LWC talks to top fiction publisher, Kirsty Dunseath


Kirsty Dunseath is the fiction publisher of Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Books. She published the bestsellers The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafonSophie’s World  by Jostein Gaarder and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. She is incredibly passionate about writers – and writing – and is intuitive when it comes to commissioning great books. She knows what works – and what doesn’t!
We asked Kirsty some quickfire questions:
1/What three things must a great book have?  Great plot, unique voice, good use of imagination
2/What is the best thing about your job?  Discovering new writers 
3/What is the worst thing about your job?  Turning down new writers 
4/What book would you have liked to have published?  There’s so many! Possession by AS Byatt remains one of my favourites    
5/What inspires you in a writer?  Enthusiasm, ideas, a unique and interesting new voice 
6/What top tip would you give to an unpublished writer?  Do your homework first so you approach the right people in the right way 
7/What’s the most common mistake writers make in submission letters?   Giving 4 pages – or longer – of plot summary
8/What writer would you like to have round for tea  –  Gabriel Garcia Marquez
9/What could writers do to win you over?   Send cake
10/How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next five years?  We’ll be reading books in more ways – I don’t think the printed word will die out, but people will be reading books on phones, reading devices, listening to downloads. It should be an opportunity rather than a difficulty and the publishing industry will have to adapt.

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