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Interview with Alice Curry, winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

Alice Curry is the Founder and Publisher of Lantana Publishing, a London-based independent publishing company nominated for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year 2017. She is this year’s winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize. Norah Myers interviews her here. 

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Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

Kim Scott Walwyn Prize announces shortlist of outstanding women in publishing

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.

Interview with Rebecca Lewis-Oakes, winner of last year’s Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

Rebecca Lewis-Oakes is the 2015 winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize. She is currently Managing Editor for Fiction at Egmont UK and has been a commissioning editor at Puffin, Faber & Faber and Scholastic, working across all ages and ranges of children’s books, from fiction and non-fiction to picture books, gift and novelty. Her successes include editing the multi-award-winning Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, commissioning the YouTuber hit Sprinkle of Glitter Diary and developing the first app for the Eric Hill Spot brand.

1) Congratulations on winning the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2016. What an achievement. How has the win helped you professionally?

Thank you very much! It was an honour to win, especially with such a strong shortlist. The shortlist announcement timing was fantastic for me professionally – it came during London Book Fair which is obviously prime networking time, but also on the second day of my then-new job at Puffin. So the prize raised my profile within the industry and also at Penguin Random House, where, being such a big corporate, personal profile is hugely important. Winning the prize gave me a big confidence boost and sense of validation, since the judges recognised the importance of the behind-the-scenes nature of my accomplishments. While it’s often not the glamorous or headline-grabbing side of being an editor, it encouraged me to continue to see the broader picture in my career.

2) Please tell us about a few women working in publishing whose work and careers you really admire. What makes them stand out?

There are so many! Aside from the obvious trailblazers like Dame Gail Rebuck and Ursula Mackenzie, and current heads of houses like Francesca Dow and Hilary Murray Hill, I could perhaps highlight three women at different stages of their careers.

Philippa Milnes-Smith is always impressive, having headed up Puffin spectacularly, then becoming a top agent whose finger is always on the pulse and who is particularly great to work with.

Zosia Knopp is not only a Guinness world record-holding Rights Director, but she is really good at and committed to developing talent in-house. She is very inspiring to see in action, and is extremely generous with her knowledge and time.

Finally, Juliet Mushens (a KSW shortlistee, I believe) through sheer force of personality, hard work and great taste, has had phenomenal success early on in her career as an agent, which is clearly going to continue.

3) You approached Louise Pentland, a YouTube star, before it was popular to commission books from vloggers. What potential did you see in YouTube talent that you felt would fit naturally with book publishing?

Yes, we were only the second publisher to approach Gleam for any of their social talent. Louise in particular seemed a perfect fit for book publishing, since we went to her with the idea of a branded diary because she loves stationery and her followers love it too. It felt like a great project to do in print form, as the YouTube format is perfect for her content such as makeup tips, but this was a brilliant way to extend the interactive relationship between Louise and her audience on the page.

It was that combination of innovative creator and devoted audience that just made sense to us – and has been proven with all the social talent topping the book charts since then.

4) Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

I’d like to have progressed and expanded my current role. Beyond that, it’s hard to say: five years ago I couldn’t have imagined being where I am now, especially with the digital projects I’ve worked on. I never thought I would launch an app for Spot the dog, or help develop an xhtml-based typesetting programme! So I hope in five years I’ll still be open to new opportunities, helping my company run more smoothly and achieve more in whatever format that might take.

5) Why should women in trade publishing apply for the prize (or let others nominate them?)

The very process of applying for the KSW prize is empowering. The judges have designed a rigorous application process which will help women think critically about themselves and their careers. I found that in itself really positive. Being shortlisted and winning was a bonus and a huge boost for me. It’s so important to identify and own your achievements in your career, not just when applying for a new job, but think actively critically about your career in an ongoing way. So I say go for it!

Even though publishing is a pretty female-friendly industry, more can be done towards equality. Every choice that individual women take towards confidence makes a positive change.

6) What’s the most rewarding thing about working in children’s publishing?

Helping children to love reading. The mission statement at my first company, Scholastic, is about helping children to achieve their true potential on society through reading and – while lofty – that has always stayed with me. And it’s only possible because of the brilliant people I work with – across the board, I find everyone in children’s publishing is talented, committed and driven to produce great books for children to enjoy.

The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize recognises excellence and future potential in women in their first seven years of a publishing career. The deadline for applications is Friday 10th February and details can be found here: https://kimscottwalwyn.org/

2015 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize opens for nominations

This year’s Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, celebrating the achievements of women in UK publishing, is now open for nominations and entries. Those looking to nominate a co-worker or other acquaintance should complete a nomination form online by 5pm on Friday 30 January, to allow said nominee time herself to complete an entry form by 5pm on Friday 20 February, alongside anyone immodest enough to skip the nomination stage and go straight to the entry form. The shortlist for this year’s prize will then be revealed in April, before the winner is announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 20 May.

