On Thursday 6 December, Bath Spa University’s Publishing Futures Lab hosted the launch party for The Society of Young Publishers’ South West branch, featuring keynote speaker Barry Cunningham, founder of Chicken House. The event was sponsored by Anthem Publishing and Immediate Media.
For the last 70 years, The Society of Young Publishers (SYP) has assisted, informed and encouraged anyone trying to break into the publishing industry or progress within it. Their new South West committee will form the sixth regional branch, alongside London, Oxford, North, Scotland and Ireland.
The launch party was a truly inspiring celebration of publishing innovation in the South West – the sheer amount of positivity and excitement in the room was contagious. Publishers and future publishers were able to network with representatives from Crimson Publishing, Handheld Press, The History Press and Anthem Publishing, just to name a few. Undergraduate and postgraduate students from Bath Spa University, University of Plymouth and Swansea University attended the launch, enjoying the networking opportunity and a glass of celebratory fizz.
Undoubtedly, the highlight was when Barry Cunningham – best known for commissioning Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – took to the stage. He shared anecdotes of working with J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl, his first steps into the publishing industry, and his invaluable advice for aspiring publishers.
Whatever skills that you have, it has to be integrated with lots of other skills… It’s no good looking at a career in publishing if you’re limited to one aspect – these days you really need to understand the process.
Barry Cunningham, founder of Chicken House.
It was clear that the SYP committee’s drive and passion is what makes them so unique. Jo de Vries, Chair of the new branch and founder of Conker House Publishing, believes it’s time for the publishing industry to catch up with the creativity and innovation happening outside of London and Oxford. SYP Southwest will create transparency by opening up opportunities for publishers in the South West to gain access to wider conversations. Their aim is to tackle the ‘disconnect’ between regional areas in the publishing industry, says Jo.
There’s still that cultural perception that everything happens in London… Diversity is people from all walks of life.
Jo de Vries, Chair of SYP Southwest.
As proved by the launch, the South West is overflowing with creative entrepreneurs, diverse skill sets and limitless potential. With the support of SYP, it seems the region will finally receive the exposure it deserves.
Become a member of SYP to access their exclusive jobs board, discounted tickets to events, and Inprint Magazine. Make sure to follow @SYP_SouthWest on Twitter to keep up to date with their latest news and events.