Friday, 6 May 2011

A Night at...Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

Yesterday night I had the honour to join my fellow SYP committee pals at the award night for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize.
Kim Scott Walwyn

The prize was set up in 2003 in memory of the late OUP publishing director Walwyn, and it recognises not only the professional achievements of women in publishing, but also a promise of their future success. 
This year the price of £1000 was offered by the Society of Young Publishers, along with a one-day course of her choice, courtesy of the Publishing Training Centre (PTC) in Wandsworth. 
SYP Chair Ella Khan introduced the guests and candidates with a lovely speech, and then introduced Helen Fraser, former Penguin UK m.d. Ms Fraser delivered an amazing and touchy speech, which I think touched all of us deeply. She stressed how important it is to be strong and courageous in publishing, especially when you're a woman. She said that women tend not to show off their talent and get enough credit for their achievements, whereas men tend to be more out there and 'in your face', let's say. I loved how she compared men to the little boys in the classroom, waving their hands at the teacher asking for their attention once they've done something - in their eyes - spectacular. I think this is quite true, it's a men's world, but publishing is prominently a female one and we need to grow a set and totally go for it!
I'll try my best to follow this advice, be warned! :)
Anyway, after Helen Fraser's moving speech it came the time for Kate Jury, the Committee Chair, to present the lovely candidates:

  • Lucy Cuthew, Commissioning Editor, Meadowside Children’s Books
  • Jessica Leeke, Fiction Editor, Simon & Schuster UK
  • Sarah Norman, Senior Editor, Atlantic Books
  • Kay Peddle, Assistant Editor, The Bodley Head; Vintage Publishing; Random House
The award went to Kay Peddle, who generously decided to offer her check to a woman entering the publishing world, and could not afford to work as an intern. Because we all know that internship=enslavement!  Well, she was very excited, obviously, and emotional. Loved her genuine surprise when she was called on stage. Kudos to her!
It was a really nice evening, got to chat to some interesting new people, and to the 'old' SYP people. I also got the chance to work behind the 'bar' - I was filling glasses with wine, A LOT of wine. Gosh, gotta love the ever drunk publishing heads!

Pics from the amazing, and always useful Booktrust website

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