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Barry Cunningham (publisher)

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Barry Cunningham OBE (born 19 December 1952) is a British publisher, who worked for various publishers including Penguin Books and Bloomsbury before setting up Chicken House publishing in 2000.[1] He is most well known for signing J. K. Rowling and publishing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Cunningham was born on 19 December 1952 in London. He was educated at Malvern College before studying English Literature at Cambridge University.

Career in publishing[edit]

Cunningham began working at Penguin in 1977 and held the position of marketing director in 1989. He later joined Bloomsbury,[3] where he initiated Bloomsbury Children’s Books.[4] While in this position he signed J.K Rowling and published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.[5][6][7]

In 2000, Cunningham left Bloomsbury to start the Chicken House, a publisher of children’s fiction that specializes in new writers. Barry also published the books of New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke.[8][9]

In 2010, Cunningham received an OBE in recognition of his contribution to children’s literature.[10]

Notable awards[edit]


  1. ^ Valerie Grove (6 May 2010). So Much To Tell. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-0-670-91885-0.
  2. ^ Connie Ann Kirk (1 January 2003). J.K. Rowling: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-0-313-32205-1.
  3. ^ Philip W. Errington (26 February 2015). J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography 1997-2013. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 3–. ISBN 978-1-84966-976-4.
  4. ^ Karlin Sloan (12 June 2006). Smarter, Faster, Better: Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 216–. ISBN 978-0-7879-8587-5.
  5. ^ "That magical day when Barry met Harry". The Scotsman.
  6. ^ "JK Rowling based her Casual Vacancy character on me, says man who set author on the road to riches". The Telegraph.
  7. ^ Gerard P. Hodgkinson; William H. Starbuck (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Decision Making. Oxford Handbooks Online. pp. 92–. ISBN 978-0-19-929046-8.
  8. ^ Barbara A. Lehman; Evelyn B. Freeman; Patricia L. Scharer (20 September 2010). Reading Globally, K–8: Connecting Students to the World Through Literature. SAGE Publications. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-1-4129-7392-2.
  9. ^ Anita Silvey (30 October 2012). Children's Book-a-Day Almanac. Roaring Brook Press. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-1-4668-2804-9.
  10. ^ a b "Queen's Birthday Honours - the full list. The Telegraph.
  11. ^ a b c "Branford Boase Award Previous Winners". Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2013.

External links[edit]