Interview: Claire Craig, Children’s Publisher (Pan Macmillan)

The Centre for Youth Literature has picked the brains of Australia’s YA publishers to gain insight into their work, and their titles. For the next few weeks we will be featuring interviews with a number of individuals on their work in YA publishing.

 Now to introduce….Claire.

I’m the children’s publisher at Pan Macmillan Australia, based in Sydney and responsible for commissioning, developing and producing a boutique list of titles, from junior fiction through to young adult.

What is the first book you worked on and in what capacity?
I was living in Cambridge, UK, and working for the literary magazine GRANTA. The first issue I ever worked on was GRANTA No. 19 – ‘More Dirt’. It was a who’s who of extraordinary American writers such as Richard Ford, Jayne Anne Phillips and John Updike.

Officially, I was the subscription manager but we were a very small team so everyone did a little of everything, such as proofing and actually pasting up the magazine (this was in the old days). I wasn’t very good at the pasting-up part and still remember the panic of searching for a paragraph I had accidentally chucked in the rubbish bin.*

What is the most anticipated release of this year?
This is an impossible question to answer in the singular so my most anticipated releases this year are GIRL DEFECTIVE by Simmone Howell in March, WILDLIFE by Fiona Wood in June, THE HOWLING BOY by Cath Crowley in September and the sequel to A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty in October.

Pan Macmillan has a year of magical YAs.

What are the popular themes in YA right now?
YA is such an elastic category but ‘voice’ and ‘heart’ are still as important as ever, regardless of the theme. As a reaction to the recent paranormal and dystopian deluge, ‘real teen’ fiction is possibly gaining more traction and GIRL DEFECTIVE, WILDLIFE and THE HOWLING BOY are all superlative examples of this.

Which fictional character would you like to be?
Oh no! Another singular question. Well, Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. (I read this when I was sixteen and it was my first real experience of ‘voice’.) Or maybe Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma, or …

*I found it.

YA is magical, as has been your time on Read Alert.  Thank you Claire for sharing :)

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