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MICHELLE MATTHEWS NOMINATED FOR AWARD (article first published : 2006-03-13)

South African Michelle Matthews has been named by the British Council as a finalist for the 2006 International Young Publisher of the Year (IYPY) Award.

Michelle was selected from thousands of possible international candidates because the British Council felt she best epitomised the award requirement that “the winner… not simply have an impressive CV, but (also) the qualities and vision to be a potential leader in their national publishing sector, with an entrepreneurial drive… tied to a strong creative ability”. She recently left for the UK, joining nine other nominees competing for this prestigious international industry prize at the London Book Fair.

Michelle entered book publishing in 2004, recruited by Struik Publishers to develop their new women’s imprint. Presiding over the launch of Oshun Books in October 2004, Michelle quickly drew notice as one of the industry’s brightest young stars, excited by and invested in “strong new voices, unexplored niches and new readerships”. By the start of 2006, Oshun Books had published 24 titles - 13 of them by first-time authors. These include journalist Sam Cowen’s best-selling “mom”oir Waiting for Christopher; poet Lebo Mashile’s collection In a Ribbon of Rhythm and, most recently, award-winning playwright Nadia Davids’ At Her Feet.

As publishing manager at Oshun Books, Michelle commissions titles, develops manuscripts, liaises with authors, manages her publishing programme, works closely with the sales and marketing teams, and runs a team of full-time and freelance staff. She graduated (with distinction in English) from UCT in 1999 and has also worked as an editor and arts reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was also the managing editor of SL magazine.

The British Council in South Africa believes Michelle is a strong nominee who will be an asset to the IYPY competition process. In being nominated, She joins the growing list of young South Africans in the arts and creative industries doing the country proud internationally.

More information on the 2006 International Young Publisher of the Year at http://www.britishcouncil.org/arts-literature-iypy-2006




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