Last night we attended the coveted Kim Scott Walwyn prize giving at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon where we joined some of the most influential people in the publishing industry to celebrate extraordinary women in publishing. The prize was established in memory of Kim Scott Walwyn, a ground-breaking Publishing Director at Oxford University Press who died in 2002 at only 45 years of age. The prize is aimed at young women who have achieved great things within publishing and have really added value and innovation to the publishing industry.
We heard from the Booktrust, The Society of Young Publishers and the Publishing Training Centre followed by a keynote speech from the incredible Victoria Barnsley, former CEO of HarperCollins. In her speech, Victoria reminded us that with increased recruitment from outside of the publishing industry, particularly from technology companies, that the industry’s progress on gaining that gender balance is slowing and has almost come to a complete halt. She highlighted three key points that publishers need to address to maintain the gender balance and to keep being successful. Firstly, companies need to be more gender diverse when it comes to their boards – there is proof that this makes a company more financially successful; secondly, businesses need to be more flexible and thirdly, they need to be less ageist; there is a huge pool of women over the age of 50 who want to get back into work who have great experience and ideas for the current publishing market.
The shortlist was absolutely fantastic and the nominees were:
Melissa Cox – Children’s New Titles Buyer, Waterstones
Lynsey Dalladay – Community Manager, Penguin Random House
Sarah Hesketh – Freelance Project Manager & Events and Publications Manager, The Poetry Translation Centre
Hellie Ogden – Literary Agent, Janklow & Nesbit
Anne Perry – Editor, Hodder & Stoughton
Congratulations to the whole shortlist and particularly to Anne Perry, for winning the prize! Anne is such a wonderful example to us all of being innovative and really taking the lead on new initiatives, particularly through her championing of genre fiction. A fantastic example of this is The Kitschies, genre awards for speculative and fantasy fiction that she and her husband created. It was a particularly special moment as Anne’s mother, visiting from the USA, was able to attend and share in her daughter’s achievements – I’m not sure there were many dry eyes in the room at this point! It was a great evening and we are truly thankful to have been able to be a part of such an inspiring celebration of talented women in publishing.
Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.