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The Firefly team
Penny Thomas, Publisher, Firefly
Penny is a compulsive reader and has been since she first learnt to read. She took a degree in English at Keble
College, Oxford, and worked as an editorial assistant in London before moving to Cardiff to train as a journalist in 1998.
After fourteen years in regional journalism and two kids she took a proofreading course and realised publishing was for her.
She has since freelanced for many great presses and been part-time fiction editor for literary publisher Seren Books since 2006. She never got over that early love of books, so Firefly is a long-cherished ambition. Books for children and
teenagers have moved on since those dark ages of course, although classics remain, but she is determined that Firefly
books will inspire readers in just the same way.
Favourite children’s books:
'Way too many to mention, so this bit might keep changing, but one favourite was A Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. There was a copy in the local library, with colour plates, that I had out on almost permanent loan, so nobody else nearby could have read it much. I thought I was alone in this until someone called JK something announced it had been her favourite book as a child too – making the rights that much harder to come by! It fed a love of countryside and magic, seahorses, turret rooms and salmon-pink geraniums...'
Janet Thomas, Editor, Firefly
Janet is a freelance editor and member of the Honno Management Committee. After studying English at UCL, she worked in children’s books in London for several years, before going freelance when she moved home to Wales. She loves the chance to work with writers and illustrators.
Favourite children’s books:
‘So many. I wanted to be Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman, I remember making up stories about all the characters at the edges of the pictures in Richard Scarry’s What do People do All Day? and I loved Jill Tomlinson’s The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark. A bit older, I read and reread Watership Down and The Secret Garden and any Roald Dahl or adventure story I could get my hands on. But, then and now, I love almost everything. I think my favourite book is really whatever I’m going to read next.’
‘I grew up on a diet of children's book classics given to me by my mum and I have continued reading children's books for most of my adult life both for work and to my own children. As a kid I used to obsessively read the Swallows and Amazons and Little House on the Prairie books over and over again, reenacting Nancy and Laura's adventures at every opportunity. I also loved the Moonintroll books, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, The Lord of Rings, Treasure Island, the Narnia series, Willard Price's Adventure series, The Borrowers, the magic of the Carbonel books, everything by Roald Dahl and E Nesbit. I then moved on to the romance of the Anne of Green Gables series (Gilbert Blythe was my first book character crush) and the passion and drama of classics such as Oliver Twist and Wuthering Heights and the horror that Anne Frank's Diary exposed. Some of the best books I have read in the past 15 years have been children's books, including Junk, Holes, Framed, The Graveyard Book, the Harry Potter series and anything written by Meg Rosoff, Patrick Ness and Eva Ibbotson ... I could go on and on!’
Children's writer Catherine Fisher, author of Incarceron and many other great children's books
Author and editor Francesca Rhydderch (The Rice Paper Diaries)
Author Dan Anthony (The Rugby Zombies)
Rights and contracts supremo Nikki Griffiths
Our Dragonfly series is part-funded by the Welsh Books Council, and we are very grateful to them for their support!