The winners of The London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Awards have been announced at a prestigious ceremony on the first day of the Fair.
Recipients of the awards, held in association with the Publishers Association, came from countries across five continents.
The Espoo City Library in Finland took home The Library of the Year Award, with judges calling it “a fine example to the world of an open and innovative service for everyone, with an enormously successful reading challenge open to all ages. Its locations and its community programs ensure it reaches the hearts and minds of everyone in the city, embracing new technology and reaching out to the elderly, special needs groups and refugees.”
The Bookstore of the Year Award, sponsored by Gardners, went to Fang Suo Commune in Guangzhou, China. “This award goes from strength to strength and the entries were exceptionally strong this year,” the judges said, “Fang Suo is…breath taking in scale and conception. A vast range and constant activities and events…that gives you a glimpse of what bookstores of the future will be.” A special mention was also given to Yemen Book Shop, Yemen, which was praised for “importing and promoting books and multi-cultural understanding in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, where the mere fact it is there and functioning is remarkable.”
The Literary Festival Award went to the Book Arsenal Literary Festival, which takes place in Kiev, Ukraine. The judges said that the Festival “particularly impressed us because of the commitment of the curators and the breadth and innovation of the programming which engages with cross-disciplinary themes designed to attract a range of different audiences without losing the core literature focus.”
Returning for a second year, the Audiobook Publisher of the Year prize was taken home by Booklava in the UAE. The judges congratulated Booklava on “creating and driving a new market, using successful audiobook models as their starting point, then twisting and reshaping them to create a new model for their own market.”
Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives (USA), was awarded the inaugural International Book Trade Journalist prize. Recognising the talent in the shortlist, the judges said, “from a strong shortlist of international reporters, Publishing Perspectives’ Porter Anderson emerged as our winner. We were impressed by the international nature of his coverage, moving from Greece to Brazil, by the mix of news and analysis he provides, and by his energy and dedication in championing the books industry.”
In the Market Focus Indonesia categories, PT. Bestari Buana Murni was awarded The Market Focus Indonesia Children’s, Young Adult and Education Award, with judges remarking on “their ambitious and vast children’s publishing programme which sees over 300 new titles published each year, and their support of reader development through partnerships with libraries, UNICEF and Room to Read amongst others”. Bentang Pustaka won the Adult Trade Award, winning praise for their “broad scope in genres and innovative ideas to connect with readers”.
The Literary Translation Initiative Award went to India’s Tulika Publishers. Judges praised the children’s book company, commenting, “Tulika is a unique and important initiative. Its ambitious, energetic and inclusive publishing programme is driven by a real social imperative, to promote multilingualism and give children stories in the languages they speak at home. Resisting the absolute dominance of English is vital work, and Tulika does that work with charm and humour. Their books, and the messages from the children who read them, brought a smile to our faces.”
This year’s Inclusivity in Publishing Award, supported by the Publishers Association, was awarded to Jacaranda Books. The judges said that they “were really impressed by Jacaranda’s submission and felt they were an inspiration to some of the other diversity-led imprints that have followed them. The company is run by senior BAME women who themselves are excellent role models and their Twenty in 2020 project is an ambitious and exciting one, backed up strong promotional and marketing campaigns.”
The Nick Perren Publishing Foundation – established in memory of the “publisher’s publisher” and former Profile chairman Nick Perren presented its inaugural Post-Graduate Publishing Award, in support of African publishing careers, to students Tsholofelo Matlhadji and Kirsten Benecke.
Jessica Kingsley was awarded The London Book Fair’s Simon Master Chairman’s Award. She took a subject area that few were looking at – the autism spectrum – and made it her own, the company she founded at her kitchen table in 1987, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, has gone on to achieve profitable growth for every single one of the next 31 years.
At the end of 2017 Jessica sold her company to Hachette UK where it continues to provide a highly respected social and mental health list that appeals to both a professional and a lay readership.Her work has been recognised in the highest places including in this year’s New Year’s Honours list, she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to people with autism.
Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, said “The International Excellence Awards always remind us of the innovative, important and inspiring work being done by all those in the global publishing community. From translators in India and librarians in Finland to literary festivals in Ukraine and literary agents in France, these awards show the breadth of talent working in the publishing industry around the world today. It is absolutely brilliant to recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations here at The London Book Fair, in the creative capital of the world.”
Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive, The UK Publishers Association, said: “From Brazil to Kenya, this year’s winners epitomise the potential of publishing to build a better world, making us proud to be part of this global community. We are particularly delighted to see Jacaranda take home the Inclusivity in Publishing Award in recognition of their proven track record and vision in championing diverse talent. It is inspiring to see that the next generation of publishers are equally passionate about reaching every reader – the future is in good hands.”