2023 Rising Star shortlist announced

Rising Star Shortlist
2023 Rising Star shortlist, from left: Eloise Plant, Tom Langshaw, Genevieve Nelsson, Kathy O'Neill, Kajal Narayan
An ‘amazing group of innovators’ have been named on the shortlist for the 2023 Australian publishing industry’s Rising Star award, proudly supported by MediaSuper.

These five professionals are being recognised as emerging talents to watch in an industry where they’re already making a mark.

Congratulations to:

  • Tom Langshaw, commissioning editor, Pantera Press
  • Kajal Narayan, head of marketing, Pantera Press
  • Genevieve Nelsson, deputy head of marketing and publicity, Bloomsbury
  • Kathleen (Katty) O’Neill, metadata manager, Hardie Grant Books/Explore
  • Eloise Plant, digital marketing manager, HQ Books / HarperCollins

Nominated by their companies, the Rising Star award celebrates the ongoing excellence and growth of staff who commenced their publishing careers in the past ten years. The shortlist was selected by a panel of experts from publishing and related industries, comprising: Emma Cooper (Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership, formerly OUP), Tracy O'Shaughnessy (RMIT University), Anabel Pandiella (Allen & Unwin), Aviva Tuffield (UQP) and Patrizia Di Biase-Dyson (Australian Publishers Association). 

The judges said of the shortlist and nominees:

‘From editorial to metadata, marketing and publicity, we have an amazing group of innovators who are making real change in their areas of expertise, and will prove to be leaders in their fields in years to come. 

‘It was so hard to choose the shortlist from such a stellar selection of up-and-comers who are really having an impact across all areas of their businesses. All nominees should be recognised and commended for the value they bring to their businesses and our industry.’

The shortlistees will be appearing on a panel at the BookUp conference at the State Library Victoria in Melbourne on 16 August, and the winner will be announced at the networking drinks at the Fringe Common Rooms following the conference.

Get your tickets to the BookUp conference and networking drinks, with early bird sales ending on Friday 7 July.

Meet the Rising Stars shortlist

Learn more about the shortlisted Rising Stars below, and look out for interviews with them all ahead of BookUp.  

Tom Langshaw started his career in publishing as a Publishing and Editorial Assistant at Penguin Random House. In that role he assisted the Penguin Random House group Publishing Director; Nikki Christer and worked closely with many of Nikki's long-term authors, including Richard Flanagan, Evie Wyld, Drusilla Modjeska and Joan London. 

In 2017 Tom was promoted to editor at PRH and worked on a range of fiction and non-fiction titles. Highlights include the collection The Drover’s Wife by the late Frank Moorhouse and the runaway national bestseller The Resilience Project by Hugh van Cuylenburg. In 2020, Tom took a brief foray into audio production for the local PRH list, working with Yumiko Kadota on her ABIA-nominated audiobook for the bestselling Emotional Female and Nat’s What I Reckon on his first book. 

Tom began his current role of commissioning editor for the Pantera list in 2021, with a focus on memoir, narrative non-fiction and personal development titles. At Pantera he has worked on Caught in the Act, drag queen Courtney Act’s ABIA-nominated memoir, and bestseller and ABIA winner The Dreaming Path by Paul Callaghan. Authors he has commissioned for the Pantera list include journalist Elfy Scott, playwright Alana Valentine, writer James Colley and content creators Esmé Louise James, Deni Todorovic and Chantel Mila. In 2022 Tom was selected to participate in the APA’s Residential Editorial Program.

Read an interview with Tom.


Kajal Narayan’s publishing career began as a Publishing and Marketing Assistant at Rockpool Publishing and an Editorial Assistant at Sydney University Press. Building on this early introduction to both commercial and educational markets, Kajal moved to Harlequin in 2015 where she worked as a Publishing Assistant, developing strong editorial skills and a deeper knowledge of romance and genre markets, subscription publishing models and trade publishing. 

