The SYP Blog - news, feature articles and SYP event insights

Book Aid International begins supporting Rwanda

Book Aid International has announced that it is expanding its work to provide brand new books to communities in Rwanda. Yesterday, 19th June, the charity sent 31,801 books to support readers in libraries, schools and further education institutions across the country.

In recent years, Rwanda has experienced strong economic growth which has been accompanied by a substantial improvement in living standards. This has seen a two-thirds drop in child mortality and near-universal enrollment in primary education.[i] Despite this progress, 63% of the population in Rwanda still live on less $1.25 a day.[ii]

The lack of a national library service in Rwanda means that many communities are unable to access the life-changing opportunities books offer, such as developing skills, starting businesses and enabling lifelong learning.

The books they are sending will support some of Rwanda’s many volunteer-run community libraries. These are almost always managed by members of the local community who have often taken it upon themselves to create a library in their area. These libraries serve the whole community and particularly those who cannot access traditional learning opportunities.

Book Aid International’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, talked about the charity’s work in Rwanda saying:

“Having visited Rwanda myself and met some of the volunteers who give up their time to run community libraries I am delighted that we are now working in partnership with the Kigali Public Library to provide brand new books for the users of the community libraries. Thanks to the generosity of our partners in the book trade, we can provide brand new books to libraries, schools and further education institutions throughout the country, books which will undoubtedly be a huge boost for readers across Rwanda.”

The charity’s initial shipment of 31,801 books was shipped on 19th June and included early learning and children’s books, higher education texts and medical and healthcare books as well as titles covering technical and vocational skills to support further education.

The charity’s initial work in Rwanda is funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. To find out more about Book Aid International and its expanding work to reach those who face the greatest barriers to accessing books and reading, visit

i) World Bank Open Data, Rwanda

ii) World Economic Forum on Africa, 2016


#SYPontheRoad Bristol Edition: What happened next?

On Monday 12th June, a small crowd of members and non-members alike gathered in Bristol's Tobacco Factory for our inaugual SYP and the Bookseller on the Road event. This is the first in a series of events aiming to showcase publishing in cities all over the UK and celebrate wide-spread talent and opportunities. We were joined by four fantastic speakers from different roles and job levels across different genres. You can read a little more about the event series and our first panels bios on our previous post here. Here's a little of what we covered at the event:

Rebecca Tomlinson, Assistant Editor at Policy Press, told us about her journey into the industry following a journalism masters at Bristol UWE. She loved Bristol and was delighted to discover the healthy publishing industry in the city, finding her first role as Publishing Assistant at Policy on her university's website. She has now been there 5 years, working her way up to Assistant Editor. She also spoke about the work experience they offer at Policy Press which you can learn about here:

Although work experience was discussed as a valuable way to learn about the industry and the roles available, it was also stressed that you shouldn't worry if this isn't an option for you. Marc Gillett, Associate Director at IOP Publishing, spoke about his journey into publishing which, despite his role at a Scientific publisher, began with a History degree. Marc made it clear that you don't have to work for free, if you can get work in an office for a few months you will pick up valuable, transferable skills. Marc moved to IOP in Bristol from a job in Oxford and spoke about how the atmosphere felt less competitive than the more well-known publishing landscapes of London and Oxford. There was much praise for IOP throughout the event so we would thoroughly recommend checking out their website ( and looking up our speakers on LinkedIn (see below).

LinkedIn featured heavily in the conversation, praised not only by Marc but also by Lyndsey Mayhew, Marketing and Publicity Manager at Crimson Publishing. She even commented that a member of the audience had connected with her in advance of the talk and she instantly recognised the woman at the event - and it provided an opening for a chat afterwards too. The platform is a great way to get your name known within the industry, and people will remember you, but it is also important to come out from behind the screen and go to any and all publishing events you can (like the SYP's!) When talking about applications, Lyndsey stressed that whilst blogs aren't everything, you must be able to demonstrate your writing and be visible. CVs can be cold - even if you've done 10 placements, it will be something unique or some demonstration of passion that will get her attention. She also recommended looking outside editorial, a sentiment echoed by the panel. It's so competitive to get into but there are plenty of other great opportunities to work with content.

