Ursula Mackenzie wins Pandora Award 2015

Ursula Mackenzie wins Pandora Award 2015

Little, Brown chairman Ursula Mackenzie has won the Pandora Award - Women in Publishing’s award for "significant and sustained contribution to the publishing industry".

The prize was awarded at Women in Publishing's Christmas party this week. The group, established in 1979, is a career-developmental organisation that works to promote the status of women working within the publishing industry and related trades, while encouraging networking and sharing of information. The Pandora Award has been presented since 1981 and counts Marjorie Scardino among its previous winners (2012).

Mackenzie, formerly a lecturer in literature at the University of Hong Kong, began her career in publishing at literary agency International Scripts and for Granada Publishing as rights manager. After 15 years at Transworld, progressing from an editorial and rights manager to a publisher of hardback books, Mackenzie joined Time Warner Books as group publisher in 2000 and took on the role of c.e.o. in 2005, at which time it was sold to Hachette and she joined the Hachette UK board. She was made c.e.o. of Little, Brown in 2006 and in 2012 was elected president of the Publishers Association. She became chairman of Little, Brown, with David Shelley taking over as its c.e.o., on 1st July, with her eventual retirement planned for the end of 2016.

Mackenzie was nominated by Sphere fiction publisher Catherine Burke. Burke said as part of her nomination: "I can think of no one else who has made such a significant contribution to this industry.

"Under Ursula’s management Little, Brown Book Group has significantly increased in size, incorporating brilliant independent publishing companies Piatkus and more recently Constable & Robinson into the group," Burke said. "Little, Brown Book Group has also won Publisher of the Year three times in 10 years, most recently in 2014; an unprecedented result, with the company described by the judges as being ‘consistently prominent, profitable and creative’."

Burke added: "There have been huge publishing successes throughout Ursula’s career, including global mega-seller The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans for Transworld and more recently at Little, Brown where she acquired the number one international bestsellers Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, which have both achieved sales of over 1,100,000 so far.

"Ursula is respected and admired by all the staff at Little, Brown Book Group and is a thoughtful and dedicated mentor to colleagues across the whole of Hachette."

Mackenzie said she was "delighted" to have been honoured by Women in Publishing with the Pandora Award for 2015.

"There have been many exceptional publishing women honoured in this way over the last 35 years and I am proud to be included in their ranks," she said.

Additionally, the New Venture Award "for pioneering work on behalf of under-represented groups in society" was presented to Dr Teika Bellamy of Mother's Milk Books, a small family-run publisher of books that seek to "normalize" breastfeeding and "celebrate femininity and empathy".

Dr Bellamy said: "I am delighted to be the recipient of the Women in Publishing’s New Venture Award for pioneering work on behalf of under-represented groups in society, particularly so because having been in the business for four years now I am very aware of how challenging the book trade is! Mothers (and breastfeeding mothers and children) shouldn’t be an ‘under-represented’ group in society, but sadly we are because, all too often, our stories aren’t heard or are dismissed as being merely about ‘women’s issues’ and therefore niche and uncommercial. I am extremely proud to be part of the diverse and thriving UK independent publishing scene, which dares to take editorial and financial risks to ensure that vital, unheard stories get told. My hope is that this award will go someway to highlighting the excellent work of my authors, illustrators and co-editors so that Mother’s Milk Books can continue to keep publishing books for a further four years."

Mother's Milk Books' first children’s book Oy Yew by Ana Salote, published in July, was longlisted for the Times/Chicken House prize for children’s fiction.