'Impressive' Kim Scott Walwyn shortlist revealed

Foyles head of marketing Miriam Robinson (pictured), literary agent Juliet Mushens, BookMachine founder Laura Austin and Head of Zeus co-founder Laura Palmer are the candidates shortlisted for this year's Kim Scott Walwyn Prize.

Agent Catherine Clarke, co-chair of the judging panel, said the judges had been "deeply impressed" by the quality of entrants.

The prize was established in memory of Kim Scott Walwyn, a publishing director at Oxford University Press who died at the age of 45, and is open to any woman who has worked in publishing in the UK for up to seven years. The winner receives £1,000 and a two-day training course at The Publishing Training Centre.

This year the judging panel sees Clarke joined by Walker Books publisher Denise Johnstone-Burt, Nicola Crossley of Orion, last year's winner Rukhsana Yasmin of Saqi and Andrew Turner of Nelson Croom, the former SYP chair and the first man to judge the award.

The judges said of Austin, e-book marketing manager for YUDU media, that: "Her really innovative achievement . . . was to set up BookMachine, which has become an  international event organisation for publishing professionals who want to network, with events all over the UK and now in New York, Toronto and Barcelona. Laura's vast energy and, more importantly, her ability to turn an idea into something real and useful for the publishing industry, convinced the judges she should be on this very strong shortlist."

Of Mushens, who has just conducted a hot pre-LBF auction for Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, they said: "Juliet has proven to be a rigorous agent who has gone to great lengths to find the best writing. Her intuition for excellent storytelling has enabled her to establish a list of bestselling books in a very short space of time."

Of Palmer, they said it was difficult to believe that she has only six years' publishing experience. "She started as an editorial assistant at Quercus in 2007 where her early championing of an obscure Scandinavian book called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo helped move it into worldwide success. . . it is clear that Laura has already achieved a great deal as an all-rounder in publishing, and has a bright and important future."

Of Robinson, they said: "Miriam impressed the judges with her passion and dedication to bookselling . . . but more than that, she demonstrated the desire, intelligence and creativity to take this passion and create successful projects and campaigns that elevate the entire book trade and support readers."

Clarke, co-chair of the Prize Advisory Committee and the judging panel, commented: "The judges are aware that putting yourself forward for this prize and making a strong case for your own success takes a lot of courage, and we were deeply impressed with the evidence of innovation, passion and sheer hard work in this year's applications. The range reflected the dynamic, challenging, changing ways of bringing books to readers: editors,
publicists, agents, booksellers, and social network founders were among the applicants. So it was very hard to choose our shortlist of four from such a rich array."