Julia Posen is EVP and Commercial Director for Walker Books’ Group Rights and Development Division.
Julia joined Walker Books in 2010 as Marketing, Brand and Licensing Director, responsible for all Walker Books UK marketing, brand and licensing strategy for authors and brands, including Anthony Horowitz, Where’s Wally?, Cassandra Clare and Guess How Much I Love You. Prior to joining Walker, Julia worked at the BBC for 12 years in a number of different senior roles; Head of Publishing EMEIA, Children’s DVD Publisher, Head of International Licensing and finally as the Children’s Commercial Director before joining Walker. Her career began in book publishing at Mitchell Beazley working in the co-edition foreign rights team before moving on to Evans Brothers, a children’s educational publisher, as their Foreign Rights Manager.
As EVP and Commercial Director, Julia is responsible for building new business and global opportunities for Walker Books’ Group Rights and Development Division across licensing, digital, publishing and TV production. Julia oversees all Walker UK licensing activity across brands including Guess How Much I Love You, Maisy, Tilly and Friends, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Alice in Wonderland and works closely with the global publishing team for the media tie-in imprints Walker Entertainment and Candlewick Entertainment. As a director of Walker Productions she develops and co-produces television for children. Co-produced projects include Hank Zipzer for CBBC, Tilly and Friends for CBeebies, Fleabag Monkeyface for CITV and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt for Channel 4. Julia is an Executive Producer on Tilly and Friends, Hank Zipzer and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
What was the last book you read?
I’ve just finished Do Not say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. Perfect reading for my recent trip to Shanghai.
Which writer would you have loved to have met – and why?
Primo Levi – I’ve always been haunted by his beautiful writing. Especially the books he wrote about his dreadful experiences in the camps. His ability to create such beauty out of such misery, whilst not unique, is astonishing.
What TV series are you obsessing over right now?
The Missing is concluding this week and the writers have promised answers. They’d better deliver on their promise.
What do you like about your job?
I love working across three amazing industries all at the same time;
Children’s books, Children’s TV, and Children’s licensing.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in publishing today?
Read everything you can. To be part of this industry is a real privilege but you have to work at it and know about the authors and illustrators.
Which is your favourite bookshop or ebookstore – and why?
I love Daunt Books in Marylebone. A perfect Sunday morning is taking my children to the Farmers’ Market. We then eat the food we’ve just bought in the park and then it’s straight off to Daunt Books (once we’ve cleaned our hands) to happily all browse for books for the rest of the morning. The travel section is wonderful there too.
Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure
Jess Glynne – because I think I’m much younger than I really am and it embarrasses my teenagers when I dance to her music. I find there’s no greater payback for teenager strops than finding endless ways to embarrass them.
Which great novel have you tried to read – but failed?
I bought Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy to read on my first maternity leave. I wasn’t worried about the length of the book as I was sure I’d have lots of spare time to read after the baby was born. Needless to say I never got past page one!
What was your first job?
My first job as a teenager was as a children’s entertainer. Friends seem to think this is hilarious when I tell them. I don’t know why?
And your first in the book industry?
My first job after University was as a temp in the special sales division for Mitchell Beazley. I was hooked after my first day and applied for a permanent position in the sales team and was lucky enough to get it.