We’re delighted to announce Aimée Felone – co-founder, Knights Of – as the winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize 2019.
The judges said that Aimée Felone stood out as “an effective activist for change and creative business woman as well as an inspirational role model”. She has made an “astonishing contribution” to the industry in just five years in publishing.
Aimée was announced as the winner at a prize ceremony on Tuesday 28th May 2019, and was chosen from an impressive shortlist:
- Aimée Felone, co-founder, Knights Of
- Aki Schilz, Director, The Literary Consultancy
- Crystal Mahey-Morgan, co-owner, OWN IT!
- Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, co-founders, 404 Ink
- Ola Gotkowska, Contracts Manager, Nosy Crow
The winner of the Prize received £1000, sponsored by the SYP and was announced at a prize ceremony on Tuesday 28th May at Stationers’ Hall in London, with a key-note speech by Deborah Frances-White, comedian and Sunday Times bestselling author, best known for her hit podcast The Guilty Feminist.
The Prize, which recognises the professional achievements and promise of women in publishing, is open to any woman who has worked in publishing in the UK for up to seven years. 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).
This 2019 shortlist was a list of true change-makers. Each of the shortlistees is notable for developing new business models and funding processes, with a clear awareness of nurturing new partnerships and widening diversity. They demonstrate the changing roles in both the traditional and non-traditional publishing landscape and offer a huge range of talents and skills sets. They are opening up publishing to new voices, increasing representation of unheard and under-represented voices and prove that the most exciting businesses don’t have to be in London.
The judges were impressed by the dedication and passion of all the submissions received in 2019.
The judging panel explained why each of the shortlist were selected:
AIMÉE FELONE, co-founder, KNIGHTS OF
In her five years in publishing Aimée Felone has made an astonishing contribution to the industry: not only has Knights Of, the publishing house she co-founded, established itself as a vibrant and inclusive independent publishing house, but in 2017 Aimée also launched a crowdfund campaign which raised £50,000 to open Brixton’s first permanent inclusive children’s bookshop. In addition to the management and direction of the company, she contributes energetically beyond the walls of the publishing house, sitting on numerous boards and steering groups dedicated to the creation of a more representative workforce.
AKI SCHILZ, Director, THE LITERARY CONSULTANCY
Aki has impressively dedicated herself to building on Rebecca Swift’s huge contribution to literature, not only keeping The Literary Consultancy steady after Rebecca’s sad and untimely death but building on her long legacy. At a young age, Aki has shown incredible strength and vision, indeed, The Literary Consultancy could not be in better hands.
CRYSTAL MAHEY-MORGAN, co-owner, OWN IT!
Having first cut her teeth at Penguin Random House, Crystal has demonstrated incredible entrepreneurism, dynamism, creativity and business management in the founding and development of OWN IT! Refusing to be bound by what others might think is the right way to do publishing, Crystal has shown time and again what true innovation looks like in creating a business with a powerful publishing core but that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of readers and authors alike whilst herself being a powerful force for change and good in the industry.
HEATHER McDAID and LAURA JONES, co-founders of 404 INK
The judges decided to include both Laura and Heather as one entry in this year shortlist. When reading each of their applications, it was clear how the success of 404 Ink was due to the exceptional work of two incredibly talented partners. Laura and Heather’s entrepreneurship and commitment to a different kind of publishing made them stand out. They are a fantastic example of innovative thinking and have contributed to the thriving of the Scottish publishing scene greatly, putting transparency and new voices at the heart of what they do.
OLA GOTKOWSKA, Contracts Manager, NOSY CROW
The judges were incredibly impressed not only by Ola’s stellar achievements in the sale of rights but also by the fortitude and courage with which she has adapted to her changing life circumstances. It was obvious from the genuine praise she has received from all quarters that she is a joy to work with, a real and demonstrable asset to a publishing house, and an inspiring mentor to more junior colleagues.
• Friday 15th February 2019: Entries and nominations open
• Monday 25th February 2019 at 5pm (GMT): Deadline for nominations
• Monday 18th March 2019 at 5pm (GMT): Deadline for submissions
• Wednesday 1st May 2019: Shortlist announcement
• Tuesday 28th May 2019: Award Ceremony at Stationers’ Hall, London
This year’s prize ceremony took place on Tuesday 28th May at Stationers’ Hall, London. We are delighted that Deborah Frances-White was our key-note speaker.
Deborah Frances-White is a comedian best known for her hit podcast The Guilty Feminist which has had 56 million downloads in three years. She has recorded the show live at The London Palladium, The Sydney Opera House, The London Coliseum and The Barbican. Deborah is touring the show live around the United Kingdom in 2019. Her BBC Radio 4 show Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice ran for two series and won The Writers’ Guild Award for Best Radio Comedy in 2016. Deborah’s book The Guilty Feminist is published by Virago and is a Sunday Times Best Seller.
