Puffin editor Lewis-Oakes wins KSW Prize

Puffin editor Lewis-Oakes wins KSW Prize

Children’s book editor Rebecca Lewis-Oakes has been named as the winner of the 10th Kim Scott Walwyn Prize. 

Lewis-Oakes, an editor at Puffin, was one of the first people to commission a YouTube star, before vloggers became the rage, prize organisers said. 

Joining Faber Children’s Books in 2010, Lewis-Oakes approached YouTube star Sprinkle of Glitter, before vloggers became popular. She has also looked after the children’s books for the major estates at Faber, including T S Eliot, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Since being shortlisted for the KSW Prize Rebecca has moved to Penguin Random House to take up the position of Editor at Puffin.

She beat off competition from The Bookseller’s books and media editor Anna James, literary agent Jo Unwin, Taylor & Francis production archivist Brianna Corbett and CUP commissioning editor Nisha Doshi to win the £1,000 prize, sponsored by the Society of Young Publishers. 

Lewis-Oakes was announced as this year’s winner at a ceremony at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon, London, where novelist Kate Mosse OBE gave the keynote speech.

Lewis-Oakes said: “Ever since I joined the Society of Young Publishers on my MA Publishing I have admired the winners and nominees of this prestigious award and I feel honoured now to be named among them.”

Catherine Clarke and Denise Johnstone-Burt, co-chairs of Prize Advisory Committee and the judging panel, said: “We have chosen Rebecca Lewis-Oakes as the winner of the 10th Kim Scott Walwyn Prize because, in the words of her colleagues, she is ‘an extremely talented editor, a digital visionary, and an outstanding modern publishing professional with a huge range of skills and abilities’. The judges were struck by the sparky intelligence which sang out of her application, and agreed that she will be a significant player in the world of children’s publishing in the interesting times that lie ahead.”

Diana Gerald, c.e.o of Book Trust, which manages the prize, added: “People like Rebecca make our lives easier by recognising new stories and writers that will really engage and excite children.”

The KSW Prize recognises emerging talent among women in publishing and this year’s winner joins Prize alumni including: last year’s winner Anne Perry, Miriam Robinson; Rukhsana Yasmin; Kay Peddle; Kathy Rooney; Clare Alexander; Annette Thomas; Penelope Hoare; and the inaugural winner Lynette Owen OBE.