Alice Curry, short listed for the 2017 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize talks passion
Sometimes I wonder why I’m in publishing. The market is fickle, the margins are tiny, the infrastructure is impossibly opaque and I’m certainly not going to make my millions. I’m short-staffed, under-paid and those two-week holidays where you leave work behind are almost definitely a thing of the past. Thoughts of gainful employment, where a company pays me to do a job, rather than me paying the company to keep it going, tend to pop into my head at inopportune moments – usually when toppling under the weight of a stack of catalogues or filling out insurance forms and customs declarations.
Yet, despite the manifold reasons why not to enter the publishing industry, and why specifically not to set up a small independent publishing house, I can’t actually think of anything in the world I would rather be doing. Who else gets to work with truly inspiring authors and illustrators from around the world every day of the week? Who else gets to ponder perspectives, debate ideas, discuss narrative arcs, illuminate meaningful moments in a child’s life – with a team they truly respect – all in a day’s work? Who else gets to feel that they are working in some, small way towards creating a fairer and more balanced representation of voices across the publishing spectrum by publishing books in which all children can see themselves reflected?
It’s for these reasons that publishing – like the younger brother you always complain about but secretly love dearly – is, after all’s said and done, the only industry for me. Passionate, hard-working women like the other candidates on the Kim Scott Walwyn shortlist remind me that the challenges that beset small publishers are in fact opportunities and that the support of likeminded colleagues and friends can make even customs declarations bearable. For the encouragement this wonderful award brings, I’m truly grateful.
Alice Curry, Founder and Publisher, Lantana Publishing – shortlisted for this year’s Kim Scott Walwyn Prize.