Staff profile

Dr David Barker

Senior Lecturer in Publishing

David Barker


English; Creative Writing and Publishing


College of Arts, Humanities and Education






Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am Senior Lecturer in Publishing and the Programme Leader for MA Publishing. Prior to joining the University of Derby in 2017, I worked in publishing for 21 years in both London and New York.

I am interested in all aspects of Publishing as an academic discipline, particularly issues around how books are commissioned, acquired and edited, and issues of diversity and representation in the industry. I am always happy to talk to students about any aspects of the industry - from academic publishing to children's books, and from literary agents to self-publishing.

I also have extensive experience in teaching employability skills including CV development, successful job application and interview techniques.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach a range of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including:

Research interests

I have a wide range of research interests, particularly around how publishing companies might better try to engage with adults who feel ignored by the culture of reading and writing. I am also actively researching around editorial bias and diversity in the publishing industry, and - with my colleague Cat Mitchell - around the writing and publishing processes behind contemporary bestsellers. 

Membership of professional bodies

I'm an active member of the APE (Association for Publishing Educators) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Recent conferences

‘Authorship and Diversity in Non-fiction Bestsellers’ at the By the Book 7 Conference, Paris, France, June 2022

'Exploring the Co-Existence of Print and Digital, Scholarly and Trade Content' at the By the Book 8 Conference, Porto, Portugal, June 2023

Experience in industry

I have over 20 years of publishing industry experience, working as a Commissioning Editor and then Editorial Director at Continuum in New York and then at Bloomsbury Academic in London. As an editor, my focus was on books in Popular Culture Studies, including the 33 1/3 series of books about classic albums. 

In the media

I was the guest on the June 2023 episode of The Book Machine Podcast, 'From Commissioning to Curriculum'

Book Machine Podcast interview with Dr David Barker

Recent publications

2021. ‘Curating the Canon: Editorial Decision-Making, Bias and Privilege in Publishing’, for The Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, (Vol. 6:1)

2022. 'The Thursday Murder Club: Launching a Mega-Brand Author - A Publishing Case Study,' for Logos (Vol 33:1)