Once upon a time there was a girl with an idea…
last updated 15 September 2017
The Sunday Times have just published an article on Bright’s MD and Founder, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, in this weekend’s Business & Money section.
Read the excerpts from the interview and some out-takes here – a clear reflection on Vicki’s attitude to her business and the artists she represents today:
On what to say
‘Prior to the Sunday Times interview I didn’t know the angle they would take and so I considered some moments in my career that made a difference to me, my artists and some lessons and insights. Only a portion got covered and thought I would share the ‘cuts’:
Some game changer moments
‘In 2009 came the book that Willden-Lebrecht describes as a game-changer for her agency: Barry the Fish with Fingers, by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet. “It was one of that years fastest-selling books and I remember being so proud that it was attracting a non-traditional audience of families who did not normally buy books. It went on to be the first of an incredibly successful series of characters.’
‘Reading of good quality books should be within reach for everyone and this book did just that.
The Storm Whale (also Simon & Schuster) was the other book that made a huge difference to me. As an agent you need instinct and to follow your own moral compass: Benji Davies created and developed this book when everyone was publishing hilarious, romp filled, funny books. So when this quiet, deep and moving story evolved it felt a risk, it was that moment that you don’t follow the trends - in fact you trust your instinct and move them forward. It wasn’t just Benji but the team at Simon & Schuster that could recognise this. Benji is now a firmly established award winning author illustrator, an original thinker and a creative leader.
Benji’s Storm Whale titles have stuck a universal chord, with co-editions in 31 countries whilst Sue [Hendra} and Paul’s [Linnet] ingenious social barrier breaking and consumer changing reach across all their titles have both achieved something extraordinary.’
The personal impact
‘The book that made the most impact on me personally was I’m a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail. I literally felt this was written for me, healing awkward memories when as a child I doubted my natural self.’
An agent’s purpose
The Times reports: The 38-year-old was inspired to set up Bright by a feeling that authors and illustrators should be “rock stars” — people whom children could look up to and be inspired by
‘I feel so strongly about this. Fame should be a byproduct of talent; we want children to grow up aspiring to create and be originators; to value talent for what it truly is. I want Bright’s artists to be recognized for this.’
What would you do if you won the lottery jackpot? Asks the Sunday Times
‘I’d definitely invest in the business —there’s so much more I want to do.’
A final word:
‘Bright really is a big family and the relationships built here are key to our success. We owe a huge thanks to our community of artists and publishers for joining us on this journey, and being an integral part of this evolving story. And of course for the experience of all that call Bright their working home.’