Gráinne Clear has been promoted to Senior Commissioning Editor at Walker Books
Gráinne Clear joined Walker in July 2019 as a Senior Editor and was promoted to Commissioning Editor in February 2020.
Before joining Walker, she was Publishing Manager and Art Director at Little Island Books for six years.
While at Little Island, Clear was chosen as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2017, and the press was awarded Irish Small Press of the Year at the 2019 British Book Awards.
She worked on a number of award-winning titles, including Deirdre Sullivan’s Tangleweed and Brine (Irish Book Awards YA Book of the Year 2017, Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year 2017).
Clear is excited about the publication of two books by debut authors: Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin and The Secret Wild by Alex Evelyn. In July, she’s thrilled to be publishing The Immortal Palace by MT. Khan.
“There’s nothing quite like working with brand new voices, and almost every book I’ve acquired since starting at Walker has been by a debut writer – Ann Sei Lin, Alex Evelyn, Kelis Rowe, M.T. Khan and Alasdair Beckett-King among them!”
At Walker so far, Clear has loved working on Irish author Caroline O’Donoghue’s Gifts trilogy. “It’s been a joy working on books set in an Irish town and secondary school, among teenagers I so closely relate to, but with that everyday experience brought to the max with magic!”
Best part of the job
It’s almost impossible to pick the best part of her job, but “it’s probably the early editorial stage of diving into a manuscript with an author and figuring out what’s working well, what needs work, what needs to be shifted and tweaked – and working all of that out together in a creative way.”
She also loves working with her colleagues in design “as the physical object of the book is so incredibly important – to me, to the author, and most importantly to the reader.”
“I’m looking to acquire remarkable fiction – of all genres and for all age groups, but with a voice, a story and a cast of characters that leaps off the page. I’m always on the lookout for new voices, but also working with established authors who have honed and mastered the craft that is writing for young people.”
“I recently commissioned Alasdair Beckett-King, a comedian, podcaster and writer who I really admire, to write a murder mystery series for children – and I’m hoping to do more of this kind of commissioning: finding new voices for young readers among those who haven’t written for children before, but who are talented storytellers and creators in another field.”
YA publishing in superb place
Clear says that children’s and YA publishing is in a “superb place”. “Young people are consuming books at an amazing rate, and there is more and more calls for books that are different than what’s been published for the last few decades: stories that are inclusive and diverse, representing different people, lives and experiences than we’ve seen on the page before,” she said.
“The market is starting to feel representative of its readers, of Ireland and the UK and the wider world. Young people are so smart, so open-minded and are big readers – it gives me so much hope for the future.”