Where We Are Now
Due to members retiring from the board after time served, we are looking for new advisory board members to help us work well for Literature and – more specifically – for our books, their authors and all who work for the books’ success.
No board experience is necessary; we welcome all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. If you are interested in applying but have any questions about whether you could do it, please do write to us. We can make adjustments and have set aside money for such needs, including childcare. All board meetings are currently online and if we do occasionally decide to meet in person (probably in London), we’ll make it a hybrid meeting so members can join in remotely.
We are a not-for-profit company keen to continue to be part of a change in publishing, through initiatives to improve inclusivity and sustainability, but also need to be a successful business in order publish well. Most of our income comes from book sales; some from grants and funders, the largest of whom is Arts Council England (ACE).
Our current board members are listed here:
Unlike a charity’s board of trustees, the advisory board has no legal responsibilities in terms of governance, but board members have the opportunity to see their help and guidance benefit the press, and to see how an independent publisher works from the inside. And Other Stories grew out of a series of open brainstorming meetings and we hope the advisory board will also be a place for creative discussion.
In addition, ACE requires its funded organisations to have an active board that is ‘independent of the organisation’s leadership’, by which it means: one which can report on the organisation to ACE every quarter, and discuss the organisation with ACE if required. ACE have laid out in detail their requirements of boards of any ACE National Portfolio Organisations from April 2023 onwards.
It’s worth stating that the board is not involved in choosing our future books. (That happens in meetings with our contributing editors, and also informally via suggestions from our network of expert readers and our reading groups.)
We welcome applicants who will be critical friends of the press, including speaking out where they think things aren’t working, rather than just saying what we want to hear. We are particularly looking for people who fit one or more of these descriptions:
- people with the time and aptitude to be a chairperson for much of 2024-26, incl. oversight on reporting (training can be provided, and it’s an amazing experience, says our outgoing chair);
- people with experience of running a small business, of marketing, of book sales, of HR, of finance and accounting (to put your minds at rest: the board members advise us on how to work well, but will not be asked to volunteer as a book-keeper, for example);
- people with experience in related but different small literary or arts sector organisations (or in running a big organisation like the BBC or an insurance company, just by way of examples . . .);
- people with the training or experience to help us become better advocates for writers of colour; people who are perhaps willing to consult on long-term anti-racism strategies to improve personal practice as well as to challenge (publicly) the biases still evident in the industry;
- people with a strong interest in questions of sustainability and ecology and ideally the knowledge of how this relates to publishing and our work;
- literature or arts sector people from our South Yorkshire / Sheffield home region (and the wider North Midlands / North of England area) who are keen to support our work of being an ambitious, internationalist provincial (with two feet in London too);
- translators and authors (obviously!).
We are particularly keen to create more balance on the board, including (but not only) more members:
- from marginalised backgrounds and communities
- aged 18-30
And Other Stories does not always succeed, but it aims to always be inclusive and work to open up publishing. We welcome applications from people who have no prior board experience and people who may be unsure if they can apply. If you’re interested in being on the board, but have not had previous experience in this type of role, we can offer a full introduction to what the role entails as part of an induction process. We can also offer ‘board buddying’ to help settle new members into the role during the first year. If you are unsure of applying, please do get in touch and we can chat about it. We’re happy to make adjustments at the application stage or during board meetings in order to make them accessible to all.
Being a board member
And Other Stories’ team, contributing editors and advisors live in various locations and countries and are all invited to attend advisory board meetings. The board meetings will be online, at suitable time, eg 3pm UK time / 10am New York time.
Board meetings take place four times per year and members are expected to attend the majority of meetings, to follow and read some of the books we publish, and to participate outside the meetings according to expertise.
The post is not a remunerated position. Members are recruited for an initial 3-year term of office. Membership can be reviewed after 3 years of service and trustees can be re-appointed. Members can resign at any time.
Our recruitment process
Our process for appointing new members begins with an open call for applications. Submissions are then reviewed by the advisory board and publisher, who then shortlist candidates against an agreed set of criteria of skills and experience. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to an online interview. Final decisions will be made on merit.
Our aim is to make the recruitment as open and accountable as possible. The following are taken into consideration when identifying needs:
- The current skills base and balance of the board
- New skills and expertise identified as desirable for the company
- The geographical make-up of the board as it relates to our work
- Diversity and gender equality on the board
How to apply
If this sounds like an exciting prospect for you, please send a one-page covering letter and biography or CV/resume stating what you feel that you can bring to the role to Stefan Tobler, publisher, firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2024, with the subject line Board Application.
Please let us know what time zone you live in, and if it is one where a 3pm UK / 10am New York board meeting time would be difficult, please address this in your application.
We will reply initially in early February 2024 with an acknowledgement of receipt and then with an answer after the next board meeting, which meets by the end of March 2024.
If you have any questions, he would be happy to hear from you. If for any reason, including disability or caring responsibilities, you require any adjustments that would help as part of the application process, please do let us know and we’d be happy to adjust the process for you. We are keen to hear about what you need in order to do your best in the recruitment process. (And the same for the board role itself, of course.)