Lisa Highton, Publisher of Two Roads
Born and educated in London, I took a quick trip to Australia and stayed for a very long time, only moving back to London in 2005. Living in Australia was an extraordinary experience both personally and professionally. During my time there I worked with Macmillan, Doubleday, HarperCollins and, finally, Hodder & Stoughton, which I joined in 1993. Although I’ve been an editor for years, I’ve worked in most aspects of publishing: sales, publicity, educational editing, and both adult and children’s publishing. I’ve also been a freelance journalist and an author. All marvellous experience leading to here and now.
Australia also fed my love of travel and curiosity about other places. Australians travel a lot and read widely so I love books about other places and different experiences. I’m a big fan of American and Australian writing – voice and place led narrative. Interestingly, Two Roads now has a lot of Scottish writers – think if I had a DNA splice it would show a mixture of American Scottish and Australian.
I started Two Roads in 2011 – concentrating on twelve to fifteen books a year – roughly half fiction and non-fiction. Strong narrative led stories, brilliantly written – simple really. This small number allows us to concentrate on publishing books thoroughly and devoting that necessary time and attention. Two Roads is a wonderful opportunity to seek out the best books I can find and to be involved with every aspect of their publishing. Nothing makes me happier than making those connections between an author and readers … I am very lucky.
A combination of a love of stories and undiagnosed myopia meant I spent most of my childhood with my nose firmly planted in a book, and – though I do now have glasses – things are much the same today. After studying English at UCL I weaselled my way into an editorial assistant job in non-fiction at Pan Macmillan, where I worked my way up to editor across the Macmillan, Sidgwick & Jackson, Rodale and Boxtree lists. In 2013 I joined Icon Books as commissioning editor, publishing everything from history and politics to humour and business titles.
Which leads me to now! I joined Two Roads as senior non-fiction editor in February 2015, to expand our strong narrative non-fiction list. I have pretty magpie-ish tastes (which is one of the reasons I love working in non-fiction), but put simply I’m looking for those books that drag you in and don’t let go – stories that are stranger than fiction, brilliantly written and dying to be told. The books I have the most professional jealousy over include Do No Harm, The Hare with Amber Eyes, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and Yes Please, and I’m after similarly unique voices; writers with the gift of communication who can illuminate their subject matter with ease and flair.
Federico Andornino, Assistant Editor
I was born in a tiny village perched on a hill near Torino, north-west Italy, surrounded by dark, silent woods and the imposing shape of the Alps. I decided to shake things up a bit when I was 10 and started travelling with my family in the summer, studying English and exploring places as diverse as the Scottish mining village of Fallin, the quiet suburban town of Woking, and the exciting cities of Edinburgh, Dublin and Vancouver.
I soon fell in love with all things British and moved to London to bring together two of my biggest passions: books and the English language. I studied Publishing at UCL and did work experience at ILA, Granta Books, Harvill Secker and Penguin before moving back to Italy to be a Junior Editor in the Foreign Fiction department of Rizzoli.
I managed to resist the urge to fly back to London for 16 (very rewarding) months before giving in to the desire of being part of the British publishing world again and joining the Two Roads family in January 2013.
Favourite books (Lisa)
Personally, I buy a lot of books for which there never seem to be enough bookshelves. Too many books too little time will be my epitaph when my TBR pile finally falls over and buries me. So here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of just some of the books that I would always make sure I had around me or have read recently and loved (with probably no surprises either)…
Lists are daft things but here goes:
The Great Gatsby, Le Grand Meaulnes, Jane Eyre, Cold Comfort Farm, The Outcasts, Three Men in a Boat, One Day, I Capture the Castle, The Water Babies, Rebecca, Little Women, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Cloud Atlas, Atonement, Prep, Running With Scissors, His Dark Materials, The Book Thief, A Fine Balance, Vanity Fair, Olive Kitteridge, Tinker Tailor, Scoop, The Wasp Factory, March, Room, Across the Nightingale Floor, The Woman in White, Sherlock Holmes, Red Dragon, Crossing to Safety, The Music Room, The Levant Trilogy, The Sense of an Ending, Persepolis, How I Live Now, Restless, Cloudstreet, The Man Who Loved Children, all or most of Nancy Mitford/Nora Ephron/ Raymond Chandler/Graham Greene/ David Sedaris/Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Short stories: Saki, Maugham, Chekov, Dahl, Moore, Carter, de Maupassant, Moore to name but a few obvious ones.
Looking for something to read? Try this – The Guardian 100 best novels
Favourite books (Kate)
This is a very non-exhaustive list of the books that would spring into my head if someone asked what they should read next. Apparently I like books with either animals or the word ‘castle’ in the title.
I Capture the Castle, Moby Dick, Leviathan (Philip Hoare, not Thomas Hobbes), Direct Red, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Crossing to Safety, They Came Like Sparrows, The Time of Our Singing, The Hare with Amber Eyes, The Painted Veil, His Dark Materials, All Creatures Great and Small, Nothing to Envy, Random Family, The Handmaid’s Tale, Into the Wild, Fahrenheit 451, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Bell Jar
Favourite books (Fede)
You know when people ask you “What’s you favourite book?” and your mind goes completely blank, as if you didn’t even know what a book was? That’s exactly what’s happening to me while I am writing this. And because most of my books are still back home in Italy I don’t even have any sort of visual reference! So please take the following paragraph as a very short introduction to my favourite books..
I believe lists like these should begin with the classics, so here we go (in no particular order)…
Pride & Prejudice, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Crime & Punishment, Mrs Dalloway, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby,The Master and Margarita, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, Sentimental Education, The Red and the Black…
And now, for something more contemporary…
The Art of Fielding, Gone Girl, Cloud Atlas (any David Mitchell novel, really), Harry Potter, Beautiful Ruins, Angelology, Londoners, A Visit from the Goon Squad…
As I said: more to come!