Our fourth panellist of the night was Steve Mcnaught, director of Arkbound publishing and StarUp CIC. He is editor of several Bristol-based publications, including Boundless and Vocalise magazines, so has a background in both book and magazine publishing. Arkbound is a publishing social enterprise that aims to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds get published. The organisation also provides a Publishing Excellence Programme for people looking to get into the industry, along with a literary award and annual competition which you can read more about here:

We closed the event with questions from the audience which covered everything from advice for those looking to move across from another industry, to what publishing will look like in 10 years - according to our panel: digital isn't proving to be the take-over predicted (print sales actually on the rise), fake news will spur better research and editorial content, and there are big changes on the horizon for open access.

Keep up with the panellists:
Steve Mcnaught, Arkbound - LinkedIn
Rebecca TomlinsonPolicy Press - LinkedIn
Lyndsey MayhewCrimson - LinkedIn
Marc GillettIOP Publishing - LinkedIn

Interview with Alice Curry, founder of Lantana Press and winner of the 2017 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

Alice Curry is the founder of Lantana Publishing, a London-based independent publishing company and this year’s UK nomination for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year. In her role as Publisher at Lantana, Alice has commissioned award-winning picture books that celebrate diverse and multicultural voices, working with authors and illustrators from almost twenty countries. Following a degree in English Literature from Oxford University and a PhD in Children’s Literature from Macquarie University in Sydney, Alice has published a monograph, Environmental Crisis in Young Adult Fiction, and several articles in leading international journals. She is an active member of IBBY UK, a frequent keynote speaker at international symposiums, and has edited a range of children’s anthologies for various international education organisations. In May, she was as winner of the 2017 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize. We spoke to her about what's in store for Lantana and the Children's book industry as a whole.

What inspired you to pursue a career in children's publishing and to launch Lantana specifically?

I started life as an academic lecturer in children’s literature but became frustrated by the inaccessibility of most academic work and the prohibitive cost of journal access, meaning that articles written by me or my colleagues weren’t being shared with many people who might otherwise find them useful, including teachers, librarians and other literacy professionals working with children’s books on a daily basis. Children’s publishing seemed to offer a more practical way to explore the issues I was passionate about – namely the importance of diverse and representative literature – and thus I decided to set up Lantana.

You founded Lantana in 2014 with your good friend Caroline Godfrey, whom you met at Oxford University while studying English Literature. Can you talk a bit about your respective backgrounds and your roles in the daily running of Lantana?

Caroline and I met on our first day of Freshers’ Week and immediately became firm friends. In the decade or so since finishing university, Caroline had become a teacher, experiencing the lack of diverse books in classrooms first hand, and I had developed an academic and freelance editorial career. When I decided to set up Lantana, Caroline took a year out from teaching to work with me in the start-up phase, and her support was invaluable. She has now returned to teaching but remains a non-executive director of the company while I continue to run Lantana on a day-to-day basis ably supported by another university friend, Katrina Gutierrez, who manages our marketing and social media, and a small part-time team.

What does the name Lantana stand for?

The Lantana flower is part of the Verbena family and is one of the few plants that have petals of different colours on one stem. This for me is a lovely metaphor for diversity and a great way to reflect the multiculturalism of our populations.

Despite a growing awareness of the need for more inclusive publishing, books written by BAME authors or featuring BAME protagonists are still frequently pigeonholed and treated as separate from "mainstream" literature. What can publishers, and the industry in general, do to achieve a genuine sea change?

This is a good question. It’s vitally important that authors of BAME backgrounds aren’t pigeonholed into writing only a particular type of book that ‘represents’ their race or that reflects a majority-defined idea of what that culture looks like. Ideally we are working towards a time of far greater representation when there will be no need to segregate a book on account of its cultural origins. If a book by a BAME author or with BAME protagonists is simply a great book, I believe it should, and will, hold its own against the mainstream.

You're operating in a highly competitive and crowded market. Do you see yourself, as an independent and perhaps more nimble publisher, at an advantage when it comes to promoting diverse voices and raising awareness for diversity?

As you suggest, being small and nimble has enormous benefits – we aren’t weighed down by the lumbering bureaucratic machinery of larger houses and can make decisions quickly and efficiently. We can also offer something that competes with or compliments the mainstream, and can therefore look to fill gaps where larger houses might struggle, as well as make personal, long-lasting connections with book buyers.

How do you think children's publishing will change over the next five years?

