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Industry Insider – Imagining 2021: The future for writers and creators

19 November @ 18:30 - 19:30 GMT

Virtual Event

Following our AGM, join us for an industry insider discussion on the future for writers and creators in a global pandemic – including the likely effects of the pandemic on the future of books, the rise of self-publishing, the need for diversity and the impact of Brexit. Panellists include Philip Jones (The Bookseller); Sharmaine Lovegrove (Dialogue Books), literary agent Isobel Dixon and broadcaster Alan Dein. Chaired by children’s author Candy Gourlay.

Send us your questions in advance

Please send any question in advance to Sophia Jackson with ‘Imagining 2020 – Panel Discussion’ in the subject header.

SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our Blackwell’s virtual store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate link a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line-up

Alan Dein – Historian and broadcaster
Alan Dein is an oral historian and award-winning radio documentary maker. He currently presents Don’t Log Off on the BBC World Service. His oral history recordings are held in numerous institutions and archives including The British Library, The Museum of London, The Royal Parks, The Guardian, and The Jewish Museum.
Alan Dein’s Twitter

Isobel Dixon – MD and Head of Books, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency
Isobel Dixon represents bestselling and prizewinning writers from around the world. Her clients’ work includes contemporary, historical and literary fiction, crime and thrillers, memoir, biography and narrative history. She is a Trustee of the National Centre for Writing in Norwich, on the Board of BTBS The Book Trade Charity and President of the Association of Authors’ Agents. As poet, her most recent collection, Bearings, is published by Nine Arches, who will also bring out The Landing in 2021.
www.isobeldixon.com | Isobel Dixon’s Twitter

Candy Gourlay (Chair) – Children’s author
Candy Gourlay was born in the Philippines, grew up under a dictatorship and met her husband during a revolution. Her latest novel Bone Talk was shortlisted for the 2019 Costa Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Candy worked as a web designer at the dawning of the internet and is fascinated by the power and failings of social media.
Candy Gourlay’s website | Candy Goulay’s Twitter

Philip Jones – Editor of The Bookseller
Philip Jones is editor of The Bookseller. He joined the magazine in 1996 and is now a regular commentator on publishing matters in newspapers and on broadcast media. He also co-programmes the popular FutureBook publishing conference, and chairs the British Book Awards.
Philip Jones’ Twitter | The Bookseller’s Twitter |The Bookseller’s website

Sharmaine Lovegrove – Publisher, Dialogue Books, Little Brown Books

Sharmaine Lovegrove is the Publisher of Dialogue Books, an inclusive imprint, part of Little, Brown Book Group and Hachette UK. Sharmaine was the recipient of the Future Book Publishing Person of the Year 2018/19 and is inspired by innovative storytelling, and has worked in public relations, bookselling, events management and TV scouting. Home is London, she lives in Berlin and her roots are Jamaican – Sharmaine is proud to be part of the African diaspora and books make her feel part of the world.
Sharmaine Lovegrove’s Twitter | Dialogue Books

Any questions? Contact us


Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA @ Home Industry Insider online events are free to everyone but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. CLICK HERE TO DONATE


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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



19 November
18:30 - 19:30 GMT
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Sophia A Jackson