Who’s Who at Icon

Peter Pugh, Chairman
I founded Icon Books in 1992 to re-introduce the Beginners series. We started with just four titles but there are currently over 90 titles in the series now called Introducing. Icon also publishes single titles such as The Etymologicon, a bestseller. I am now the chairman with a great team to build the company into a significant publisher. My night job is writing company histories. I have written 50 including a three-volume history of Rolls-Royce of which Icon has sold over 70,000 copies. My weekend job is trying to help my seven grandchildren avoid all the mistakes I made when I was young. I used to play golf but gave up when I was 50 to take up a less active sport, tennis. I also swim twice a day in the North Sea off the Norfolk coast.

Philip Cotterell, Managing Director
My first job in publishing was assistant receptionist at the Bodley Head in London’s Covent Garden in the middle of Swinging London in the 60s before becoming the youngest ever educational representative into schools at the age of 19, a record held to this very day. Having lived overseas and holding a number of positions at three independent publishing companies, I joined Piatkus Books in its infancy in 1982 and with Judy Piatkus and others, built Piatkus Books to being one of the most successful UK independent publishing houses of its time, which we sold in 2007. I became MD of Icon two years ago after some time as their non-executive director. Publishing is more than a career – it is a stimulating and enjoyable lifestyle.

Andrew Furlow, Sales & Marketing Director
andrew@iconbooks.com / 0207 700 9961
I joined Icon in the dog days of the 20th century and have worked since at the heart of almost everything Icon does. I am now specifically responsible for our sales throughout the world and the relationships we have with the people that are most important to us – you, our readers! I also manage US rights and translation rights. I am, in no particular order, a cyclist, runner, fan of contemporary fiction and 20th century history, and bass player! My favourite book is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Duncan Heath, Editorial Director
I joined Icon in 1994, shortly after the company was founded, and since then I have worked in all aspects of editorial and production. I am now lucky enough to be in overall charge of commissioning new titles across Icon’s list, and, with three other editors, ensuring that we produce the very best books we can. My favourite book is As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee, with Animal Farm a close second. Having said that, in my free time I’m most likely to be reading P.G. Wodehouse or Hollywood biographies.

Leena Normington, Publicity Manager
I joined Icon Books in 2013. I spend my time off wishing I was a cross between Caitlin Moran and Joan of Arc, but usually end up living a life reminiscent of Mr. Bump. When I’m not reading books, I’m reviewing them or organising events surrounding them. Working for Icon Books was third on my list of dreams, after wizard and Blue Peter Presenter. I think I’m doing pretty well. My favourite book is Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland.

Sue Cracknell, Accounts Manager
I joined Icon Books in 2006 as a part time bookkeeper. Coming from a banking background, publishing was a whole new world for me. But working with the small, but friendly and professional team here at Icon made it so easy and I now run the accounts office.  Away from the numbers and computer screen, I like to cook for my now grown up family, potter in my garden, and pull on my walking boots whenever I can explore the countryside. Of course, always finding the time to sneak off with what ever book I’m reading at the time.

Kiera Jamison, Series Commissioning Editor
I joined Icon in 2014 after cutting my teeth as a commissioning editor in academic publishing. Rolling together a passion for learning with a love of comics, I’m now living the dream, looking after the Introducing Graphic Guides, as well as other great series, like the Practical Guides and the Magpies. I’m also on the lookout for great new series titles and ideas to add to our stable. When not working, I like to read graphic novels or anything involving teenage heroines, pretend that coffee-making is an art to be perfected, and try to convince my twin sister that we’re not too old to finally learn instruments and form a band. My list of all-time favourite books is ever-increasing, but somewhere near the top of this stack will always be Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

Nira Begum, Editor
I’ve been at Icon since 2013. I read agented and un-agented submissions and I’m on the lookout for interesting and commercial non-fiction across all genres. I copy-edit and proofread manuscripts and take care of various editorial and production processes. When I’m not working I’m busy planning events for the Society of Young Publishers. And when I’m not doing anything publishing related I enjoy the couch potato lifestyle, watching reruns of Fraiser, the best TV show ever to be made (fact!). One of my favourite books is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

Tom Webber, Commissioning Editor
I joined Icon in 2015 as a commissioning editor, and am looking to acquire strong narratives across a range of genres: including but not limited to memoirs, histories, popular science and biographies. I like stories that seamlessly blend styles, genres and ideas, and that open up many different directions of investigation and analysis at once. In my non-working life I tend to spend more time with fiction, and I love Gogol, Hrabal, Patrick Hamilton and Houellebecq. Currently I am an Elena Ferrante nut. I also frequently re-read the greatest work of non-fiction of all time: God’s Fifth Column:  A biography of the age 1890-1940 by William Gerhardie. Or, on other days, Roger’s Profanisaurus.

Michael Sells, Sales Executive
Having only joined Icon in July 2013 my role is still growing and evolving all the while. My work primarily focuses on sales analysis and ensuring that our books are delivered on time to the right people, but I have many other duties to keep me on my toes! Away from the world of books I spend most of my time collecting CDs, cassettes and vinyl, whilst ruing the fact that I wasn’t alive to witness the great Leeds United side of the 1970s! Albert Camus’ L’Étranger sits proudly atop my tower of favourite books.

Steven White, Marketing and Rights Executive
I joined Icon in September 2014 after spending some time in the world of audiobook publishing. My list of duties at Icon is long and varied, but you’ll most likely find me generously applying glitter and glue to all the right places. It depends on my mood, but a couple of my favourite books are Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut and A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgård.

Stevie Finegan, Publicity and Digital Sales Coordinator
I joined Icon in early 2015, after years of flapping about bookstores trying to persuade customers not to chew the hardbacks. Apart from minor instances of actually publicising, I’m convinced the key elements of my professional success are found in typing furiously and consuming copious amounts of tea. My favourite books are the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, yes all seven of them. How could I possibly pick but one!