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Paving the Future with Picture Books: Vicki Willden-Lebrecht Spreads the Word Through Media

last updated 06 October 2017

The Bright Agency’s MD/Founder talks children’s publishing on The Inside Track for BBC Business Live this Super Thursday.

For the first time BBC Business Live’s The Inside Track focused on publishing this morning (5th Oct) timed to air live on the morning of Super Thursday. Interviewing The Bright Agency’s Founder and MD, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, who spoke about children’s publishing and the responsibilities the industry has today. With a global audience over 260 million people.

Snapshot from the interview of BBC Anchor Ben Thompson, BBC Anchor Sally Bundock, Bright Founder and MD Vicki Willden-Lebrecht

From left to right: BBC Anchor Ben Thompson, BBC Anchor Sally Bundock, Bright Founder and MD Vicki Willden-Lebrecht.

‘How do people come to know about you and want you to be the one that will publish their book?’

I instinctively know and understand that creatives really excel in a safe environment where they are listen to and cared about. Their wellbeing is not just about their idea – it’s about finding the right publishers to publish their work. And recognising publishers have got personalities themselves.

Everyone has a huge care and responsibility in children’s publishing. It’s funny – it is tough but anything that is successful will always have an element of that. I think in children’s publishing especially, everyone wants it to be the best book it can possibly be, so that the child reading it will be absorbing the right values and the right morals. Diversity and inclusion [are key], although we can’t change the confused world they live in – we can give children the tools [to have emotional comprehension, understanding and kindness].

This resonates with Hachette Children’s Group’s c.e.o Hilary Murray Hill’s talk at The Bookseller conference this year, who called on publishers to “act as agents of social change more than ever before.”

On being questioned about the challenge of getting children reading when there is already so much out there for them; tablets, devises, gaming, vlogs etc:

Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, recently urged people to “look up and see things, away from phones” and that “busy is seen as the right way to be”. Parents need to keep the “connection” to their children through reading with them – an undeniably difficult balance to strike. Bright’s sister company The Bright Emporium, a gallery-come-bookshop in South West London, aligns with Child’s sentiments opened in 2015 to engage children and families through stories and illustration.

When it comes to the progression of character brands and recognition for artistic talent, Vicki also values the digital age:

Through digital, and the development of it, we’ve allowed books to be discovered. The quality and accessibility of children’s publishing has been enhanced so much. It is the golden age of publishing and we’re really embracing that… Digital for us has led to worldwide recognition of our artists, and increased audiences for our award winning, best-selling authors and illustrators. That is because we’re driving their discoverability through social media.

On interviewing for BBC Business Live’s ‘The Inside Track’:

There is so much I wanted to say, but simply couldn’t fit into a 4 minute conversation. To have had the chance to speak to a global audience about children’s publishing and the importance of what we do as an industry, has been wonderful. To discuss co-editions, rights and deals with an audience at 8.45am just wouldn’t have stuck a chord, it’s too industry focused. The key thing to communicate really – both in our stories, for children, for parents, and for our industry’s longevity, is great hope.’

For more information please contact:

The Bright Group’s Marketing and Communications Manager: Harriet Steger

General office: +44 (0)207 326 9140

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