Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham OBE is one of the world's leading children's publishers. After an English degree at Cambridge, he joined Penguin Books in 1977. As Children’s Marketing Director for Puffin, he worked with all the great names in children’s books including Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan, and was responsible for the re-launch of Beatrix Potter. In 1984 he was promoted to the Penguin Board and became responsible for the marketing of all Penguin Books, a position he held until 1988 when he was headhunted by Random House.

In 1992 Barry left London to move to the country and start a second family, but he returned in 1994 when he was approached by Bloomsbury to set up their first children’s book list. Not only was the new list a success, but Barry became one of the best known names in publishing after he signed up J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Ms. Rowling has publicly acknowledged his creative and commercial contribution.

Missing family and country-life, Barry left Bloomsbury happily at the height of his success. Soon after, in early 2000 he decided to start his own publishing company. The result was Chicken House, a lively and creative company publishing highly original and enjoyable children’s books, with a special emphasis on new fiction writing.

He was awarded the very prestigious Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature by the Queen of England in 2010. He is married with children who love reading too!

Chicken House is the home of new writing in the UK and elsewhere, and is one of the most respected Children's Publishers in English. Chicken House publishes ground breaking original talent—including New York Times Bestsellers, Cornelia Funke, James Dashner—and a wonderful array of new middle grade talent—including The Beetle Boy, Girl of Ink and Stars and the Who Let The Gods Out? series.

Winner of the Children's Book of the Year in 2017 (Girl of Ink and Stars) and well known for its annual Times/The Chicken House New Writers competition, Chicken House has also recently run a very successful new competition for writers in conjunction with Scholastic Asia—again reaching out to new talent. Chicken House publishes around the world as its own imprint in the UK, USA and Germany and in translation with over 40 foreign language partners. Chicken House is a now an independent part of the Scholastic Group—one of the largest children's publishers in the world, giving it unique access to even more readers in schools, bookshops and homes.

Chicken House has grown to be one of the most successful and well regarded of all international children’s lists, publishing around the world with many translator partners.

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