Kajal progressed to Senior Marketing and Communications Executive at HarperCollins in 2019, where she managed marketing and publicity campaigns for bestselling, high-profile titles including Back After the Break by Osher Günsberg. Kajal worked closely with UK and US international teams, managing marketing campaigns for books including Saving Missy by Beth Morrey, and touring with high-profile international authors including Mark Manson and Min Jin Lee. 

Kajal joined Pantera Press as Marketing Manager in 2020, and was promoted to head of Marketing in 2022. Kajal manages marketing campaigns from initial conception through to execution, leading highly successful campaigns including the ABIA-winning The Dreaming Path – Pantera’s most successful marketing campaign to date, achieving unprecedented engagement on social media ads – and ABIA-nominated Caught in the Act.

Read an interview with Kajal.


In just eight years with Bloomsbury, Genevieve Nelsson has emerged as a marketing and publicity trendsetter. With her determination, meticulous organisation, and intuitive market knowledge, Gen has consistently delivered outstanding results earning admiration and respect. 

Commencing at Bloomsbury as the Publicity and Administrative Assistant, Gen’s talents were quickly recognised, and she soon transitioned to the role of Marketing and Publicity Executive. Within a few years, she progressed to Manager and subsequently Senior Manager, leading the junior team and championing a robust departmental vision. Gen’s talent and achievements were recognised with her recent promotion to the position of Deputy Head of Marketing and PR. This role will see her assessing potential new acquisitions for the Australian market and positions her as a key player in shaping the future of Bloomsbury’s marketing strategies. 

With her extensive experience and local knowledge, Gen is primed to make significant contributions to the company's continued success. Undoubtedly, Genevieve Nelsson is one to watch. Her track record of accomplishments, combined with her relentless drive and ingenuity, make her a rising star. With each campaign, Gen continues to leave her mark and redefine the boundaries of success in the publishing industry.

Read an interview with Genevieve.


Kathleen (Katty) O’Neill is the Metadata Manager at Hardie Grant Books and Explore. She has worked in publishing for five years, joining Hardie Grant in 2018 after completing her Masters degree in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing at the University of Melbourne.

Coming to publishing from a communications and writing background, Katty first recognised her connection to metadata as a Marketing Coordinator organising the sales briefing kit. She became a Marketing Executive in 2022, where she was able to work on wider title and business campaigns, honing her expertise on metadata best practices all the while. Notably, Katty co-convened Hardie Grant Book's Spark Prize for narrative non-fiction in 2020 and 2022 in collaboration with RMIT Writing and Publishing. 

Previously, Katty has worked as a Communications Officer for the University of Melbourne, a Digital Intern for Dumbo Feather magazine, as well as a contributing writer and editor for publications including Farrago and Voiceworks.

Read an interview with Katty.


Eloise Plant joined the Harlequin team as an Intern in 2017 and hasn’t looked back. After completing her Bachelor of Arts (with a double major in English and Ancient History), she joined the Harlequin team full time as Digital and Marketing coordinator in 2018. She was promoted to Digital Marketing Executive in 2020 and Digital Marketing Manager in 2022.

Since then, Eloise has combined her passion for book publishing, creative marketing and analytic skills set to a variety of projects including the launch of Romance.com.au, the refresh of the Mills & Boon e-commerce site, and the creation of a social media guide for authors. 

Eloise is passionate about engaging in fun and unique ways in the digital landscape. As Digital marketing Manager she currently administers over 12 social media accounts across three different brands and five social media platforms, has doubled revenue on the e-commerce store, content creates for three brand websites, curates email marketing campaigns for six email databases with over 50,000 subscribers and provides bespoke digital marketing advice for authors.

Read an interview with Eloise.

Media Super logo

You can look forward to meeting the shortlist and winner at the BookUp conference and networking drinks on Wednesday 16 August.

The Rising Star award is proudly supported by Media Super, the super fund dedicated to those who publish, inform, entertain, create and inspire.