We are hiring! We are looking for an experienced commissioning editor to oversee digital content for our new website and digital portfolio.

The successful candidate will have a deep understanding of the place Booker-nominated books have in our cultural world, and what they say about us and the human condition.

They will be bursting with ideas for how ‘our’ books can be used as a starting point to create digital content-rich journeys for readers across the globe. We are looking for someone who excels at commissioning long reads from world class writers. 

We welcome and encourage applications from candidates who are under-represented in the creative industries.

Role summary

Job Title: Head of Editorial

Reports to: Director, Booker Prize Foundation 

Contract: Employee, preferably full-time employment


Location: UK based, at present working remotely

Salary: £60,000 - 65,000 

Application details: Email CV and covering letter to [email protected]

Ben Okri wins the 1991 Booker Prize

Organisation description

The Booker Prizes have a unique place in the literary sphere, enjoying an enviable reputation as a cultural institution that is highly respected, much loved and hotly debated throughout the world. Over the past 50 years, more than 500 extraordinary books have been brought to the attention of the public, influencing reading tastes and transforming culture in Britain and beyond, along with the careers of hundreds of authors from around the globe. 

The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity, established in 2002, whose purpose is to promote the art and value of literature for the public benefit. The best-known way it fulfils this  mission is by awarding  the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize. Other aspects of the foundation’s work include reading initiatives in prisons, writers’ visits to universities, the distribution of books to disadvantaged readers and the funding of Braille and audio editions of Booker Prize books through the RNIB. The UEA Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship is awarded annually to a candidate for the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. Many past scholars have since met with acclaim as published authors. 

In 2021, we launched a new digital strategy at www.thebookerprizes.com to showcase “our” nominated books alongside their exceptional authors in one unique online space. Called the Booker Library, we aim to create a unique and entertaining cultural destination that brings fresh attention to our books by combining 1) new content; 2) archive material from our authors, publishers and partners as well as our own physical archive at Oxford Brookes University; and 3) curated content from across the web. We’ve identified the concept of the Booker ‘Golden Thread’ strand that runs through all our books, authors, themes and subject matters. We aim to bend and stretch this thread in many directions to help our audiences explore our world with the goal of encouraging more people to read more books. We believe that this blend of writing, audio, video, visual art, manuscripts and interactives will bring new insights and attention to the books, their themes, subject matters and the art of fiction writing itself. We are building a small editorial, marketing and partnerships team to take responsibility for executing this plan.

2012 Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel

Job description

The Booker Prize Foundation is looking for a seasoned, innovative commissioning editor to take responsibility for bringing ‘our’ books to life online – covering all longlisted, shortlisted and winning books for both the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize. They’ll be able to identify the nuggets in the manuscripts, scrapbooks, notes and letters from our archives as well as those of some of the world’s greatest authors. With ease they’ll make connections and identify themes and subjects for individual books as well as collections across our Library. 

The successful candidate will weave these elements together with their own ideas and understanding of our culture, history and social context. They will then have the vision, contacts and chutzpah to imagine (and land) top class individuals who will have something unique and appealing to say. They will think big in multiple formats and will be responsible for commissioning and delivering content (text primarily as well as audio, video and imagery, depending on their experience). 

They’ll then be able to create this package of content and launch it effectively with the maximum impact across the Booker Prizes’ digital portfolio – as well as, with any luck, column inches and cultural and literary partner websites via syndication. 

We are not driven by a daily publishing schedule of quick bites, social media hits or desk-researched listicles and articles. Our yardstick will be: Is this genuinely unique and will audiences be enthralled by it? Is it of exceptional quality? Could it be syndicated to a UK or international publication or picked up as a news story?

This role requires an entrepreneurial mind balanced with an appreciation of the reputation and place of the Booker Prizes within the literary world. The ideal candidate will have a feel for existing audiences and also appreciate our desire to reach more people across the world who aren’t yet engaged with the prizes. We want to delight and surprise readers of quality fiction. We also have plans to appeal to new audiences of all ages and to encourage them to develop a lifelong love of reading.  

It requires someone with a sharp eye, big ideas that they have the wit and charm to pull off, and a whole heap of creative energy that can be focussed on delivery. We are looking for someone who shares the prizes’ own democratic vision of what great literature can be.

While our platforms are digital and digital expertise is welcome, it is not the primary requirement for this role. Depending on the individual, they will partner with and be supported by digital expertise to help with the execution of their creative ideas.  

We would like someone with first class writing skills and editorial judgement, who is able to manage a small team of web producers and a wider pool of freelance talent and contributing writers and creators.

1989 Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro

Responsibilities

  • Building a content plan based on archive material, the books nominated each year for the Booker Prize and International Booker Prize, real world events and original ideas
  • Commissioning and developing a wide range of voices who can speak to these issues with authority and interest
  • Running the development, production and publishing processes for maximum impact
  • Overseeing a commissioning budget and ensuring content is delivered on budget, on schedule and matching the Booker Prizes’ editorial standards
  • Identifying potential syndication partners and news angles for particular stories 
  • Collaborating with marketing and publicity to develop clever ideas to drive reach that also work holistically across all platforms 
  • Anticipating and reacting to the long and shortlisted books each year by commissioning and publishing content to enhance the titles and to encourage more people to read them 
  • Working collaboratively across a range of formats with inhouse producers, freelance talent and third-party agencies across copy, video, audio, imagery and interactives to best bring ideas to life
  • Cultivating and maintaining a network of contributing writers
  • Evaluating the reach and impact of content to further develop our commissioning strategy
  • Working with the director of the Booker Prize Foundation as editor-in-chief plus other senior personnel on strategy, management, scheduling and prioritizing the research, copy editing and production workflow
  • Continually assessing and calibrating the content being published, considering its impact and the range and diversity of commissioned writers and creators
  • Working with colleagues to build a small highly skilled and diverse producer team; supporting and coaching them creatively and encouraging a positive team culture and ethos.
Booker Prize authors 1998

Experience

  • At least five years managing content commissioning and production in a digital or daily publication
  • Commissioning content including long reads, audio and video on cultural subjects
  • Commissioning or working with high profile individuals. 
Douglas Stuart, 2020