April to June

    As the year draws to a close we’re taking our time to look back over Penguin Random House UK’s 2017. Next up is April to June; three months spent celebrating outstanding titles, cover designs and our history.
    Read more »
  • A look back at 2017: January to March

    It's been a big year for Penguin Random House UK, full of award successes, brilliant titles and unforgettable campaigns. As the New Year draws closer, we're taking a moment to look back and reflect on a jam-packed year.
    Read more »
  • Behind the scenes at the in-house Vintage Creativity Day

    Ever wondered how our design teams create their fantastic covers? Back in November, the Vintage Design team decided to give their colleagues a taste of their day-to-day work with a special Creativity Day.
    Read more »
  • Celebrating Libraries Week 2017

    This week marked Libraries Week; a week celebrating the innovative, diverse and creative opportunities that UK libraries have to offer. Throughout the week, we had a chat with two very different libraries about the role they play in our community in 2017.
    Read more »
  • We visited four of our favourite independent bookshops for #BookShopDay

    On Saturday October 7, bookshops, publishers and authors from across the country are preparing for #BookShopDay - the annual centrepiece of Books Are My Bag's nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops. To get you in the mood, we met up with four brilliant bookshops - Libreria, Gay's the Word, Dulwich Books and Mr B's Emporium.
    Read more »
  • Celebrating poetry at Penguin Random House

    On National Poetry Day, we're sharing some of the ways Penguin Random House is championing poetry in 2017.
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  • Meet our volunteer readers

    As schools across the country kick off the new academic year, 80 Penguin Random House colleagues are getting ready to take part in our annual volunteer reading programme in ten local schools.
    Read more »
  • What happens at a JobHack?

    What does it mean when you walk into a room containing a flurry of flipchart paper, a host of enthusiastic publishers, and tables filled with Penguin merchandise? Nine times out of ten, a JobHack is about to begin.
    Read more »
  • Author Naomi Alderman on writing about an under-discussed community

    When I started work on my first novel Disobedience, which was published in 2006, I knew that I wanted to write about the community I come from: the Orthodox Jewish community in Northwest London.
    Read more »
  • Thoughts from an illustrator involved in our picture book project with Ministry of Stories

    In June 2017, Penguin Random House UK and Ministry of Stories launched seventeen unique new picture books, all written by children between the ages of 8 and 12 and brought to life by volunteer illustrators. This unique publishing project is part of a partnership between Penguin Random House UK and Ministry of Stories, which is now in its second year.
    Read more »
  • Celebrating Sir Allen Lane’s life and legacy

    In 1934, on his way to London after visiting his friend Agatha Christie, the young publisher, Allen Lane, stopped at the station bookstall at Exeter St. Davids and saw that the books on sale were of a poor quality and overpriced. What was needed, he realised, were good books at a price everyone could afford. Within a year he had founded Penguin Books, creating a paperback revolution that would sweep the world.
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  • Interview with Clare Morpurgo, Sir Allen Lane's eldest daughter

    Clare Morpurgo MBE is the eldest daughter of Sir Allen Lane. She is the inspiration and driving force behind erecting a plaque to her father at Exeter St David's station where he was inspired to create Penguin Books in 1934. Clare spoke to Graham Sim, Creative Director at Penguin Random House, about her father and her own work.
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  • Cathy Cassidy: “libraries treat us all as equals”

    Penguin Random House author Cathy Cassidy spoke passionately about the importance of reading for pleasure and public libraries at the launch event for Read North East, read her speech in its entirety below. Click here to find out more about Read North East – a new campaign to raise children’s literacy levels in the North East.
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  • The Female Lead and Gail Rebuck

    The Female Lead features portraits of 50 inspirational women. Baroness Gail Rebuck features in the book, so we caught up with her to talk through her hopes, ambitions and female role models that helped shape her career.
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