Rights departments have been hit harder than most by the pandemic. With travel impossible, schedules thrown into chaos and many markets nervous about spending, they have had to be more resourceful and tenacious than ever. The en masse nomination of two teams here reflects the excellent collaboration that has been shown too, while all four individuals on this shortlist appear for the first time.
Joint Winner - Rights Professional & Rights Team of the Year
Caroline Clarke & Nosy Crow
Rights Professional of the Year judges were unable to split this year’s two top contenders, so the award is shared between an individual and a team. Caroline Clarke above was instrumental in the superb 2020 performance of Independent Publisher of the Year Canongate. She and her two rights colleagues scored nearly 200 deals—including dozens for the phenomenally popular Matt Haig — and grew revenues by a third. Backlist and audio contracts increased sharply, and she nurtured partnerships in underexploited territories across Asia, the Arab World and Scandinavia.
Like all rights professionals, Clarke had to adapt to a new world of rights trading, digitising processes and finding ways to bolster online pitches. Judges liked her involvement in every aspect of rights, and her work beyond the day job, including support of aspiring publishers and co-creation of Canongate’s Nan Shepherd Prize.
“Caroline stepped up in difficult circumstances and delivered an amazing performance… she goes above and beyond,” said the judges.
The Nosy Crow rights team of Michela Pea (pictured), Erin Murgatroyd, Núria Martí Pampalona and Lucy Dunnet are recognised after another stellar year of international trading. Between them they generated more than half of the publisher’s turnover, increased sales by 50%, and doubled them in Asia. A Covid strategy of focusing on core customers, coedition deals and backlist reaped rewards, though it established several dozen new partnerships too. “Nosy Crow is a rights machine,” said the judges. “It was a real team effort—they were laser-like in their focus and showed that rights is as much about listening to customers as pitching to them.” They also noted that part of this award belongs to Nosy Crow rights manager Ola Gotkowska, who was diagnosed with MND in 2018.
Thérèse CoenHardman & Swainson
Cathryn GregoryPan Macmillan
Nosy Crow Rights TeamNosy Crow
Simon & Schuster Rights TeamSimon & Schuster