Imagine your place on the bookshelf of the future

Announcing The Future Bookshelf Class of 2018

We’re delighted to announce that The Future Bookshelf has acquired three books from authors who submitted through our first ever open submission scheme. Chosen from a total of over 750 submissions, all three authors and their works went through the normal acquisition process before being offered contracts and signing with their respective publishers.

The three authors are: Eleni Kyriacou, Elizabeth Okoh, and Robert Hamberger, and their works were acquired by Cicely Aspinall (editor at Hodder & Stoughton), Francine Toon (commissioning editor at Hodder & Stoughton) and Kate Craigie (editor at John Murray) respectively. Eleni Kyriacou is represented by Niki Chang of The Good Agency. All authors were given one-on-one advice and information regarding agent representation.

Nick Davies, chair of The Future Bookshelf said:We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to The Future Bookshelf from our colleagues, from the wider industry and, of course, from the 757 debut writers who submitted their work. It has been a privilege to read so many fresh and diverse new voices. Congratulations to Eleni, Elizabeth and Robert. This is just the start for The Future Bookshelf and these three writers embody what a more diverse, inclusive and exciting place publishing can be.”

To hear about what each of the authors and editors had to say, more about each of the acquired projects and read an extract click on the title below:

by Eleni Kyriacou by Elizabeth Okoh by Robert Hamberger


The Results

Set up in 2016 as part of Hachette’s Changing the Story diversity scheme, The Future Bookshelf aimed to provide a year’s worth of tips and exercises on writing a book and to help demystify the business of publishing. Content was provided by a range of authors, literary agents, and staff. In December of 2017, The Future Bookshelf held an open submission for unagented and unpublished authors of fiction and non-fiction who felt they were underrepresented by the publishing industry. A personal statement as to why the author felt underrepresented was submitted along with a sample of the author’s work. The top 5 reasons why applicants felt they were underrepresented in the publishing industry were, in order: race, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status.

The open submission scheme saw 757 submissions and were read by 59 in-house readers from across Editorial, Marketing, Publicity, Sales, Audio, Rights, Contracts and Production who have worked throughout 2018 to select submissions that were deemed strong enough to go through the normal acquisition process.

Two-thirds (66%) of the submissions fell into either SFF, Commercial, Crime/ Thriller or Women’s Fiction.



As well acquiring authors from its open submission initiative, The Future Bookshelf has also committed to mentor a number of aspiring authors who submitted their work. Not an original part of The Future Bookshelf scheme, the mentoring programme was recently added to help authors who were seen to have potential but needed a little more guidance from a publishing professional. Mentees will receive up to 6 hours of one-on-one mentoring; a package of creative writing books; a visit to Hachette, for face to face meeting with mentor, and informal presentation from members of the wider publishing team; and a free creative writing workshop with Helen Corner-Bryant the Founder of Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and the author of On Editing.


The authors who will be mentored are:

  • Suzette De Coteau-Atuah, THE FORGOTTEN ART OF LETTER WRITING – mentored by Ella Gordon (Headline)
  • Tara Nabili, ALL THINGS END IN YES – mentored by Francine Toon (Hodder)


Next Open Submissions

Moving forward, the 2019 Future Bookshelf open submission will expand to include Hachette’s Orion and Little, Brown divisions. The 2019 open submission will invite unagented and unpublished authors to submit their work after the London Book Fair. Exact dates will be advertised in the New Year on The Future Bookshelf website.


Who was involved?

The Future Bookshelf steering committee are:

Nick Davies
Managing Director, John Murray Press
and co-chair of Changing the Story
Kate Hewson
Editorial Director, Two Roads
Cicely Aspinall
Editor, Hodder & Stoughton
Emma Petfield
Marketing Manager, John Murray Press
Yassine Belkacemi
Senior Publicity Manager, John Murray Press
Maddy Price
Senior Commissioning Editor, Hodder & Stoughton
Robert Chilver
Digital Marketing Manager, Headline
Abigail Scruby
Editorial Assistant, John Murray
Kate Craigie
Editor, John Murray
Jonathan Shipley
Commissioning Editor, John Murray Learning
Paul Engles
Editor, MacLehose Press/Quercus
Francine Toon
Commissioning Editor, Hodder & Stoughton
Mary-Anne Harrington
Publisher, Tinder Press/Headline

With special thanks to Aimee Oliver (former Marketing Manager, Hodder and Stoughton) and Nelima Begum (former Future Bookshelf Administrator).


Authors who contributed to The Future Bookshelf are:


Lesley Bown

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Will Buckingham

Emma Darwin

Juno Dawson

Sergio De La Pava

Zoe Fairbairns

L.R. Fredericks

Ann Gawthorpe

Patrick Gale

Mike Gayle

Katharine Grubb

Charles Harris

Elizabeth Hay

J.M. Holmes

Bret Anthony Johnston

Vaseem Khan

Stephen May

Lisa McInerney

Fiona Mozley

Jess Richards

Adam Roberts

Rosemary Rowe

Neil Spring

Rhyannon Styles

Chris Sykes

Jasmine Warga

Nigel Watts

Irving Weinman

Louise Welsh

Sarah Winman

Jurgen Wolff

Felicia Yap


Agents who contributed to The Future Bookshelf are:

Nelle Andrew

Sam Copeland

Isobel Dixon

Ian Drury

Lucy Luck

Juliet Mushens

Emma Paterson

Becky Thomas

Camilla Wray