When it comes to diversity, I think the landscape will look different in five years’ time. More of the larger houses will be tackling this issue – both institutionally and editorially – although I doubt this will make a company like Lantana redundant. Instead, it will enable us to develop a more nuanced understanding of diversity – whose voices are really being heard and whose are marginalised – and adapt to meet new needs as well as existing ones.

You will be celebrating Lantana's third birthday this August. What have your biggest challenges and milestones been so far?

Our challenges are the same as those many other independents face - tiny margins, minimal budgets for advertising, and long production schedules being a few. However, three milestones really stand out for me that make all the difficult bits worth it: the first was winning the Children’s Africana Best Book Award for the first book I signed, Nnedi Okorafor’s Chicken in the Kitchen; the second was being shortlisted for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher this year; and the third was winning the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for women in publishing. These wonderful accolades inspire me and my team to keep on pushing forwards and remain passionate and optimistic, even when times are tough. But wonderful as these milestones are, nothing can compare to the excitement of unboxing each new book and seeing children’s reactions to the titles we’ve been working on for many months; these are still my best and only real yardsticks for measuring success in this business.

What’s in store for Lantana in the future? Where would you like to see the company in another 3 years?

This Autumn sees our first big launch into an export market and we hope that this move into the US will greatly expand our reach. In three years’ time, then, I hope that we will have developed the business into a thriving, sustainable company with a presence both here and in the US and possibly also in export markets further afield.

Currently Lantana's list features an amazingly ethnically diverse range of authors and illustrators. Are you considering expanding the list to include books on gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc.?

These are all hugely important facets of diversity and we would like to expand into these areas, however we have begun – while still young and small – with diversity in the cultural sense since this plays well to the experience of our team which has overwhelmingly been in world literatures for children.

Your books tell vibrant stories about children's lives and experiences from all corners of the earth. How do you bridge the gap between telling highly localised stories and making sure they appeal to a global audience?

This is an interesting question and one we are still finding answers to. Our experience tells us that some level of authentic cultural detail – even if unfamiliar – is often appreciated by a global audience to really ignite that story in the cultural imagination, but of course we need to be careful not to alienate young readers by providing too many unfamiliar references. At the same time, we are enormously careful not to include inauthentic details that exoticise other parts of the world based on our own mistaken stereotypes, which is one reason we were keen to include cultural advisers in Lantana’s company makeup. We have also begun exploring ideas of migration, displacement and second-generation belonging – what it means to be from one culture but be living in another – such as is the experience of Anika in Looking for Lord Ganesh and Nimesh in our upcoming Spring 2018 title Nimesh the Adventurer: ideas that resonate strongly in a globalised culture.

Before setting up Lantana, you worked overseas for a time lecturing in Australia and New Zealand. Has your exposure to these international markets influenced your work back here in the UK?

My time lecturing in Australia and then working on freelance editorial projects in New Zealand gave me a wealth of contacts in the literary field – ranging from authors and illustrators to teachers, librarians, literacy professionals and other academics. I developed my passion for international literature at this time and read widely across the spectrum of children’s publishing – from paranormal romances in Samoa to zombie comedies in South Africa! I’ve definitely taken this love of world literature and embedded it in the foundations of Lantana. It was during this time that I also realised just how much of a disparity there is between publishing opportunities across different cultures and countries and this doubled my determination to level the playing field when I returned to the UK and set up Lantana.

As part of your Wisp of Wisdom Outreach Project you have collected folk tales from the Korup region of Cameroon and published them as a book last year. You are also aiming to give 2,000 copies back to local children in the region. Can tell us more about the project and what inspired you to establish it?

The project began when I was approached by children’s author Tom Moorhouse, also ecology lecturer at Oxford University, to publish a collection of animal tales collected by local chiefs and elders from the Korup region of Cameroon – extraordinary tales about blue-bottomed drill monkeys and pangolins and red river hogs. These had been delivered to a local conservation team and passed to researchers at Oxford in the hope that they could somehow preserve them for future generations. I was honoured to join the project and work with eleven fantastic UK authors and a brilliant illustrator to retell these tales, design and print a book in which to showcase them, and most importantly help arrange for the donation of 2000 copies to local children in Cameroon – the first book many of them will ever own. We have also just translated the book into French so the project continues...

Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the books you have coming out soon?

