In Conversation with Sanjee de Silva

Posted in Neem Tree Blog on July 1, 2021

Sanjee de Silva is a relatively recent addition to the Sweet Cherry team and comes from an amazingly diverse background – from being an accounts manager and brand manager for companies like Ralph Lauren and Selfridges but also as a fashion stylist and as a general manager in the construction industry. He brings a wonderfully varied perspective to the company and values a truly inclusiveness and collaborative management style.  

To start us off, what do you love most about the publishing industry? 

What I love most about the industry is the power to influence young minds through young eyes, and it’s a responsibility I take seriously. I would like Sweet Cherry Publishing to be a supporter of parent and teachers, not only as an educational tool but as a source of inspiration and escapism for every reader we reach. 

Coming from a background outside of the industry, what drew you to publishing, and more specifically, to children’s books? 

I am always looking for a way of leaving a legacy for future generations. We all have responsibility to make the world a better place and children’s book publishing gives me the opportunity to make a difference. 

Congratulations on being named the British Books Awards Small Press of the Year 2021! What do you think makes Sweet Cherry Publishing unique? 

Our Leicester roots make us stand out from the crowd and naturally this makes our workforce so diverse. As it’s Pride Month, we are proud of the fact that we are owned and run by LGBTQ+ individuals. We think it makes a real difference to our creative processes and the books we publish. 

Why do you feel it’s important for there to be diversity within the publishing industry itself?  

Diversity should be natural, like it has been for us. It shouldn’t be about hitting a quota or reaching a statistic. Winning Small Press of the Year 2021 has made us look inwardly to see how we can do any more. There is a lot we can all learn from each other and I would encourage other publishers to do the same. 

Do you have any advice for people aspiring to work in the publishing industry? 

Keep at it, keep going and keep submitting. You only have one life to live and you should live it doing something you love. We support the independent publishers of the future get into publishing and think outside the box when it comes to recruitment. Often we find that by recruiting outside of the industry we not only bring transferable skills but fresh thinking, which is exactly what the industry needs. 

Thank you so much for speaking with Neem Tree Press, Sanjee!