Week 4: Meet the authors

Friday, 29 June 2018

We're honoured to have such an array of exceptional women to be writing for In Her Own Way. They are all making a difference in their own way - and often they've made an enormous difference in our own lives, too.

IMOLA SAYS: "I'm proud to reveal that one of our authors is Kate Wilson, the visionary leader of disruptive children's publisher Nosy Crow. It is impossible to keep track of the awards that Nosy Crow has received. In a field dominated by giant international corporations, their small team is reinventing the game. They are trendsetters and visionaries and the Big Five are trying to follow in their footsteps.

I had the best job interview of my life with Kate Wilson. I didn't get the job, but I got an exceptional mentor and a friend in a strange country. Kate's ingenious tenacity has been my biggest inspiration for the past six years. Read on to find out what she'll be writing about..."



I was very happy to be asked to contribute to In Her Own Way – particularly at this moment. My younger child, a daughter, is on the cusp of making big decisions about her life - whether to go to university, where to apply and what to study if she does, and, beyond that, what she might do with her life. She’s pretty sorted, and, in fact, I was impressed to go back today to this interview that I did with her six years ago.

But she, and her confident, capable friends, have uncertainties, and doubts, and mixtures of successes and failures. And I guess that I am writing for her – for them, and for girls like them: girls on the brink of the possible, but for whom not enough clear, successful paths radiate out in different directions, compared to boys at the same moment, who have such a wide range of examples to follow, and who seldom, in my experience, think about a future career or job in the the context of the impact that having a child or children might have on it in the way that my daughter does.

So while I want to talk about success, of course, and ways towards it, I also want to talk about failure, and disappointment, and limitations. Today, I was listening to the radio, for example, and I heard Martina Cole choose her Desert Island Discs, and I was flung back by her distinctive voice to a summer nine years ago, before I set up Nosy Crow, when, for a heady 5 months, I was her publisher… before I was fired in October. And hearing her brought back, quite viscerally, some of the panic and shock and shame and deep sense of failure that I felt when I was fired. And I could feel those feelings even the morning after going to Buckingham Palace for a reception to celebrate the fact that Nosy Crow won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade – our third accolade for selling abroad this year. The doubt and the confidence, the failure and the success… and the work and the family – they all continue to exist in me and in so many women.

Kate Wilson is the founder and managing director of multi-award-winning children’s publisher, Nosy Crow, which began publishing in 2011. Before setting up Nosy Crow, Kate worked for 25 years in the publishing industry, beginning in rights selling and then running Macmillan Children’s Books and Scholastic UK, before an unhappy five months running a publishing list for grown-ups catapulted her out of corporate publishing, and, after a few short months, into independent children’s publishing. She’s creative, entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, disorganised and easily bored.


HANNAH SAYS: "Our next author is Laura Briggs, a dentist and founder of Jack Straws, a successful board game café in Belfast. I really admire Laura for going out there and making it happen. I don't know about you, but I am constantly fantisising about owning a café, or setting up a business... but Laura's actually gone and done it - whilst also working as a dentist, no less. I think it's inspiring to see someone who has turned a passion - board games - into a career. I can't wait to share her chapter with you."


My name is Laura Briggs.  I am 28 years old. I am a dentist and business owner of Jack Straws- the only Board Game Café in Northern Ireland.  I graduated from Queen's University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree and have been practicing dentistry full time as well as managing the business for the past year and a half.

I spent many months researching, consulting, deliberating and designing my business venture - always believing in this niche market - and finally opened up Jack Straws Board Game Café in November 2016.  

We now employ over 15 staff and have become a popular venue for tourists, students, families, church groups, schools, charities and businesses.

I was privileged to have won 'Best New Start Up of 2017' in the Women in Business Awards last year.

I am looking forward to the future and new business opportunities.


"I got married when I was 24. My husband and I had a passion for board games. We had people over to our house most nights of the week to select and play from our library of games. Initially it was just a hobby, something we both enjoyed. A year into our marriage we started talking about making our board games into a business. We always talked about it like it was fantasy and would never actually happen; however it was always in our minds and prayers. We thought if an opportunity arises we will take it. A few months later a property came up for rent a few minutes from our house. It was the perfect location and ideal size for what we had in mind. We were definitely scared. We had no experience in hospitality or business. But we decided to 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. There have been ups and downs and many stories to share.

Here is a link to my website"



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