Vicki Willden-Lebrecht Profiled in UK's Sunday Times
last updated 15 September 2017
The London Times has just done a wonderful profile on Bright’s MD and Founder, Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, as part of The Sunday Times’ Business & Monday section. She reflects on running the agency and representing a tremendous roster of artists.
“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,” says Vicki. “Only a portion got covered and thought I would share the ‘cuts’.”
Below are a few key excerpts from the interview and some out-takes – a clear reflection on Vicki’s attitude to her business and the artists she represents today.
On Game-Changing 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.
Vicki says, “It was one of that year’s 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 (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, too, who could recognize 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, while Sue and Paul’s ingenious social-barrier-breaking and consumer-changing reach across all their titles have both achieved something extraordinary.”
On Books With a Personal Impact
Vicki says the book that made the most impact on her 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.”
And On 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,” says Vicki.
She continues, “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.”