Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A Q&A with Kate Farquhar-Thomson, Head of publicity

From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. Kate Farquhar-Thomson came to Oxford University Press in 1999 in search of a country life – and found it! Today finds her heading up an almost (apart from the Americas) global PR team for the Oxford University Press’s academic division, incorporating history, science, literature, music, law, medicine, politics and economics and cheese (yes really). We sat down with Kate to talk about her publishing career and what it’s like to work for OUP.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

The morning which is when I get most done (and which starts with over an hour walking my dog!)

What’s the least enjoyable part of your day?

The afternoon – it is always too short!

What was your first job in publishing?

Working at Foyles Bookshop back in the Christina Foyle and Victor Stimac days, before entering publishing proper at John Calder Publishers who were then publishing William Burroughs, Sam Beckett, and Henry Miller!

Who inspires you most in the publishing industry and why?

Peter Florence, Director of The Hay Festival, who has got his work life balance just right!

What will you be doing once you’ve completed this Q&A?

Going into a meeting.

kate-ft
Kate Farquhar-Thomson. Used with permission of the author.

Tell us about one of your proudest moments at work.

Getting Peter Atkins’ Galileo’s Finger into the Top Ten Sunday Time Best Seller list – a rare thing at OUP.

What drew you to work for OUP in the first place?

As a publicity director in London and having worked there for 13 years I wanted to move back out to the countryside for quality of life and less partying! It worked!

What is the most exciting project you have been part of while working at OUP?

Because it was different – liaising with Buckingham Palace on the visit by HRH The Queen a few years ago to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

How would you sum your job up in 3 words?

Lots of talking (and lots of schmoozing…)

What is your most obscure talent or hobby?

I go beating with a pheasant shoot every week during the shooting season over winter with my spaniel Alfie.

What is the longest book you’ve ever read?

American Tabloid trilogy by James Ellroy as I used to be his publicist.

What is your favorite animal?

Donkey, I grew up with one called Neddy.

Featured image credit: Books by Mikhail Pavstyuk. Public domain via Unsplash.

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