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Zaffre Publishing Group looks to the future with a series of editorial promotions

Taking the next steps in the division’s growth and long-term publishing strategy, Zaffre Publishing Group’s managing director Sarah Benton has announced a series of senior promotions and new roles within her editorial team.

Ben Willis has been promoted to publisher of Zaffre, with Sophie Orme elevated to the role of publisher of Manilla Press. Both roles will report directly into Benton.

Willis was previously publishing director for Zaffre, and is rewarded for his work running the division’s highly successful crime and thriller list having published the likes of Lynda La Plante, SJ Bennett, Rory Clements, Robert Peston, Lars Kepler, Rory Clements and Julie Mae Cohen over the last four years. In his new expanded role, he will have responsibility for leading the fiction list and team into the future. 

Orme, previously publishing director across both Zaffre and Manilla Press, has published a string of Sunday Times and international bestsellers during her six years at Bonnier Books UK. Achievements include the publication of Stacey Halls’ The Familiars (the bestselling debut novel of 2019) and her subsequent novels, driving T.M. Logan’s blockbuster thrillers, and publishing this year’s acclaimed Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons. In this new role, Orme will work alongside Benton to spearhead a refreshed strategy for Manilla Press.

In two further significant changes across the fiction teams, Kelly Smith becomes senior commissioning editor, Zaffre, with an expanded brief to commission science fiction and fantasy along with crime, and Isabella Boyne has been promoted to assistant editor, where she will begin acquiring her own titles in addition to supporting the wider team. Boyne joined the company through the Opening Doors work experience scheme in 2022. Zaffre and Manilla Press will also be recruiting several new editorial roles to join the team next year.

On the non-fiction side, Ciara Lloyd has been promoted to publishing director for Blink and John Blake. In the past year alone, she has published Michael Ball’s Different Aspects, Boy George’s forthcoming memoir Karma, Ashley Cain’s Strong, and Robert Jobson’s Sunday Times bestseller Our King alongside delivering significant growth at John Blake.

Commenting on the promotions, Sarah Benton said: “I’m so pleased to be making these changes to our existing editorial teams, rewarding the fantastic, hardworking talent here. Ben’s mix of long-term vision, creative thinking and reader focus is just what our commercial fiction list needs as we continue to grow. Sophie is one of the best commissioners I have ever worked with, with an outstanding eye for quality storytelling. Ciara is a non-fiction powerhouse, combining a lasered focused audience approach with super smart, profitable publishing. I can’t wait to see what they all bring to their new roles as we look to the future.”

Isabella Boyne’s promotion is effective immediately. All other changes will come into place on 1st January 2024.