A dedicated Publishing student who travelled 120 miles each day to attend classes has won a major national award. Competing against students from across the UK, Laura Kincaid of Edinburgh Napier was awarded first prize for her indepth research into the publishing industry.

This prestigious annual award, run by the UK Association for Publishing Education (UK APE, http://www.ukape.org) and the Sue Thomson Foundation, selects the best Publishing dissertation in the whole of the UK. The distinguished dissertation award is judged by publishing industry experts, with representatives from well known publishers such as Penguin, Pearson and Hachette UK.

Submissions were received from UK APE universities teaching publishing, and the dissertations covered a range of research topics. Following a rigorous selection process, the judging panel nominated Laura Kincaid of Edinburgh Napier as the overall Undergraduate winner. Her exemplary dissertation is entitled: ‘Are publishers in control? An examination of the power dynamics of UK consumer trade publishers’ relationships with Amazon’.

Laura joined BA (Hons) Publishing in 2nd year and not only excelled in this piece of independent research, but also in the practical group work. Of notable success was the live project module which saw her class publish a brand new Aromatherapy textbook, regarded as the prominent book in its field, as well as a new edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles‘, the latter being distributed to schools and libraries across Scotland. Laura is currently employed at the Edinburgh-based publishing house Canongate, where she has been working since graduating with a First Class Honours degree. ‘Receiving this award was both a surprise and a delight. I’m thrilled to have my work recognized in this way,’ she said.

The judges – John Whitley (Chair) of the Publishing Training Centre, Hachette UK consultant Martin Neild, Pearson’s Lynette Owen and Simon Winder of Penguin – commented on the high standard of submission. ‘Laura’s work was a brave piece on a highly relevant and contentious area… to be commended for its comprehensive overview of a relevant and difficult subject,’ said Whitley.

Speaking on behalf of UK APE, Alison Baverstock congratulated Laura and emphasized the role now played by universities such as Edinburgh Napier in developing and maintaining research into the publishing industry. ‘Publishing today is a fast-moving industry… Universities teaching publishing studies now offer the opportunity to place the industry within a wider framework of thinking: bringing together best practice, a broad awareness of trends within the business environment, and a vital historical and international perspective.’

Professor Alistair McCleery, Subject Group Leader of Publishing studies at Edinburgh Napier, and Director of the Scottish Centre for the Book, highlighted Edinburgh Napier’s leading role in Publishing education: ‘This award, in competition against all the other UK universities, reflects the strength and depth with which Edinburgh Napier equips its publishing students.’

In praising Laura’s tremendous achievement he added: ‘The competition and the high standard of entries is a testament to the excellence of publishing research in the UK. Laura’s dissertation reflects the diversity and quality of the teaching at Edinburgh Napier and further supports our standing as an International Centre of Excellence in Publishing Education, supporting world-class research across a broad spectrum of publishing activities. Laura’s achievement, like those of our other young publishing professionals, confirms our commitment to practice-based, industry-recognised learning.’