Andrew Turner is Vice-Chair of the Society of Young Publishers. He is a graduate of Kingston University’s Publishing MA and works as a Marketing Executive at Nelson Croom, an award-winning E-Learning company. Follow him on Twitter @justandy21.
One of the many, and unexpected, honours which come along with being chair of the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) is a place on the judging panel of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which for me is an even bigger honour as I will be the first ever man to sit on the panel.
Whilst I am unable to enter the prize, for obvious reasons, I am a big advocate for what it stands for and who it represents. I never met Kim but I have spoken to many people who knew her and had their professional lives affected by her. All agree she was a woman of morals and integrity who shaped their professional lives for the better. Male or female it is evident that Kim had a huge impact on everyone she met in the publishing word. Never was this clearer to me than at last year’s Kim Scott Walwyn Prize Award Ceremony to announce the winner of the 2012 prize, Rukhsana Yasmin, when Matthew Hollis read his poem dedicated to Kim. Everyone in attendance, whether they knew Kim or not, was moved as he portrayed the passion she had for publishing and how this seeped into everyone around her.
Coupled with this passion was her resolve to bring women on to equal footing in a world which was mainly dominated by men at the time. It is this which the prize focuses on, encouraging women in publishing to strive for greatness and recognition.
This is why a few eyebrows have occasionally been raised in regard to the prize. Women are no longer the minority in the publishing industry and if we are truly striving for equality shouldn’t the prize be for both sexes? I have been asked this on occasion due to the SYP’s sponsorship of the prize, especially in the last few months due to my position on the judging panel this year, and my answer has always been the same.
This prize was set up to honour a remarkable woman who spent her professional life striving to help other women reach the pinnacle of their abilities and profession. The prize aims to remember not only that Kim worked to achieve this, but that in many ways her vision has been realised. In my opinion if the prize was open for all it suddenly wouldn’t be about these virtues and in many ways its meaning would be lost.
This is also why I believe that more women should put themselves forward for the prize. Yes it can feel a little egotistical to nominate yourself for a prize, but if you have worked hard and achieved your goals then you should recognise the achievement as much as anyone else does. Now this is easy for me to say but apparently not very easy to do, as Lucy Cuthew explored in a recent blog for Booktrust. But, like her, I encourage all women in publishing to show off a little, blow their own trumpets and start bragging about the work they do, or as Lucy called it ‘Being-proud-of-what-you’ve-achieved-and-saying-so’.
Kim would have wanted you to.
The 2013 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize is now accepting entries. More information and full terms and conditions can be found here.