I’m really excited about developing our list over the next few years. Kaya’s Heart Song is out this the Autumn: a joyful story by a Malaysian author about mindfulness, in which a little girl searches for her heart song – the song that happy hearts sing. We also have two real gems coming out in Spring, both of which have been created by BAME authors and illustrators living in and around London: Nimesh the Adventurer, about a little boy with a BIG imagination, and You’re Safe With Me, a story set in India during a spectacular jungle storm. These books give us a wonderful opportunity to work with schools, libraries and bookshops here in the UK to bring truly special stories to new readers. Do look out for them!

A big thank you to Alice for taking the time to give such thoughtful answers to our questions, and congratulations from us all at the SYP for your KSW win and Lantana's nomination for Bologna Best Children's Publisher of the Year.

Kat Krusch and Sophie Waddy

Book Aid International increases support for South Sudan

Today, 3,470 books left Book Aid International’s warehouse in Camberwell, London, bound for South Sudan. The books will reach destinations such as University of Juba and Ibba Girls’ School. The charity is proud to be reaching out to students facing some of the most challenging circumstances found anywhere in the world today.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation. At just six years old, the country has already experienced war and famine. For students seeking to succeed in education, complete a degree and be a part of building a better future for their young country, the barriers they face are enormous. These include a lack of books without which completing a degree is impossible. Few South Sudanese students can afford to buy books and after years of war the country’s information infrastructure is weak.

The books currently on their way to universities and schools across the country include medical texts, higher education titles, teacher training materials and children’s books. They will provide a significant boost for students who have previously been struggling to work with few or even no books. Book Aid International’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, explained why the charity has chosen to increase its support for South Sudan:

“At Book Aid International, we believe that everyone should have access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives whatever their circumstances. We are committed to reaching out to those who face the greatest barriers to accessing books – such as the students who are beating the odds and completing degrees in South Sudan. We will be working hard to reach out to more conflict-affected communities as we realise our Vision for 2020 and we hope that these books are the first of many that will reach students and school pupils across South Sudan.”

The books which departed London today are at the start of a long journey as access to South Sudan can be challenging. The books will first be shipped to Uganda and then driven overland to South Sudan. The charity expects this process to take several months and looks forward to providing updates on the books’ arrival on its blog and on social media. To stay up to date visit or @Book_Aid.


For further information and comment please contact Jenny Hayes, Communications Executive at Book Aid International.

t: 020 7326 5801

Society of Young Publishers on the Road with The Bookseller Jobs

We've teamed up with The Bookseller Jobs to bring you a series events that will shine a spotlight on publishing talent around the UK, highlight roles and routes into the industry less talked about, and disrupt the idea that you must move to London to work in publishing.

The debut event will be held at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory on 12th June, with a range of speakers including Steve Mcnaught, Director at Arkbound; Rebecca Tomlinson, Assistant Editor at Policy Press; Lyndsey Mayhew, Marketing and Publicity Manager at Crimson Publishing; and Marc Gillett, Associate Director at IOP Publishing. With additional speakers yet to be announced, the panel will explore everything from founding start-ups and freelancing, to an overall look at the publishing landscape in Bristol and Bath.

Alice Geary, SYP UK Chair said:We constantly hear from members and non-members alike, asking whether they should move to London to get a job in publishing, and whilst the capital is a vibrant creative hub, it’s not for everyone and it’s certainly not the only place to see exciting and dynamic publishing. The SYP already have 5 branches around the UK – but we want to reach further and provide insight and inspiration to young and aspiring publishers everywhere.’

Lara Pace, The Bookseller Jobs said: ‘We’re looking to raise awareness of the publishing landscape throughout the UK, and explore the opportunities and talent found both in and outside of London.  The Bookseller Jobs in Books receives jobs from all over the UK- and we want to provide further insight so that everyone has the chance to be a part of this wonderful industry.’

To book tickets to SYP and The Bookseller on the Road: Bristol Edition, please head to:

