Marion Lloyd has announced that she will be retiring from her job as editorial director of Marion Lloyd Books in November. Lloyd launched her eponymous list, an imprint of Scholastic, seven years ago and has built up a reputation for publishing outstanding new authors such as Ally Kennen and Moira Young, winner of the 2012 Costa Award, alongside new books by established authors including Philip Reeve.
Lloyd is highly respected for the quality of the books she has edited and her readiness to embrace new writing as well as developing established talent. Kate Wilson, managing director of Nosy Crow, who has a long working relationship with Lloyd, told PW, “It’s hard for me to imagine the U.K. children’s book industry without Marion Lloyd. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for 14 years – first at Macmillan Children’s Books and then when she came to Scholastic. She's hugely knowledgeable and has excellent taste.”
Lloyd’s career in publishing began when at just 20 she became the editor of Armada, a popular paperback list that included ghost books, pony books and joke and quiz books. She moved on to become publishing director of children’s books at Pan, where she launched the careers of Morris Gleitzman and Sharon Creech, worked with teen writers Judy Blume and Paula Danziger, and bought early novels by Philip Pullman. It was here too that she began what was to be a lifelong editorial relationship with Eva Ibbotson, author of over 25 titles including the prize winning Journey to the River Sea. Lloyd worked briefly for the Red House BookClub before returning to Pan Macmillan as editorial director of its newly integrated children’s lists. Under her guidance and by bringing new authors to the company, including Michael Morpurgo and Lian Hearn, children’s publishing at Macmillan shifted from being a loss-maker to the biggest contributor to the company’s publishing profits.
The opportunity to run her own list saw Lloyd move to Scholastic, where she quickly established an imprint which reflected her ability and confidence in finding new talent and nurturing it. Ally Kennen, all of whose books have been published by Marion Lloyd Books, was on a master’s course in creative writing when her first novel was picked out by Lloyd.
“Marion chose Beast, my debut novel, as the first book on her new imprint, and from the minute I started working with her I knew the book was in the hands of a real expert,” Kennen said. “She has a gift for nuturing and improving authors. She makes you feel that any problem, no matter how huge, can be fixed and has a cunning way of steering you to solutions, so stealthily, you believe you thought of it yourself. Every author dreams of having a champion, someone who believes passionately in their work and will do their utmost to elevate it. I’ve been beyond lucky to have had Marion, and the confidence and support she has given me has been crucial to my career.”
Lloyd, who will turn 60 in the fall, will continue to run Marion Lloyd Books for the rest of 2012. Summed up her career for PW, she said, “My life in children’s books has been the most inspiring, happy and privileged one, and I feel incredibly proud and lucky to have worked with many wonderful writers during my 40 years as an editor. Now I am looking forward to a retirement that will be full of new adventures.”