Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop on Friday 23rd August announced the winner of the inaugural Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the year awards. Saraband, a company which has transformed itself from a book packager to publisher picked up the accolade along with £4,000 of prize money.
This small company, led by Sarah Hunt, moved to Scotland and into publishing seven years later. During the last five years they have taken huge steps in changing the focus of their publishing list, the formats in which they publish, how we bring our books to market, in response to changes in the wider industry and economy. During 2012-13 they continued to move Scottish authors to the heart of their business, and were selected to represent Scotland’s creative industries at the Scotland House showcase in London during the Olympics.
The panel commented;
‘This is a company that has shown shrewd and strategic business thinking in a shifting context. They are collaborative, innovative and are distinguished by fresh thinking in their use of digital technology. Their move to new approaches still has the interest of authors at its heart. Typically of many SMEs in the industry, they punch impressively above their weight.’
In a very competitive and varied range of submissions the panel of expert judges also awarded aCommendation to Floris Books.
The jewel in Floris Books’ crown is their extensive list of Scottish fiction for children which is published in two ranges: Picture Kelpies, which are Scottish picture books for children aged 3-6; and Kelpies, which are Scottish novels for children aged 8-12. In April 2012 they developed and launched a new range of Kelpies Classics, revitalising classic Scottish children’s novels and authors for a new generation and, with strong, bold covers, ensuring their continued presence in bookshops; titles include The Desperate Journey (Kathleen Fidler), A Stranger Came Ashore (Mollie Hunter), and Six Lives of Fankle the Cat (George Mackay Brown).
The panel commented;
Among many impressive attributes the panel noted the way that–arguably-the company had revolutionised Scottish picture books producing work of exceptional quality in the process of re-inventing themselves. They have a strong and visible presence in the literature and educational sectors and an impressive record of supporting writers and illustrators.
Jim Tough, Executive Director, Saltire Society said of the announcement:
‘We have been encouraged by the number (19), quality and range of applications for this new award that we hope supports and encourages a vital part of the literature world in Scotland and internationally. Saraband and Floris are typical of the people who work hard and work smartly in a changing business context. We take our hats off to them, and of their peers in Scotland. Our friend Dr Gavin Wallace would have been singing their praises.’
Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said:
“Saraband and the other shortlisted publishers represent a Scottish publishing industry in very good health. Creative Scotland, through the work of Dr. Gavin Wallace and his colleagues, has worked in partnership with all of the shortlisted companies and we look forward to building on their, and his, good work in the future.”
Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP, who made the award said;
“The new Scottish Publisher of the Year Awards offers a great opportunity to celebrate and to support Scotland’s fantastic publishing industry.”
“From the quality of the entries it is clear that this spotlight has never been more deserved and I’d like to offer my congratulations to the winner Saraband and all of the short-listed finalists – the level of innovation shown by each one makes them all exceptional ambassadors for the publishing industry both here and across the world.”
The Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award is supported by Creative Scotland and Publishing Scotland.
Remembering Dr Gavin Wallace
The inaugural Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award is dedicated to Dr Gavin Wallace in recognition of his enormous contribution and commitment to Scottish Literature. The award, which was launched this year to celebrate excellence and innovation in Scottish publishing, saw small and large publishers in the running for the award and £4500 prize money.
All the publishers that were shortlisted for the award will have their works on sale in The Book Shop at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
More information on Saraband and Floris is available from the publishers’ websites at www.saraband.net and www.florisbooks.co.uk
The remainder of the 2013 shortlist with comments on their submission from the expert panel of judges is as follows:
The panel recognised in BackPage a company that had made strong progress working in a focused way to reach an elusive reading market of sports fans without compromising the quality of the content and the production values. They noted a year of strong commercial growth and the sense of a company willing to listen, learn and innovate.
After fifteen strong years Barrington Stoke is a company responding positively to new circumstances and finding new ways to be original. The panel recognised the clarity of their mission and commitment to it, growing in the context of a flat market, and all the time remaining true to their commitment to make quality authors available to dyslexic and less experienced leaders.
Edinburgh University Press
The clear commitment to investing in their own change for a long standing and important publisher in Scotland impressed the panel. Their changes have been bold and strategically astute as they entered new markets, maintaining an impressive level of growth in digital and book sales as well as producing books of real quality such as the Saltire Award winning ‘The Military History of Scotland’.
At a time when support for literary fiction is a real challenge, Freight has been brave and bold in their commitment. Their presence on this shortlist notes their support and nurturing of writers and their open and innovative approach to all of their work after only a short time in publishing.
About the Award
2013 has seen the first Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award. The award sought to recognise the company who has the most exciting, progressive and developmental story to tell over the previous year of their activity. We would expect the winning applicant to be distinguished by strong performance in at least three of the following characteristics;
- Innovation and boldness
- Successfully entering new markets
- Successfully developing new products
- Initiating and successfully managing change
- Supporting and nurturing writers
Experts in the publishing field have been brought together to create an independent judging panel.
The panel for the inaugural award comprises:
- Jenny Brown, Literary Agent, Jenny Brown Associates
- Rosamund de la Hey, Main Street Trading Company, St Boswells
- Claire Malcolm, New Writing North
- Marion Sinclair, CEO, Publishing Scotland
- Professor Claire Squires, University of Stirling
- Aly Barr, Creative Scotland