About the Speakers

Steve Mcnaught is a director of Arkbound publishing and StarUp CIC. He is editor of several Bristol-based publications, including Boundless and Vocalise magazines, and helps to manage the book publishing operations of Arkbound both in the UK and internationally.
Arkbound is a publishing social enterprise that aims to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds get published. The organisation also provides a Publishing Excellence Programme for people looking to get into the industry, along with a literary award and annual competition.
Rebecca Tomlinson, Assistant Editor at Policy Press joined the team after completing a Masters in Journalism at UWE. Starting as a publishing assistant, Rebecca has held a number of roles in her 5 years at the company where she is now Assistant Editor. Until recently she also managed the Policy and Politics journal and currently works on their criminology list and trade titles alongside their Managing Director.
Policy Press is a non-profit university press committed to influencing social change through international research and scholarship and winner of the 2016 IPG Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher award.
Lyndsey Mayhew, Marketing and Publicity Manager at Crimson Publishing, is a publicist and marketing consultant who has worked in the publishing industry for 18 years. With a background in local newspapers, magazines and public relations she is passionate about working with the media and managing brands and reputation. Lyndsey is also involved with Bath Festival and is obsessed with podcasts.
Crimson is an independent publisher based in Bath. Publishing high-quality books designed to improve the way people live and work, their imprints include Trotman (careers and university guides), White Ladder (pregnancy and parenting) and Time Out Guides.
Marc Gillett, Associate Director at IOP Publishing, is responsible for ensuring that the peer review of over 70 academic journals meets the requirements of authors, editors and referees. He also manages the publisher's Rights & Permissions and Data Science functions.
IOP Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Institute of Physics, a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all. IOP Publishing provides a range of journals, ebooks, magazines, conference proceedings and websites for the scientific community.

Applications Open for the Young Stationers’ Prize 2017

the stationers company new logo(0)

Now in its fourth year, the Young Stationers' Prize recognises a high-achiever under the age of 40 in the communications and content industries - including but not limited to, printing, packaging, publishing, media, digital and social media, marketing and public relations, journalism, libraries, archives, and copyright.

The judges will be looking for demonstrable achievements in the nominees’ careers so far, an outstanding contribution to the sector in which they are working or success outside their immediate world of work in interesting ways which are relevant to the ethos and trades of the Stationers’ Company.

The prize, a trophy kindly donated by The Worshipful Company of Pewterers, will be presented at the Young Stationers’ Annual Dinner in Stationers' Hall, on Monday, 24 July 2017, with guest speaker journalist, political commentator and author Dr Simon Heffer.

Past winners of the Young Stationers’ Prize are:  Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods, founders of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency; Angela Clarke, novelist, playwright, and columnist; and Katie Glass, of the Sunday Times.

To enter, the nominator or applicant should include: a brief CV; a short statement by the nominator (or a personal statement); and at least one additional letter of reference. Candidates or nominators can submit any supporting materials or specimens of work which they believe will strengthen their application.

Applications may be sent by email to, or by post to Young Stationers’ Prize, c/o Stationers' Hall, Ave Maria Lane, London EC4M 7DD. If sending by post, please consider also sending us and email with your contact details.

The deadline for applications is Thursday, 22 June 2017.

Tickets to the Dinner can be purchased online:


Join Book Aid International Publisher Ambassadors Programme

Do you love books and want to use your passion to help others? Are you in the early stages of your career and want to raise your profile within your company? Join Book Aid International’s Publisher Ambassador scheme and help hundreds of thousands of people access the books and information they need to change their lives and shape their own futures.

BAI logo

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading library development charity working in sub-Saharan Africa and Occupied Palestinian Territories, working to develop libraries in cities, slums, rural areas, schools, colleges and universities, prisons, hospitals and refugee camps. They understand the value and pleasure that reading can bring, and recognise that through reading, people can change their own lives for the better and shape their own futures.  Book Aid International currently provide access to books for around 35 million people each year but to do this they need the help of UK publishers. This is where Publisher Ambassors are needed!

About Book Aid International’s Publisher Ambassadors programme

Book Aid International has been supported by the UK publishing industry for many years. Over 94% of the brand new books they send to their partners in Africa are donated by publishing houses. It is thanks to the generosity of these publishers that they are able to send up to one million new, relevant and high-quality books each year.

Publisher Ambassadors help cultivate these relationships and the support they provide is highly valued.
Here are a ways in which Publisher Ambassadors can support their work:

  • Promote the work of Book Aid International to their organisation through newsletters, social media, intranets, staff presentations
  • Promote the work of Book Aid International to trade contacts
  • Organise fundraising activities to tie in with World Book Day
  • Give talks or share presentations about the charity's work
  • Seek out opportunities for fundraising within your own organisations through organising activities, promoting Give as you Earn schemes etc which engage other staff in supporting the work of Book Aid International
  • Promote Book Aid International events to staff and encourage people to attend
  • In addition, if your organisation supports Book Aid International with book donations:
    • Coordinate book donations (if appropriate) and seek opportunities for donations from other parts of the organisation not currently donating
    • Promote your company’s involvement in the charity's work to staff
    • Work with Book Aid International to publicise the work you do together (to the trade)
    • Keep Book Aid International apprised of any changes in the company’s way of working (in particular warehouse moves and digital developments) .

