The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize today names its five talented women on the 2017 shortlist, which recognises the professional achievements and promise of women who have worked in publishing in the UK for up to seven years.
Collectively called ‘forces of nature’ by the judging panel who stood out for their ‘passion and determination to effect change’, the shortlist was selected from a record high of entries, doubling from the previous year of the Prize.
Four of the candidates work at small independent houses, either founding their own businesses or leading companies, requiring business savvy, creativity and resilience. Amy Durant, as one of the youngest publishing directors in the industry, has manned the helm at digital publisher Endeavour Press for the past four years, whilst Sarah Braybrooke was instrumental in establishing the UK arm of Australian house Scribe, and is now Managing Director. Zeljka Marosevic is co-publisher of Daunt Books, the independent publishing imprint connected to retailer Daunt Books; before that, she single-handedly established and ran Melville House UK for 3 years as Managing Director.
Alice Curry made her dream a reality when she set up Lantana Press in 2014. Starting her own business was one thing, but Alice also committed to ‘open up a space for diverse voices in UK children’s publishing’, hence Lantana’s specialisation in diverse and multicultural picture books. Candice Carty-Williams has also followed her aspiration to ‘make a difference in [her] field’. In addition to her day job as Senior Marketing Executive at Vintage Books following a career change from newspapers to books, Carty-Williams is part of Write Now, Penguin Random House's campaign to find, mentor and publish new writers from under-represented communities. She also created and launched the 4th Estate and Guardian BAME Short Story Prize with a budget of £48, and is working on a screenplay and a novel.
Co-judges Catherine Clarke and Denise Johnstone-Burt, commented:
“Perhaps it’s the turbulent political climate that has galvanised people or the ever-increasing threat to the hard-won success of women from all backgrounds—but this year’s massive increase in entries for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize felt like a collective vote of self- confidence in the award. The judges had a very hard job deciding who to shortlist from a field of young, high-achieving and self-motivated women. The five we selected are outstanding not only for how much they have achieved in a very short time, but also for their passionate advocacy of what they believe is right, their sheer hard work, their teamwork, and their willingness to push beyond the boundaries of their jobs and take risks.”
Founded in 2003, the Prize honours the life and career of Kim Scott Walwyn, who was Publishing Director at Oxford University Press and who died in 2002 at the age of 45. The Prize is run in partnership with the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) and the Publishing Training Centre (PTC). The winner of the Prize receives £1000, sponsored by the SYP, and a two-day training course of their choice at the PTC. Shortlisted candidates also receive a one-day training course courtesy of the PTC and a £25 book token courtesy of National Book Tokens.
The judging panel explained why each of the shortlist were selected:
Alice Curry – Founder and Publisher, Lantana
Since her return to the UK from New Zealand and Australia, where she lectured in children’s literature, Alice Curry has spotted an opportunity in the market and capitalised on it: founding Lantana Publishing, a small independent children’s publisher committed to working with members of black, Asian and minority groups in order for diverse voices to be published. Driven by the social imperative of celebrating difference and increasing representation across children’s books, she has developed a forward-thinking programme reflecting our multicultural society, and several titles have already garnered awards. As well as the challenge of running a small independent company, Alice has also developed a strong outreach element of the company, recently donating 2000 books to children in Cameroon. Although Lantana Publishing is only still in its infancy, it seems set for a strong future with Alice Curry at the helm.
Amy Durant – Publishing Director, Endeavour Press
Amy has shown significant initiative and flair throughout her progression from Publishing Assistant to Publishing Director at Endeavour Press over the last 4 years. Her dedicated leadership of the company via author acquisition, the development of beneficial industry relationships, and implementation of schemes such as the Kindle Singles, make her stand out. Her pivotal achievements so far include her launch of a virtual genre focused festival in 2015, overseeing several imprints within Endeavour Press itself, and her involvement in taking Endeavour into the print market, all of which struck a chord with the judges. Amy is currently also working on a part-time PhD where she resolves to champion giving voice to lost female writers and raising awareness of the strong female literary canon.
Candice Carty-Williams – Senior Marketing Executive, Vintage
In barely three years in the industry, Candice has shown significant initiative, noteworthy achievements, and great potential. She made a determined switch from the newspaper world to book publishing via two internships, before securing her first Marketing Assistant job at HarperCollins. Her conception and championing of the Guardian BAME Short Story competition shows great initiative. Switching to the Senior Marketing Executive role she now has at Vintage Books is a marker of the impact and difference already made, and the high regard for her work as a marketer. Candice was nominated for a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016 and for a Role Models in the Workplace award as part of the Business in the community Race Awards. In addition, she is pursuing her own creative work outside her 9 – 5, focused on her, soon-to-be completed, debut novel and a screenplay.
Sarah Braybrooke – Managing Director, Scribe UK
Sarah was instrumental in the launch of Scribe in the UK and the impact she has had in such a short space of time is hugely impressive. Sarah helped to convert Scribe's award-winning but specifically Australian profile to a UK and Commonwealth publisher with a vibrant international presence, and a member of the prestigious Independent Alliance. Not only is she a publicist, but she has proved herself capable in all areas of publishing, combining operational and editorial management with rights, representing Scribe single-handedly at Bologna Book Fair. Shortlisted for the London Book Fair Trailblazer award in 2017 and named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2015, Sarah is establishing herself as someone to watch in the industry.
Zeljka Marosevic – Co-Publisher, Daunt Books Publishing
Zeljka Marosevic has made judicious and interesting moves in the first six years of her career, from her first year as a graduate trainee at HarperCollins, to Fourth Estate as a marketing and editorial assistant working across fiction and non-fiction, to her impressive appointment at the age of 23 to set up and run the UK office of Brooklyn-based independent publisher Melville House, which meant doing everything – sales, publicity, marketing, distribution and acquiring books including Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts – on a shoestring budget. That clearly gave Zeljka the steep learning curve experience to be recognised as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2014, and to make the move to Daunt Books in April 2016 as co-publisher, where her colleagues enjoy the positive and dynamic energy and the international taste that she brings to their publishing. She has recently been named a London Book Fair Trailblazer. Achieving so much so quickly points to a great career ahead.
The judging panel comprised Professor Dame Hermione Lee CBE (biographer and President of Wolfson College Oxford); 2016 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize winner Rebecca Lewis-Oakes; Zara Markland, 2016 Chair of the Society of Young Publishers; and Peter McKay, Chief Executive of the Publishing Training centre. The panel was co-chaired by Catherine Clarke, Agent and MD of Felicity Bryan Associates, and Denise Johnstone-Burt, Publisher at Walker Books.
To mark the shortlist announcement, the seminar ‘A Career in Publishing: How to Achieve Success’ is being held at London Book Fair, at 4pm on Tuesday 14thMarch 2017. Co-Chairs Catherine Clarke and Denise Johnstone-Burt will be in conversation with former winners of the Prize: Rebecca Lewis-Oakes, now Managing Editor for Fiction at Egmont, and reigning titleholder; Anne Perry, founder of The Kitschies and now Editorial Director of Fiction at Simon & Schuster; and Miriam Robinson, now programme director for The Bookseller’s Marketing & Publicity Conference and Associate Director at The Literary Platform, formerly of Foyles.
The winner announcement will be on Wednesday 10th May 2017 at a prize ceremony on the roof terrace at Carmelite House.