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MGC, 1988 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Gaby Morgan

Poetry is powerful stuff. It teaches us about empathy and tolerance: they are words for life.

I studied French at UCL and gravitated towards courses involving poetry. Towards the end of university, I worked for Macmillan Children’s Books during the holidays. I knew I had found my home. Two weeks after graduating, I joined full-time and have now been with them for 25 years.

Early in my career, I was given the opportunity to put together an anthology for National Poetry Day and have been compiling poetry collections for children and adults ever since, including five titles in the Read Me series, Poems from the First World War, Poems for Love and most recently A Year of Scottish Poems.

I publish poetry, non-fiction and fiction for children aged 6+. For every book, I build the team: author, illustrator, designer and editorial consultants. I work with a huge variety of authors including Carol Ann Duffy, Chris Riddell, Jacqueline Wilson, John Agard and Tony Robinson, and with institutions such as the BBC, Science Museum and Imperial War Museum. Books might be to do with an event or anniversary, such the centenary of the end of the Great War or the Suffragette movement, a trend, game or an important newsworthy topic, including the environmental impact of single use plastic or mental health and exams.

Ten years ago, I was central in setting up the Children’s Poetry Summit, a UK network of poets, publishers and literary organisations that celebrates and promotes poetry. It provides a regular forum for discussion, information exchange, sharing of ideas and good practice. The sheer variety of opportunities in publishing is endlessly rewarding. Every day brings with it something new and exciting.

What does success look like?

Loving my job and having the same energy and enthusiasm for it as I did 25 years ago, and working in an industry where it is possible to balance work and home.

What is your best piece of advice?

You will stumble – sometimes things do not go as planned– there is a different way of getting there or you may find you should be somewhere else entirely!

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