London Writers Network
Meet the Publishers

First came the Agents, then the Editors, now Spread the Word invites you to Meet the Publishers...

A panel of literary publishers – Crystal Mahey-Morgan from OWN IT!, Gary Budden and Kit Caless from Influx Press, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf from Cassava Republic, Valerie Brandes from Jacaranda Books, and Clare Bogen from 3 of Cups will lead a special insight session into the realms of literature publishing. This will include an outline of the publishing process, ways in which writers can take their work to the next stage and top tips on how to approach a publisher.

After the talk, you are welcome and encouraged to chat to the publishers and meet fellow writers at a warm social event curated by Spread the Word. The event is open to all and tickets are available for non-members to buy for £6 (standard) or £4 (concessions).

Discounted and free places

This event is free to attend for members of Spread the Word’s London Writers Network as part of their membership offer, which includes access to two free London Writers Network events a year.  If you’re a London Writers Network member, please login to book your free place. Interested in joining the London Writers Network? Membership is open to all.

To see if you are eligible for a concession ticket rate, please take a look at our concessions policy.


Idea Store Whitechapel


Crystal Mahey-Morgan

Founder of OWN IT!


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Crystal Mahey-Morgan is the founder of OWN IT! Entertainment Limited. OWN IT! is a storytelling lifestyle brand, telling stories across books, music, fashion and film. At the heart of everything it does is a desire to share, empower, celebrate and inspire.

Gary Budden

Influx Press


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Gary is a writer and editor at Influx Press. Influx Press publish stories from the margins of culture, specific geographical spaces and sites of resistance that remain under explored in mainstream literature.

Kit Caless

Influx Press


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Gary is a writer and editor at Influx Press. Influx Press publish stories from the margins of culture, specific geographical spaces and sites of resistance that remain under explored in mainstream literature.

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

Co-founder at Cassava Republic


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Bibi is co-founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s leading publishing houses, Cassava Republic Press. The press aims to change the way the world thinks about African writing.

Valerie Brandes

Founder and publisher at Jacaranda Books


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Valerie Brandes is the Founder & Publisher of diversity-focused, independent publishing house Jacaranda Books, and one of the top 100 most influential Black Britons according to the Powerlist 2018.
Armed with a bookselling and editorial background, a MA in Publishing Studies from City University, and professional experience at Profile Books, in 2012 Valerie decided to start her own publishing venture.
In addition to publishing diverse voices from the UK, Jacaranda Books has introduced international voices from Africa, Asia and the Americas to the UK market, including books in translation. The company has published multiple award winners such as Irenosen Okojie (Butterfly Fish, Speak Gigantular) and Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Tram 83). Its non-fiction titles include Rest in Power: the Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Cyrus Bozorgmehr. Jacaranda also publishes diverse genre fiction, including Paula Lennon’s new Caribbean detective series beginning with Murder in Montego Bay.
Valerie is an ardent promoter of diversity and inclusivity in publishing, and a staunch supporter of social justice. She served on the committee for Equip and Fiction Uncovered, and has given talks across the UK on publishing, inclusivity and female entrepreneurship.

Email Valerie at valerie@jacarandabooksartmusic.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @valrey

Clare Bogen

Editorial Director and Founder of 3 of Cups Press


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Clare Bogen (she/her) is an editorial director and a founder of 3 of Cups Press. She has a B.A. from Queen Mary University of London and an M.A. from University College London both in comparative literature focusing on writing from Aotearoa New Zealand. She is head of marketing & publicity, North America at I.B.Tauris publishers.

Half-kiwi, half-American she spends most of her non-book life explaining her national identity to strangers.

She tweets at @clarebot about American electoral politics and her own face.