Careers in Publishing - Exeter 2023

20th October 2023 6:30pm to 8:00pm, Exeter Library

Have you ever considered a career in publishing? Do you want to find out more about what working in the industry could look like?

Then come along to hear from literary agents, editors and experts. Our panellists will offer insight into the many roles available within publishing, discuss what they love about the industry, and look back at their respective career journeys so far.

Attendees can expect: candid advice from publishing professionals; the chance to put questions to the panel; a free Bloomsbury title; and takeaway materials which, we hope, will serve as an inspirational and practical resource when it comes to considering a career in one of the most varied and creative industries within the Arts, whatever your skill-set.

Join us at Exeter Library on the evening of Friday 20th October to start your journey.


Friday 20th October

6:30pm - Arrival
6:45pm - Panel discussion begins
7:45pm - Q&A begins
8:00pm - Event ends

Event exclusives

On top of the opportunity to hear from the publishing professionals on our panel, all attendees can expect to receive a Bloomsbury title and takeaway handout materials. Bloomsbury titles on the writing and publishing process will also be available to attendees at a discounted rate.

Further speakers to be announced soon!

Speaker profiles
Juliet Pickering (Blake Friedmann)

I am proud to represent a list of intriguing, conversation-starting writers, across both fiction and non-fiction. Most of my authors write contemporary stories, often led by themes of love, identity, and coming-of-age; for me, vital qualities to a great story include emotional depth, authenticity, a warm, engaging voice and irrepressible energy. I want to be surprised, and to read everyday experiences and relationships told with nuance and colour. Our lives are rich, complicated and varied, and I like my books to reflect that too.

Favourite authors include Kate Atkinson, Claire Keegan, Curtis Sittenfeld, Elizabeth Strout, Shirley Jackson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Nora Ephron. I’m drawn to rich and multi-layered stories of women, families, friendships and relationships, and love small communities with a strong setting and lots going on beneath the surface; I prefer the small and intimate to the epic and world-affecting.

I want to bring under-represented experiences to both editors and readers, and to broaden the books we’re publishing to include everyone. I’m a proud feminist and celebrate books that empower us, or that make us feel recognised and heard.

Alongside literary, book club and commercial fiction, I represent non-fiction writers including memoir, pop culture, social history, cookery and food.

In case it’s helpful to know what I don’t represent, I do not work with the following genres: poetry, Young Adult or children’s, fantasy, supernatural, dystopian, sci-fi, thriller, horror or crime fiction, business, diet or health books. I tend to enjoy historical fiction only if it’s set after 1900!

I worked for Waterstones before joining the agency A P Watt in 2003. I moved to Blake Friedmann in 2013, becoming Vice Head of the Book Department and a Bookseller ‘Rising Star’ in 2017, and a Director in 2020. In 2021, I was delighted to win the Romantic Novelists’ Association Agent of the Year Award. I regularly visit literary festivals, courses and events, and enjoy giving talks and holding workshops for writers. I have been a judge for the Bristol Short Story Prize and Manchester Fiction Prize, and I’m on the board of the Working Class Writers’ Festival

Ella Gordon (Wildfire Books)

Formerly a Waterstones bookseller, Ella Gordon joined Wildfire Books (part of Hachette UK) at its inception in 2016, working her way up to her current position of Editorial Director. Her list comprises a mix of literary fiction and narrative non-fiction from a diverse range of voices. Her authors have been nominated for and/or won a number of prestigious prizes including the Orwell, National Book Award, Hawthornden and Women’s Prize, as well as repeatedly hitting Sunday Times bestseller lists. She is a Future Bookshelf, Grow Your Story and All About Trans mentor, and recently moved to Hachette’s Bristol office to focus on finding and amplifying literary talent outside the London bubble. 

Ron Johns (Mabecron Books)

Ron Johns started in the book trade with WHSmith in 1969(!) with their newly created book wholesale section in Devon and Cornwall. He became one of the first book reps selling to bookshops and other outlets. He started the publishing arm of Mabecron Books in 1995 with a coffee table photography book of Cornwall. Along side the bookselling business Mabecron Publishing has produced 40 titles usually one or two a year and nearly all with a Westcountry angle.

The Bloomsbury Institute Logo


The Bloomsbury Institute runs a programme of events all over the UK, to provide insight into working in the publishing industry. We bring together publishing professionals from all corners of the industry to share their expertise and insight, and offer advice and support to those considering a career in books. Our focus is on reaching people from backgrounds and parts of the country currently underrepresented in publishing, to held create a more diverse and inclusive sector.

Visit our website, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news and events.

Booking & payment

Tickets for this event are £9, and include a Bloomsbury book and takeaway handout materials.

Bookings can be made by either clicking on the 'Book' buttons at the top and bottom of this page, or by calling 0207 631 5985.

Price inclusive of standard VAT.

Event materials will be made available to attendees at the discretion of The Bloomsbury Institute and those on the event panel.

Please contact The Bloomsbury Institute on with any queries and we'll come back to you as soon as possible.


Exeter Library
Castle St
United Kingdom

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