David Fickling, who has been publisher of his eponymous imprint at Random House Children's Publishing U.K. for 12 years, is leaving the company. After a brief transitional period he will launch David Fickling Books as an independent venture in July 2013. In a statement announcing the departure, Philippa Dickinson, managing director of Random House Children's Publishing U.K., gave the company’s support to the move: “I have always known that, in his heart of hearts, David wanted one day to publish independently.”
Fickling will be chairman of the new company, and author and editor Simon Mason will take on the role of managing director. "As a small, independent publisher we have to be nimble enough to take full advantage of fast-changing market conditions," Mason told PW. "But even more importantly, we have to be free to focus on our very traditional core mission: to work with fabulous authors and illustrators on their books."
Some of the writers and illustrators Fickling has published include Philip Pullman, John Boyne, Mark Haddon, Nick Sharratt, and Jacqueline Wilson, who said, “Of anybody I’ve ever known in the world of children’s books, David Fickling is the one that cares most about children’s literature.” Wilson first worked Fickling when he backed her idea for the feisty girl character that stars in 1991's The Story of Tracy Beaker and its sequels, all illustrated by Nick Sharratt. In turn, Sharratt – who had been given his first contract as an illustrator by Fickling for 1987's Noisy Poems, collected by Jill Bennett – said, “David hired me to illustrate my first children’s novel, The Story of Tracy Beaker, and in so doing initiated my working partnership with Jacqueline Wilson. With his encouragement I found the confidence to develop my own writing style, resulting in a string of picture books. I always love working with David – his wonderful enthusiasm and his amazing sense of just what is needed to make a particular book work."
Mark Haddon, whose YA edition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was published by Fickling in 2003, added, “With his taste, his track record, his boundless enthusiasm, and his good old fashioned anti-corporate eccentricity, I can think of few people more suited than David for running a successful independent publishing house."