About Portobello Books
Portobello Books is one of Britain’s younger independent publishing imprints, but it has already won a strong reputation as a home to original and independent-minded writers, many of them from outside the UK, and a third of them coming into English in translation. We aim to give our readers books that are enlightening and searching, with a particular focus on non-fiction. We offer our writers a creative, innovative, and supportive environment.
The company was founded in 2005 by the philanthropist Sigrid Rausing, the Academy Award-winning film producer Eric Abraham and the publisher Philip Gwyn Jones. Its first books, published that autumn, were Jeremy Leggett’s Half Gone, Nasrin Alavi’s We Are Iran, Gina Ochsner’s People I Wanted To Be and Glen Neath’s The Outgoing Man – urgent non-fiction in ground-breaking form, outstanding short stories from America via Eastern Europe, and highly experimental British fiction.
In 2006, Sigrid Rausing acquired Granta magazine and Granta Books, and merged the two companies. She is the publisher of all entities, whilst Philip Gwyn Jones is Executive Publisher of both book imprints. Granta Books and Portobello Books share design, sales, marketing, publicity, rights and production departments. We are also part of the Independent Alliance.
In 2009, Portobello Books was short-listed for the Independent Publisher of the Year Award.
Here are some of the things that people have generously said about us:
‘Portobello’s intelligent risk-taking is more than a blessing’
‘An idealistic publisher intent on doing something about the shamefully small proportion of foreign literature whose existence our country acknowledges’ Michel Faber
‘I’m pretty much expecting everything Portobello does to end up in my Must Read pile’ Douglas Coupland
‘The times call for courage and Portobello has arrived. Fearless, risk-taking publishing’ Naomi Klein
‘Elegant, edgy, original: essential beacons for illuminating our cloudy times. How much we need them’ Amy Tan
‘I am delighted to see something so elegant and classy coming back to the world of books’ Patricia Duncker
‘Britain is changing as rapidly as the wider world around it changes. We need great books that help us keep up with and understand those changes (and that are fun to read too), and I hope that Portobello is able to get them out to a really broad readership’ Meera Syal
‘If a Portobello book doesn’t surprise and impress you, you probably wrote it’ Tim Moore
‘We have a dearth of literature in translation compared with the countries of mainland Europe. If it wasn't for adventurous publishers like Portobello Books,we wouldn't have any at all’ Guardian Books