Venetia Butterfield is Publishing Director at Penguin Random House. She looks after three imprints - Viking, Penguin Life and Portfolio - which publish authors such as Ben Macintyre, Michelle Obama and Emma Healey. Venetia is also a Governor for the Southbank Centre and lives in London with her husband, three boys and budgie Wilbur.
Whats your best time saving tip in the morning? I’m not a natural morning person so I minimise decisions and things I have to do by doing them the night before - deciding what to wear, laying the table for breakfast, organising kids stuff.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Time, space, a good book, a delicious meal with family and friends somewhere beautiful, a long walk next to a lake, watching geese fly. A stolen moment in the sun in a park.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Procrastination.
On what occasion do you lie? Er, I’m afraid frequently. I tell lots of small white lies largely to make people feel better (or to disguise my own shortcomings like being late or forgetful) but can be dangerously honest on the big stuff.
What do you dislike most about your appearance? I’m at the age where I’ve accepted what I look like but I don’t enjoy the passage of time. I just try not to look too closely in mirrors.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 'Blimey' - I’m a bad swearer so usually far worse.
What is your greatest regret? I tend not to regret the things I’ve done - mistakes are how we learn and if we never make any then we’re not taking enough risks and I also tend to think the decisions we made were made at the time with the information we had. No biggies – yet, but ask me in 10 years.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My three boys.
What is your most marked characteristic? Impatience probably – better answered by someone else.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? The ability to sit with discomfort and acknowledge that all pain passes – a long winded way of saying I wish I was more patient and forbearing.
What is it that you most dislike? Cruelty.
Which book changed your life? Too many – books constantly change my life in myriad ways.
How would you like to be remembered? With love, affection and humour.
What is the worst job you’ve done? I was a receptionist in an agricultural machinery workshop and managed to broadcast an inane conversation with my mother to 50 burly mechanics on the shop floor.
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