Henka books is a very small publisher. We are only two people – Britta and Paul. We do get some help from our friends, such as Dominic who did the pretty drawings for this page, or Emma, an English teacher and researcher, who gives us feedback on our quizzes and activities. But at the moment, Henka books is only us and we love everything to do with language teaching, the English language, culture and design. After spending many years working for different companies and institutions, in 2014 we pooled our knowledge and enthusiasm to create Henka books – fun language learners’ guides to English-speaking cultures.
Britta studied Culture and Education and has been a foreign language teacher for over 20 years. She has also worked in publishing, where her passion for language, writing and visual learning came together. ‘I really do believe that an image can say more than 1,000 words. You cannot overestimate the power of the photograph when you try to teach someone about the culture of another country.’ For Henka books, Britta reconnected with her art practice, took hundreds of photographs and developed design ideas. ‘I’m not saying it isn’t fun. But what matters is that the topics are engaging, the graded language well constructed and that each Henka book creates a rewarding English learning experience for the reader.’
Paul was born and raised in London and has never lived anywhere else for long. ‘I feel lucky,’ he says, ‘London is one of the most exciting cities in the world.’ Paul studied philosophy at university and taught at a London college before becoming an English proofreader. He is obsessed with simplifying language, structuring texts and getting the punctuation right, all in order to make the written work easy to understand. ‘There’s nothing more frustrating than when a badly placed comma puts the reader on the wrong path and comprehension is lost.’ At Henka books, we feel this is particularly important for language learners and value every correction made by Paul.