Winner of the 2017 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize and founder/publisher of Lantana Publishing, Alice Curry, said:
“Winning the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2017 has been one of my proudest moments. Not only did it feel like a validation of my decision to take risks in my career and follow my passion despite the challenges, but also renewed my confidence in the publishing industry as a whole in its capacity to welcomeand celebrate change-makers. To anyone wondering about applying, I have absolutely no hesitation in saying go for it! Long may the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize inspire and encourage women – young or old – to take risks and dream big.”
Co-Chairs of the Prize Committee Denise Johnstone-Burt, Executive Editorial Director at Walker Books, and Catherine Clarke, Agent and MD at Felicity Bryan Associates, said:
“The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize gives women in publishing the perfect opportunity to show what they are made of – to their peers, but more importantly to themselves. We are always so impressed with the energy and varied achievements of applicants from across the industry, and we are confident that 2019 will be no exception.”
The Prize has now been awarded eleven times, with the 2017 Prize going to founder and publisher of Lantana Publishing, Alice Curry. The Prize has a proven track record in highlighting ‘ones to watch’ from across the industry. The 2015 Prize was awarded to Rebecca Lewis-Oakes, then Editor at Puffin, now freelance writer, editor and publishing consultant. The winner of the 2014 Prize was Anne Perry, founder of The Kitschies and now Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster. The winner of the 2013 Prize was Miriam Robinson, now programme director for The Bookseller’s Marketing & Publicity Conference and Associate Director at The Literary Platform, formerly of Foyles.
Former prize shortlistees also boast an impressive list of accomplishments. Amy Durant, shortlisted in 2017 whilst working at Endeavour Books, went on to co-found Sapere Books, and Jo Unwin also established her own business, the Jo Unwin Literary Agency soon after her shortlisting in 2015. Candice Carty-Williams, shortlisted in 2017, has since sold her debut novel Queenie for a six-figure sum and publishes with Trapeze this March. Melissa Cox, shortlisted in 2014 when buying for Waterstones, is now Editorial Director at Hodder & Stoughton and part of the team behind the Down the Rabbit Hole children’s books radio show.
Who are the judges and what are they looking for?
The judging panel will be jointly chaired by Catherine Clarke, Agent and MD at Felicity Bryan Associates, and Denise Johnstone-Burt, Executive Editorial Director at Walker Books. They will be joined by 2017 winner Alice Curry; Ain Deheb Bensenouci (2018 Chair of the Society of Young Publishers and Senior Academic Partnership Manager at Epigeum); and prize committee members Rukhsana Yasmin (Deputy Editor of Wasafiri Magazine and winner of the 2012 Prize), Julia Kingsford (Co-founder and Director of Kingsford Campbell and The Good Literary Agency); and Emma Paterson (Agent at Aitken Alexander Associates).
Find out more about the judging panel here.
The judges are looking for the qualities that marked Kim’s own career and the careers of those she encouraged: excellence in any area of publishing and the ability to show initiative and creativity in their work. The judges are looking for women with achievements already to their name – including achievements which are related to the industry but go beyond the normal day-to-day aspects of their employment – and women who show outstanding potential in their careers. Find more details about what the judges are looking for here.
Ain Deheb Bensenouci, 2018 Chair of the Society of Young Publishers, said:
“I am extremely proud that the SYP is once again able to support the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize. I encourage all SYP members, SYP alumni and fellow female young publishers to apply. This prize is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and reward young women in the industry honouring their talent, hard work and commitment.”
2017 Alice Curry
2015 Rebecca Lewis-Oakes
2014 Anne Perry
2013 Miriam Robinson
2012 Rukhsana Yasmin
2011 Kay Peddle
2010 (prize did not run)
2009 Kathy Rooney
2008 Clare Alexander
2007 Annette Thomas
2006 (prize did not run)
2005 Penelope Hoar
2004 Lynette Owen
Prize Founding Advisory Committee
- Professor Dame Gillian Beer DBE, FBA, FRSL, (King Edward VII Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge)
- Catherine Clarke (Literary Agent, Managing Director at Felicity Bryan Associates)
- Nicola Crossley, (SYP Vice-Chair 2010, Commissioning Editor for Coronet, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton)
- Denise Johnstone-Burt (Publisher and Executive Editorial Director at Walker Books)
- Kate Jury (Garden and Landscape Designer, Oxford Garden Partners; formerly a marketing director for Oxford University Press)
- Professor Dame Hermione Lee CBE (biographer and President of Wolfson College Oxford)
- Fiona Maddocks (the Observer Classical Critic)
- Francine Stock (novelist and broadcaster)