As Fremantle Press’s Heather Blakey swaps Perth for London, incoming Marketing and Communications Assistant Jen Bowden does the reverse.
Fremantle Press is a name I, like a lot of Western Australian kids, had grown up with. Books like Ellisha Majid’s A Sausage Went for a Walk and Tim Winton’s The Deep were stalwarts of my childhood library, and the number of Fremantle Press logos on my bookshelves only increased with time.
Further down the track, as a student of English and Cultural Studies at UWA, it was never a surprise to find many of my favourite stories and writers originated from just down the coast. For this and many other reasons, it has been the greatest pleasure and joy to be a part of the Fremantle Press team.
To have a hand in creating a new generation of books for a new generation of Australian readers has been an amazing experience. I got to work with authors I have long admired and meet intelligent, talented and dynamic new creators whose books will fill the bookshelves and minds of kids just like me. Above all, it has been an honour to contribute to the incredible community of writers, readers and industry professionals who make our Western Australian literary culture the vibrant and supportive place it is.
At the end of February this year I will be moving to London, an adventure that is unavoidably bittersweet as I will miss Fremantle Press and the incredible people within it dearly. Despite this, I’m absolutely thrilled to be handing the role over to Jen Bowden, who brings a wealth of experience and passion to the marketing team.
My sincerest thanks to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with over the past year, and to you, our incredible community of subscribers and supporters. My very best wishes for the future, and for all the amazing books to come.
I moved to Perth nine months ago from the UK. I’m originally from North-East England (despite what my partner will tell you, I’m not a Geordie) and grew up in a small mining village called Wingate, near the city of Durham. I did my undergraduate degree in English and Scottish Literature at Edinburgh Uni, flitted briefly to London for a year to do an MA in Magazine Journalism at City University, then returned to Edinburgh, where I worked in journalism and publishing for 10 years.
Living in Scotland for a decade sparked a love of crime fiction. I earned the nickname ‘Crime Queen’ when reviewing books for The Scotsman newspaper because I always went for the thrillers. But I’m absolutely a fiction girl – any topic and any length. I’m always looking for new reading experiences and to discover brilliant new writers.
My favourite publishers back home are the incredible indies we have there; Ireland’s Tramp Press, Scotland’s 404 Ink and England’s Persephone Books are three particular favourites.
In my spare time I play various brass instruments as part of City of Perth Band. North-East England and Scotland both have a really strong brass banding tradition, so it was comforting to be able to come out to Perth and get straight into music here.
I’m really excited to be part of the team at Fremantle Press. I’ve read so many of their books since arriving in Perth and I’ve loved every one. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with all of our wonderful authors and getting those books under the eyes of readers across the world.
Western Australia has such a rich and vibrant literature scene, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.