The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize today announces its 2017 shortlist of five talented women working in the publishing industry. Collectively called ‘forces of nature’ by the judging panel who stood out for their passion and determination to effect change.
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 in 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.
Winner 2017 Prize
Alice Curry – Founder and Publisher, Lantana
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.
What the judges said:
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.
The 2017 Shortlist
Amy Durant – Publishing Director, Endeavour Press
Amy Durant completed an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature before joining Endeavour Press as a Publishing Assistant in 2013. She is now Publishing Director of Endeavour Press, and has helped found and run five other publishing imprints: Venture Press; Albion Press; Pioneering Press; The Odyssey Press and Endeavour Ink. She is also working part-time on a PhD thesis on Aphra Behn, through Queen Mary, University of London, and she is currently judging the Historical Writers’ Association Endeavour Ink Gold Crown Award for the best historical novel of the year.
What the judges said:
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, 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
Candice Carty-Williams is a Senior Marketing Executive at Vintage where she works on campaigns for literary fiction, non-fiction and graphic novels. She is a Bookseller Rising Star 2016 and the creator of the 4th Estate and Guardian BAME Short Story Prize, an initiative she started in an attempt to redress the lack of voices of colour in publishing. Candice lives in South London.
What the judges said:
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 high regard for her work as a marketer. Candice was nominated 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 Braybrooke has worked for award-winning independent publisher Scribe since 2010, initially at its head office in Melbourne, Australia, and since 2013 in London, where she helped to launch and now runs its fledgling UK office.
What the judges said:
Sarah was instrumental in the launch of Scribe in the UK and the impact Sarah has had in such a short space of time is hugely impressive. She 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 and we look forward to seeing the future heights of her career.
Zeljka Marosevic – Co-Publisher, Daunt Books Publishing
Željka Marošević graduated from Cambridge and began her career on the highly-competitive HarperCollins Graduate Scheme, before going on to work at 4th Estate. In 2013, at the age of 23, she was hired to launch Melville House UK, a new British arm of the award-winning US publisher. She single handedly ran the publisher for three years and built its reputation in the UK. As Managing Director, she oversaw publicity, marketing and sales, and acquired books including Maggie Nelson’s groundbreaking The Argonauts. In 2016 Marošević joined Daunt Books as Co-Publisher where she jointly runs the imprint alongside Karen Maine, overseeing all aspects of the publishing process, and acquiring new and rediscovered titles in English and in translation. Recent or forthcoming authors include Patrick Modiano, M.F.K. Fisher and Kathleen Rooney. She was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2014 and earlier this year she was awarded an LBF Trailblazer Award.
What the judges said:
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 her 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 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) 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 book token courtesy of National Book Tokens.
Catherine Clarke/Denise Johnstone-Burt, Co-Chair of the Prize Committee, and Agent at Felicity Bryan Associates, said:
“OVERALL COMMENT ON THE SHORTLIST AS A GROUP AND WHAT THEY REPRESENT. PERHAPS SOMETHING ABOUT WHY YOU THINK WE HAD SO MANY ENTRIES THIS YEAR – HARDER TO STAND OUT, PRIZE IS HELPING TO EMPOWER WOMEN AND INSTILL CONFIDENCE IN THEM AMIDST A HEIGHTENED SENSE OF ANXIETY AROUND WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN A TURBULENT POLITICAL CLIMATE?”
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 chaired by Catherine Clarke, Agent and MD of Felicity Bryan Associates, and Denise Johnstone-Burt, Publisher at Walker Books.