Committee & Judges

Judging Panel 2019

Denise PhotoDenise Johnstone‐Burt is one of Britain’s leading editors of children’s books with more than twenty five years’ experience in the industry. Having worked as Editorial Director of Children’s Books at Simon and Schuster, where she helped to establish the UK company, and as Editorial Director at Andersen Press, Denise joined Walker Books in 1989. As Executive Editorial Director and Publisher, she runs a varied and successful list of authors and illustrators, including twice Carnegie medal winner Patrick Ness, internationally bestselling author Angie Thomas, former Children’s Laureates Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Browne and Michael Rosen and exciting picture book talent Emma Yarlett.

“Kim Scott Walwyn was an inspiring publisher and I am thrilled to be part of this prize which helps recognise other outstandingly talented women in our industry.”

Catherine Clarke
Catherine Clarke
was a Publishing Director at Oxford University Press for several years before joining Felicity Bryan as a literary agent in 2001. She represents a broad range of writers of serious non-fiction, and  also a number of bestselling and prizewinning writers for children and young adults. She is now Managing Director of Felicity Bryan Associates. In 2017, she was named Literary Agent of the Year at the British Book Awards.

“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.”

Dr Alice Curry photoAlice Curry is the Founder of Lantana Publishing, an inclusive children’s publishing company shortlisted for the Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishing and the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year 2017. A former academic lecturer and freelance editor, Alice is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and book fairs across Europe. Passionate about publishing books in which all children can see themselves reflected, Alice has commissioned award-winning titles by authors and illustrators whose heritage stems from nearly twenty-five countries. Alice is the 2017 winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for women in publishing.

“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 welcome and 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.”


Rukhsana YasminRukhsana Yasmin is Deputy Editor of Wasafiri and has worked in publishing as an editor for over ten years.  She is the winner of the 2012 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for Women in Publishing and in 2014 was named a Bookseller Rising Star. She has published widely at Saqi Books, Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail and Jacaranda—where  she published  Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s award winning Tram 83. She has since worked at Commonwealth Writers on projects including adda stories;  the anthologies So Many Islands, with an introduction by Marlon James; and Safe House, a collection of essays from Africa edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey. She has judged several prizes and spoken at conferences on diversity in publishing, Muslim literature and international writing. Rukhsana is co-editor, with Susheila Nasta, of the forthcoming anthology Brave New Words: The Power of Writing published by Myriad Editions.

“As a former winner of the KSW prize, I can attest to the significant impact it has had on my career, confidence and opportunities in publishing and beyond. There is a wealth of talented women in publishing and I’m excited to be judging the prize this year. What will I be looking for? Passion, energy and entrepreneurship.”


Julia KingsfordJulia Kingsford is a literary agent and marketing consultant. She is co-founder with Charlie Campbell of the literary and marketing agency Kingsford Campbell as well as collaborator with Nikesh Shukla on the ‘Good’ Projects: The Good Immigrant, The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency. Previously she has been CEO of World Book Night and head of marketing at Foyles as well as junior roles at the BBC, Barbican Centre and Random House.

“I’m excited to see a real range of background and experience in applicants and nominees. People who are coming from across the industry: booksellers and agents as well as those in publishing houses from every possible department and those who are forging careers outside of those more traditional work places. I want to see people who are knocking it out of the park as entrepreneurs and in small companies, and those who are make a real difference in their teams in larger corporates.”


Ain-Deheb Bensenouci
is Senior Academic Partnership Manager at Epigeum,
part of Ain photoOxford University Press. Originally from Italy, her publishing journey began five years ago with a bookseller job in Waterstones. In 2015, she completed an MA in Publishing at UCL and moved on to work in both academic and trade publishing with a focus on B2B sales. Ain is also a CIM certified Events Manager and specialises in strategic sales events. She was the 2018 UK Chair of the SYP and she led the team to open the new South West Branch, establish the first Advisory Board and implementing a long term Inclusivity policy. In 2018, she was also nominated a Bookseller Rising Star and is looking forward to continuing to support other young publishers in the industry.

“I’m thrilled to have the chance to be a judge for this amazing prize and I look forward to connecting and getting to know some of the talented young women working in publishing. I hope many will apply or nominate someone for this award. We need to support and empower each other in any way we can.”

Emma PatersonEmma Paterson joined Aitken Alexander Associates in 2018 after five years at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Before that, she worked at The Wylie Agency. In 2018, she was selected as a Bookseller Rising Star.

“As a judge, I would love to reward the passion, tenacity and vitality of a real change maker — of someone who has disrupted the status quo to help foster a publishing industry that is more inclusive, more nimble and more dynamic.”


Prize Advisory Committee

  • Denise Johnstone-Burt – Executive Editorial Director, Walker Books (Co-chair of judges)
  • Catherine Clarke – Literary Agent and Managing Director, Felicity Bryan Associates (Co-chair of judges)
  • Julia Kingsford – Co-founder and Director of Kingsford Campbell and The Good Literary Agency (KSW Committee Member)
  • Emma Paterson – Agent at Aitken Alexander Associates (KSW Committee Member)
  • Rukhsana Yasmin – Deputy Editor of Wasafiri Magazine and winner of the 2012 Prize (KSW Committee Member)
  • Professor Dame Hermione Lee CBE – biographer and President of Wolfson College Oxford


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 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