Benefits of being a Publisher Ambassador:

  • Take a leading role in your organisation as you help shape and develop its Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Get to know staff at all levels through CSR and fundraising initiatives
  • Enhance your CV and LinkedIn profile with details of your volunteering work with Book Aid International.
  • Gain extensive insight into the operations of an international NGO
  • The chance to gain experience in fundraising and event organisation and implementation
  • Support our work in sub-Saharan Africa. How we’ll support you as a Publisher Ambassador
  • Book Aid International will keep Publisher Ambassadors updated on news, opportunities and activities through a Publisher Ambassador newsletter (quarterly)
  • Book Aid International will provide each Publisher Ambassador with a handbook, highlighting key messages, hints, tips and case studies from Community Ambassadors to help them plan activities
  • Book Aid International will host an event once a year for Publisher Ambassadors to introduce them to the scheme (initially), update them on our work and opportunities and provide a chance to network with other Publisher Ambassadors
  • Provide support for fundraising events and planning
  • Book Aid International will provide Publisher Ambassadors with key messages, presentation templates, leaflets, T-shirts and other promotional items as required

Want to get involved? Contact for an application form.

Kim Scott Walwyn Prize 2017 Awarded to Alice Curry, founder of Lantana Press

The winner of the 2017 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize was last night named as Alice Curry, founder and publisher of Lantana Press, at a prize ceremony on the gloriously sunny rooftop of Carmelite House, London.

Mary Beard gave witty and rallying keynote speech on women from poets in ancient papyri to the great women of modern day, urging the crowd to continue to push towards equality: 'outrage gets boring but wit always win'.  Alice Curry, the driving force behind Lantana was praised as a great role model for future generations starting out in publishing by judges of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which recognises the professional achievements and promise of women who have worked in publishing in the UK for up to seven years.


With a background in academia, lecturing in children’s literature, Curry set out on a mission when she set up Lantana Press as an independent house in 2014: to publish picture books with a greater equality of representation and to help facilitate a more global understanding of childhood. Given that in London, fifty-five in one hundred children identify as non-white British, yet only around five in one hundred children’s books published in the UK are written by authors of diverse cultural backgrounds about characters of colour, Curry also identified a potentially lucrative opportunity in this huge market gap.

UK Chair, Alice Geary, and SYP London team at the ceremony

UK Chair, Alice Geary, and SYP London team at the ceremony

Curry holds several roles within Lantana: editor; publisher; manager of the day-to-day business; mentor to writers from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the UK and around the world; director of philanthropic activity, which includes a recent donation of 2000 books to children in Cameroon. Since founding the company, Lantana has published seven picture books with five more in the pipeline, and six of which have been translated into foreign languages. There’s a new distribution deal with Lerner Publishers in the US, and then there are the accolades and awards, most notably winning the Children's Africana Best Book Award 2016 as well as a Kate Greenaway nomination for Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini. Curry is also a regular keynote speaker on the subject of the need for diversity in children’s books at conferences around the world.

Co-judges Catherine Clarke and Denise Johnstone-Burt, commented:

“The need for greater diversity was a common theme in this year’s submission and we were very struck by the entrepreneurial spirit that animated our shortlist. Choosing a winner was a close run decision. Alice Curry stood out, for her radical switch from academia to starting up a publishing business that puts her passion and knowledge to practical use in a highly focused way. We applaud her success and have no doubt she will achieve much more in the years 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 (PTC). The panel was co-chaired by Catherine Clarke, Agent and MD of Felicity Bryan Associates, and Denise Johnstone-Burt, Publisher at Walker Books. As the eleventh winner, Curry joins the ranks of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize alumni, including Rebecca Lewis-Oakes, Managing Editor for Fiction at Egmont; Anne Perry, founder of The Kitschies and Editorial Director of Fiction at Simon & Schuster; Miriam Robinson, programme director for The Bookseller’s Marketing & Publicity Conference and Associate Director at The Literary Platform.

Curry receives £1000, sponsored by the SYP, and a two-day training course of her choice at the PTC.


Kim Scott Walwyn Prize Shortlist announced

KSW logo
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.

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