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Kim Scott Walwyn Prize goes to Anne Perry

Continuing a big week for industry prizes, this year’s Kim Scott Walwyn Prize has been awarded to Anne Perry, editor with Hodder & Stoughton. The award is presented annually to women who have worked in publishing in the UK for up to seven years, celebrating both their achievements to date and their promise for the future. Perry joined Hodder & Stoughton as an assistant editor in 2012, and was promoted to editor less than a year later. She is also co-founder of The Kitschies – awards for fantasy and speculative fiction in the UK – with her husband, Jared Shurin. Perry wins £1,000 and a two-day course at the Publishing Training Centre.

Perry’s initial duties at Hodder & Stoughton focused on science fiction and fantasy, fostering links online with fans of the genres, commissioning new works of genre fiction and working on backlist and digital titles. Oliver Johnson, associate publisher with the company, describes her as ‘one of the most talented and innovative young editors in the business’.

Co-chairs of the prize advisory committee and judging panel Denise Johnstone-Burt and Catherine Clarke say Perry was ‘the stand-out candidate from a superb shortlist. The judges marvelled at the speed, imagination and determination with which she has championed genre fiction in this country. Anne not only publishes excellent science fiction and fantasy, she also writes it brilliantly. She actively seeks out new readers and has set up the Kitschies Awards, already widely recognised for the quality that it rewards in her chosen field. She is the acme of today’s multi-talented and multi-tasking publisher – a fearless pathfinder who has set a standard to which we should all aspire.’

Also nominated were Waterstones’ Melissa Cox, Penguin Random House’s Lynsey Dalladay, The Poetry Translation Centre’s Sarah Hasketh and Janklow & Nesbit’s Hellie Ogden. Perry is the second American émigré to win the prize in a row, with last year’s award going to Miriam Robinson for her work as Foyles head of marketing, on a shortlist that also featured BookMachine’s own Laura Austin.

My London Book Fair Week #lbf14 [DIARY]

LBF 2014
Photo © BookMachine

 

Monday

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014 shortlist was announced in style at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens. The party was buzzing with creative and passionate women including Kate Mosse, Mary Beard, Helen Fraser and Sarah Walters. It was a beautiful event to celebrate excellent writing from the following female novelists:

  • Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  • Burial Rights – Hannah Kent
  • The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
  • The Undertaking – Audrey Magee
  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

The winner will be announced on 4 June 2014.

 

Tuesday

The first day of the fair saw a giant choccywoccydoodah cake, the SYP seminars How to get into publishing & How to get ahead in publishing and the announcement of another shortlist.

I announced the Kim Scott Walwyn shortlist at the beginning of our second seminar. This is an award that celebrates exceptional female publishers:

  • Melissa Cox – Children’s New Titles Buyer at Waterstones
  • Lindsey Dalladay – Community Manager at Penguin Random House
  • Sarah Hesketh – Freelance Project Manager at The Poetry Translation Centre
  • Hellie Ogden – Literary Agent at Janklow & Nesbit
  • Anne Perry- Editor at Hodder & Stoughton

The winner will be announced on 13 May 2014.

 

Wednesday

The place to be was BookMachine pre-drinks at the fair and then the rockin Kobo party at Underbelly in Hoxton Square.

 

Thursday

A few of us from the SYP went along to The Bookseller drinks — I had a Q&A in Tuesday’s LBF Daily and wanted to celebrate my newfound fame.

 

Friday

After a fabulous week, I was well and truly ready for bed! Instead I went out in Soho with a friend I met interning a couple of years ago. #TGIF

Big announcement: Juliet Mushens at BookMachine Unplugged

Juliet MushensBig announcement today. Juliet Mushens will be joining us as our fourth speaker at BookMachine Unplugged on May 23rd.If you use the discount code ‘Juliet’ you can get 15% off your ticket today (ends midnight).

Eventbrite - BookMachine Unplugged in London

Juliet was named as a ‘Rising Star’ in the Bookseller’s 2012 listing of the industry’s next generation of leaders and innovators. This year she’s also been shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn prize, which recognises the professional achievements and promise of women publishers. We interviewed her to find out more.

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BookMachine’s Laura Austin on Kim Scott Walwyn shortlist

In a stirring example of the reporters becoming the reported, or something, BookMachine’s very own Glorious Fearless Leader Laura Austin has found herself on the shortlist for this year’s Kim Scott Walwyn prize. Glorious Fearless Leader Laura Austin – seen here in this file photo lovingly framed by her BookMachine colleagues/loyal subjects –  is nominated for her work on the BookMachine events that have taken place across the country over the past two years and are now spreading out internationally too, like so many troops marching in perfect synchronisation across the motherland at her command.

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Be proud of your work and remember Kim Scott Walwyn

Andy_TurnerAndrew 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.

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