Jacaranda Books is proud to announce the five members of its inaugural Advisory Board: international bestselling author Dorothy Koomson, media and PR consultant Richard Adeshiyan, writer and academic Lina Liederman, author and former City trader Isabelle Dupuy and independent consultant Solomon Rose.
The formation of the Advisory Board comes as a part of Jacaranda’s commitments under the National Portfolio Organisation programme by Arts Council England (ACE). From 2023 there is an increased focus by the Arts Council on the governance arrangements that its National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) have in place as a key measure of a ‘well run’ organisation.
The new focus has been welcomed by Jacaranda’s management team, who see accountability and good governance as essential to the future of the business. The advisory board also serves a wider goal for the press, which last year celebrated 10 years in the book trade.
CEO Valerie Brandes spoke of the essential role that the board will play in Jacaranda’s long term growth strategy: ”The realisation of the advisory board marks a key transition in the development of Jacaranda as a business. The breadth of knowledge, expertise, and passion that they each bring, augurs very well for the continued growth and development of our publishing and means we can now look to the future with confidence. I am excited about what the board represents and what we will accomplish moving forward."
The board is chaired by consultant Solomon Rose, who said of the appointment, “Jacaranda stand as trailblazers for changemaking in this industry, their work has inspired publishers to make the bookshelf a fully representative space and individuals to tell their story on their own terms. To be part of the next phase is an honour. I hope that we can continue to support Jacaranda’s innovation and success and be champions and advocates for the work being done and continue the exciting growth”
Speaking of the organisation being granted NPO status, Rose added: “The team and leaders at Jacaranda being recognised by ACE affirms the years of success of the award-winning publisher, the efforts made to develop quality talent of colour in the team and the courage of authors to tell stories of real value."
For media consultant Richard Adeshiyan, his decision to join the board came after many years of observing the publisher’s progress: “In the past ten years I have been privileged to witness the impressive growth of Jacaranda Books and from the outset recognised founder Valerie Brandes’ visionary zeal in promoting diverse voices and campaigning for wider industry inclusivity. That this publisher has succeeded in creating fresh opportunities for many aspiring writers from diverse backgrounds, was a story I definitely wanted to be a part of. So, I had no hesitation in accepting a role on the inaugural advisory board helping to steer the business forward on the next stage of this exciting journey.”
The Board will work closely with senior management to drive the company’s growth strategy as it looks with confidence towards the future.
Speaking of the plans for the future, COO Jazzmine Breary commented, “At Jacaranda we have always maintained the importance of building a commercially viable business, to ensure that when all the trends have died away, Jacaranda will still be here firmly holding space for Black and other minority voices, providing opportunities to tell their stories and to reach their audiences without prejudice. Our Advisory Board will play an important role in helping us create that legacy, and in particular to reach our community, a key part of our NPO commitment.”
Dorothy Koomson, who is currently celebrating 20 years of publishing, said of her appointment 'When Valerie asked me to be a part of Jacaranda’s first advisory board I was incredibly honoured. WIth the plans that I have seen, I think Jacaranda will continue to go from strength to strength, and I’m very excited to work with Valerie and the Jacaranda team, including this new board.’
Author Isabelle Dupuy, whose debut novel Living the Dream was published by Jacaranda Books in 2019 and shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards, said ‘I am so thrilled to be joining Jacaranda’s first advisory board. I first met Valerie Brandes when she offered to publish my novel and I loved her vision and her mission for this publishing house. Since then Jacaranda has grown into an acclaimed and successful business. It’s an honour to join this amazing team and I look forward to working with all our stakeholders as Jacaranda joins the ACE NPO programme.'
Lina Liederman, whose experience includes working with not-for-profit and for-profit organisations, spoke directly to the commercial ambitions of the business: “I greatly respect and admire the work of Jacaranda. I am deeply honoured to be a part of the Advisory Board. I look forward to working with the Board members and the team to help Jacaranda thrive as it continues to fulfil its ethos and mission, increase its visibility, and deliver on its commercial success and hugely promising potential.”
For more information about each of our board members please visit our Advisory Board page