Phoebe Morgan is a commissioning editor at Avon HarperCollins where she works on a list of commercial fiction, from Sunday Times bestsellers to up and coming debut writers. She is also an author and her debut novel The Doll House was published in 2017. You can visit her website www.phoebemorganauthor.com for more advice about writing and the publishing industry.
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently just about to finish Lullaby by Leila Slimani; it’s completely amazing, about a nanny who murders the two small children in her care. It’s beautifully written and mesmerising to read.
Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Liane Moriarty – I went to Australia last year and thought fate might bring us together but sadly it didn’t. I think she’s a wonderful writer, her plotting is second to none and she treads that difficult line between crime and women’s fiction so, so well.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three books would you want with you?
This is so hard! I think The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, which I just fell in love with last year. I can’t wait for her new one.
What TV series are you obsessing over right now?
I’ve just finished watching The Fall (very late to the game, I know) which was brilliant aside from season three! And I also love Strike, the JK Rowling adaptation – it’s very well done indeed. I always enjoy crime series as long as the writing is good.
What do you like about your job?
I love discovering new talent; there’s nothing quite like that feeling of striking a new deal for a debut writer. I’m lucky enough to work with some brilliant authors and seeing them succeed is very rewarding indeed. When the finished books come in to the office I always get really excited!
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in publishing today?
Say yes to opportunities! I feel like I’ve taken part in a few random things since joining the industry but all of them have led me to where I am today and I feel so lucky to be part of a world that I love. Always be friendly and approachable, and make connections – you never know where they will lead you.
Which great novel have you tried to read but failed?
Oh gosh, more than one…! I actually could never get into Jane Austen, I don’t think my Mum has ever forgiven me! I really like thinking about which books today will go on to become classics in the future, which novels will stand the test of time.
What was your first job?
I used to wash cars in my tiny little Suffolk village with a friend, I think we charged about 50p! I’ve also worked in lots of bars, been a babysitter, an English tutor – I always had a part time job on the side since aged about fourteen. They were never particularly lucrative apart from the tutoring, which is a really good gig if you can get it!
And your first in the book industry?
My first proper job in publishing was as a Publishing Assistant at Octopus Books, working on non-fiction. It’s such a lovely warm company and I really enjoyed it, although my heart was always in fiction.
What is the one essential item you bring to the Fair?
Flat shoes! I have tried to wear heels a couple of times and failed miserably. I once had to walk to a random Tesco and buy a pair of black flats just to make it through the rest of the day…
Phoebe Morgan is a winner of The London Book Fair Trailblazer Award 2018