Sam Coates, senior rights executive of Vintage Books at Penguin Random House, has won the £10,000 Deborah Rogers Foundation Bursary, which going forwards has been renamed the Deborah Rogers Foundation (DRF) David Miller Bursary.
Lord Berkeley of Knighton announced Coates as the winner yesterday (7th March) at a small ceremony in the offices of Rogers, Coleridge & White in London, after chair of the judges Andrew Franklin, managing director of Profile Books, introduced all shortlisted applicants to the room. The runners-up were Celia Long, senior rights executive at Penguin Books, and Emily Randle, rights executive at David Higham, who each received a £100 book token.
Coates, who caught his break at Penguin after covering maternity for Penguin Adult Rights in 2013, has worked his way up as rights assistant at Vintage and now handles translation (Scandinavia & Eastern Europe). He will now be able to undertake work placements at a range of companies worldwide who have offered them, and has decided to focus specifically on the publishing industries in Holland, Norway and the US. He will also work for a spell in RCW Literary Agency in London.
Coates received a cheque for £2,500 last night and will receive another cheque for £7,500 once his plans are in place. Once he has completed his travels he will be writing a report on his experiences for the trustees of the DRF.
The shortlist for the bursary was compiled from a total of 13 applicants by a board of assessors who were Laurence Laluyaux and Stephen Edwards – both directors of RCW – together with Margaret Halton (ex RCW, now United Agents), Sam Edenborough (ILA) and Ann Rosenthal (ex-RCW). The judges of the bursary, in addition to Franklin, comprised: Michael Bhaskar, publishing director at Canelo; Anne Louise Fisher, founder of Anne Louise Fisher Associates; William Fiennes, author and co-founder of First Story; and Hannah Westland, publisher of Serpent’s Tail.
The following international publishers and agencies have confirmed their willingness to work together with the DRF in sponsoring the new bursary award winner: Editorial Anagrama (Spain), Christian Bourgois Editeur (France) Brombergs Bokförlag (Sweden), Cappelen Damm AS (Norway), Companhia das Letras (Brazil), De Bezige Bij (Netherlands), Guilio Einaudi editore (Italy), Faber & Faber (UK), Farrar Straus and Giroux (USA), S. Fischer Verlag GmbH (Germany), Grove Atlantic, Inc (USA), Gyldendal (Denmark), HarperCollins Inc (USA), Profile Books (UK), Penguin Random House/Vintage (UK), Text Publishing (Australia) with The Agency (UK), The Fritz Agency (Switzerland), Rogers Coleridge & White (UK) and Inkwell Management (USA), also offering placements.
Franklin, chair of the judges, said: "Rights, and perhaps particularly international rights, are an under-celebrated part of the literary world, so the creation of the David Miller Bursary by the Deborah Rogers Foundation is a really welcome move. The calibre of the long list was fantastic, and all three members of the shortlist were hugely impressive. It is a real pleasure to have a winner of the calibre of Sam Coates who will be an ambassador for the Award, the Foundation, and British publishing.”
Gill Coleridge, chair of Rogers Coleridge & White and director of the Deborah Rogers Foundation - who The Bookseller interviewed last year when it launched the bursary alongside its its £10,000 Writers’ Award - said: "One of Deborah’s defining qualities was her total commitment to supporting and nurturing those with talent, whether a new author or someone within the agent and publishing community. Selling and managing rights is at the heart of our business so we set up this bursary to help exceptional young professionals who are already working in this field develop their contacts and understanding of international publishing at a crucial point in their careers.
"I am delighted by the response to this bursary award and I know David Miller, who helped launch it, would be too. We have a very deserving winner out of a strong short list and I wish Sam a very exciting and rewarding time over the coming months. We greatly look forward to hearing about his experiences."
It was revealed during the event that the bursary will henceforth be known as the DRF David Miller Bursary, after David Miller, director of the company, who had helped to launch the bursary and died at the end of last year.
Coleridge said: "There has been a huge international response throughout the publishing world to David’s sudden and tragic death on 30th December and it is with both sadness and pleasure that we announce that the Board and Trustees of the Deborah Rogers Foundation have decided that this DRF Bursary shall henceforth be known asThe Deborah Rogers Foundation David Miller Bursary”.
A memorial for David Miller is due to take place at the Union Chapel, Islington at 3pm this Sunday (12th March).