Tuesday 6 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Editor Sarah Odedina of Hot Key Books

Sarah Odedina, formerly Editor-in-chief of Bloomsbury's children's division, is the Managing Director of the all new Hot Key Books where the focus will be on fiction for 9 plus. The interesting name derives from the power of stories to open doors and feed the imagination of readers. 

Sarah Odedina
Sarah says that the name also reflects the digital age in which we now live, through its association with ‘hot key’ commands. The name, like Sarah, radiates energy and dynamism.

 Under Bloomsbury, she was the brains behind Harry Potter and now she is heading up her own imprint, aiming to publish thirty to fifty books a year. So, 2012 already looks good for writers and readers alike!

Here is Sarah's wishlist which does not contain the jewellery or mince pies she told us she wanted as well. Cake's still there though.

1 That every christmas stocking in the country has a book in it

2 That the children's book market has a boom year in 2012

3 That I don't eat too much Christmas cake - which I apparently find irresistible.

And what's her favourite book?

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys


  1. After reading the stats that said only 1 in 3 children owned a book, I heartily concur with Sarah's first wish!
    And very good wishes to Sarah for loads of success with Hot Key Books.

  2. I love the generosity displayed here - all three items give everyone a share in Sarah's list.

  3. Thanks for the info on this new imprint! Doing my best to spread books to folks this Christmas too!

  4. Think I might be balancing things out - I've bought about 10 books for my daughters so far this Christmas! But such a shame that some children are "spoilt" in their access to reading material, while libraries close and parents increasingly see technology skills as being more inportant than literacy and the pure joy of reading.

  5. All the more reason to keep libraries open! I'm so glad that my kids love reading, as a mother I think that's one thing I actually got right.

    Sarah, enjoy the Christmas cake while it lasts and lots of luck with Hot Key Books! May it boom along with the children's book market!

  6. Watched a silly little gameshow yesterday called Pointless. First two questions were respectively about Eurovision host cities and identifying novels from their heroes. The Eurovision cities scored a lot higher than novels with one contestant actually proposing that Winston Smith was the hero of Chariots of Fire! Was that a novel even? So yes, more books please!

  7. I heard that statistic too Nicky. Having surrounded my children with books from day one, I find it weird that others don't do the same but then remembered I had very few books as a child because my parent couldn't afford them - which is why libraries and especially school libraries are so important.

  8. As a teacher, parent and book lover I whole heartedly agree with the book/ child issue. But I don't agree with the 1 in 3 stat. Certainly all children under 5 are provided with free books through book start and schoools are forever sending them home. The issue is no one reads with themW
    I currently run several early morning storytimes at my school. They are open to both children and parents, the kids come in droves, but getting the parents there is really hard work and often it is they that need these skills most.

    Looking forward to next week, I'll be reading 'I was a rat' every morning to KS 2 children :-)

  9. George, can't comment on the accuracy of the stats, but here's the link:

  10. In total agreement with all these posts (except Christmas cake - sorry as with everything else not something I can eat) but love Wide Sargasso Sea and every year I buy my children and now grandchildren books. It is a big part of Christmas. Another brilliant and, as Kathy says, generous post.

  11. I agree that a book in every stocking would be great.

    And George, I loved 'I Was a Rat'! So envious of your week ahead :)

  12. Thank you Sarah for your part in bringing Harry Potter to the world. He turned my kids into readers (and writers too).
    Thank you for publishing great books kids want to read.

  13. I second Jan. And I'd add a wish that somewhere accessible in the UK there'd be a really fun, big public book fair like the French children's book fair in Montreuil, Paris, held just before the Christmas rush. Every kids book publisher has a colourful stand designed to appeal to children first -and you see kids reading on the spot, choosing their books and queuing up to watch their favourite illustrator dedicate their book to them with an original art work. Some families (who come from all income brackets, all over France) get given book tokens to spend, from their local authorities so it's not just for an elite either. Having signed books there myself and talked to kids, parents and teachers and librarians who visit, I see how it fosters a respect for kids books and rich direct exchanges between publishers, authors and readers that bypass normal commercial channels.
    It's also the mainstay of some smaller publishers' yearly sales - which might explain why there's a greater diversity of books for children in France.
    Please tell me there IS a pre-Christmas book fair like this in the UK that I don't know about - if not that we can wish for one, and that it will happen!


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