expert judges_meet shannon

Following the exciting announcement of Penguin Random House UK’s sponsorship of our Blogger category earlier this week, the Future8 team were thrilled to meet up with Shannon Cullen, Future8 expert judge and Publisher at Penguin Random House UK. We discussed Shannon’s inspiring experience in the publishing industry and discussed the important link between creativity and technology.


Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your background in the publishing world?

“I was born in New Zealand and I’m now the publisher for Puffin Fiction at Penguin Random House UK Children’s. I previously worked on the Primary Literacy list at Collins Education and at Random House as a commissioning editor, and in 2008 I was co-chair of the Children’s Book Circle. I have twice chaired the Muslim Writers Award for an Unpublished Children’s Story, judged the inaugural Undiscovered Voices competition, and helped to establish the Commonword Diversity Writing for Children Prize in 2012. I have worked with a wide range of authors, including John Green, Jeremy Strong, Anna Perera, Lucy and Stephen Hawking, Alex Scarrow, Sufiya Ahmed and Anthony McGowan. I love discovering new authors and publishing books that have a lasting effect on readers.”


We’d love to hear some more about your role at Penguin Random House UK. What kind of aspects are you involved in?

“I am the publisher for children’s and teenage fiction at Penguin Random House UK Children’s, which means I’m one of the people who read and buy the books for our list. We receive submissions from literary agents, but we’re also always on the lookout for new voices that come from other places, like blogs or vlogs. I also work with the design team on the cover for the book, as well as marketing, publicity and sales, to make sure readers discovers the great stories we publish. One of the nicest parts of my job is working with authors, who are wonderfully creative and always come up with fantastic ideas.”


How do you think technology and creativity are linked?

“I think creativity and technology are linked very closely, as technology can be adapted or hacked to work in a way that isn’t always the original intention. Bringing stories or opinions to life online through blogs is one way that we’ve become a much more global world – sharing everything from a great new recipe, to local opinion on the latest breaking news. I once heard that the number of hours it took to collate Wikipedia is the same that Americans spend watching adverts on TV in one weekend. So imagine if instead of watching ads we created something as great as Wikipedia every weekend – wouldn’t that be amazing?”

Shannon will be one of our expert judges deciding the winner of The Future8 Awards Blogger category. Inspired to enter? Simply go to the website and hit APPLY to get started! You’ll need to include a link to a blog or vlog that you have created, plus really impress our judges by including a description of your passion for blogging and why you got started! Enter now for a chance to impress our judges like Shannon and win a life changing prize from our sponsor Penguin Random House UK!

Getting ready to enter or excited about starting your first blog?  Be sure to check out Shannon’s Tips & Inspiration blog post !