Race Equality Awards 2016 - Role Models in the Workplace (small org) - HarperCollins

Candice Carty-Williams, Marketing Executive, 4th Estate


Candice conceptualised and executed, from start to finish, a short story prize to give a voice and platform to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers. The prize was devised to help HarperCollins UK proactively discover more diverse voices and ultimately better serve readers from diverse backgrounds, as well as demonstrating a commitment to improving diversity in publishing and bring HarperCollins and 4th Estate to the forefront of inclusivity.

To get the prize off the ground, Candice drew up a clear proposal and enlisted six influential judges from across the industry, which she pitched to her manager and marketing director and to the managing director of her division. She then enlisted six judges, including authors, editors, newspaper columnists, news website editors and retailers. Candice also worked with 4th Estate’s PR director to secure the Guardian as a media partner of the prize and produced a video of the judges discussing the importance of the prize, which appeared on a dedicated landing page on the 4th Estate website.

Following the prize launch, Candice contacted BAME and non-BAME organisations, creative writing courses and university writing courses to promote it. She also worked with HarperCollins to support the prize across the organisation through the communications team and the employee-led diversity forum, HC All In. The prize received 250 entries which Candice read, sifted through and distributed to a group of readers. The prize winner was chosen following a public shortlist and a morning of meticulous judging, and the winning story was published by the Guardian through their paper and social channels, to a fantastic reception, and further support from publishing and other creative industries.


  • The announcement of the prize received almost 30,000 impressions on Twitter and the prize landing page. It was also promoted in national media, resulting in the Guardian wanting to continue the prize annually. There is now an ongoing discussion within HarperCollins to potentially start an open submission policy for BAME writers.
  • Despite a limited budget, and working on the project alone and alongside all of her other work, Candice has championed the prize with enthusiasm and tenacity, engaging senior leaders and colleagues across HarperCollins, organising every aspect of the prize and ensuring her idea was fully executed and recognised by the wider publishing industry. Her aim is now to enlist prize judges with an even wider reach, including authors, broadcasters and journalists, as well as other potential media partners.
  • The prize is a fantastic example of what can be achieved through one person’s vision and conviction and sends a strong message that HarperCollins recognises the need to redress the imbalance in publishing.