Industry Notes: Bulgaria Names Its ‘Magic Pearls’; the UK’s Missingham Launches Her ‘Lounge’

In News by Porter Anderson

Four years into its prize program, Sofia’s reading-promotion effort fields a quartet of prizes. And Bath-based industry player Sam Missingham opens a book recommendation site.

The Magic Pearl trophies in Sophia await the awards announcement on Thursday (April 27). Image: Provided by the Detski Knigi Foundation

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A People’s Choice Prize in Kids’ Books
In a vote reportedly involving a record-breaking participation level of more than 6,000 children, authors Radostina Nikolova and Nedelcho Bogdanov have won Bulgaria’s Magic Pearl Awards for a second time.

Nikola Raykov wins the
Magic Pearl Prize in Sofia in the ‘Innovators’ category. Image: Provided by Detski Knigi Foundation

The awards are managed as a popular vote among children aged 6 to 15. The competition is organized by the the NGO Detski Knigi Foundation and this year drew 104 nominations in four categories.

  • Nikolova’s winning title, My Beautiful Antlers,’ is in the middle-grade range, recommended for students aged 9 to 11: the “Dreamers” category for purposes of the competition.
  • Bogdanov won for the gamebook Balgar 3: Interstellar Destroyer, for readers aged 12-15, classified as “Masters” in the competition’s lexicon.
  • The youngest category of readership for purposes of the competition is called the “Discoverers” group, ages 6 t0 8 years, and the winner in that segment is reported to be Isquo: Legend of the First Kuker Warrior, a tie-in with an animation series produced by Zmei Studios.
  • And in the “Innovators” segment, which honors interactive and multimedia work for children, the winner is Dobrosatsite by Nikola Raykov.

Speaking for the Detski Knigi Foundation, which focuses its efforts on raising reading abilities among Bulgarian children, Valentina Stoeva is quoted in a prepared statement, saying, “This year’s Magic Pearl contest was extremely interesting with really small gaps between the winners in some of the categories [as far as the public vote goes] and dozens of mini-events in support of the awards.

“I think that what we started in 2013 is now producing results as more and more children in Bulgaria are showing their love for reading” by participating in the vote.

Author Radostina Nikolova speaks in Sofia on Thursday (April 27), after winning her second Magic Pearl prize in children’s literature. Image: Provided by the Detski Knigi Foundation

‘Curation and Recommendations’

Sam Missingham

In the UK, book industry personality Sam Missingham is well known for her @SamAtLounge Twitter handle.

Now, that lounging business has become a business—or at least a serious avocation.

With her position cancelled as digital project manager at HarperCollins UK, Missingham has launched a book enthusiasts’ recommendation site, Lounge Books.

She tells her former workplace (prior to Harper), The Bookseller, that the new venture is a hobby in response to the plethora of books being produced by the industry.

“My hope for Lounge Books,” she’s quoted saying by The Bookseller’s Katherine Cowdrey, “is that people discover great new books.

“As the number of books being published continues to grow rapidly, there is still a need for curation and recommendations.

“A lot of curation is already happening, such as the literary awards, competitions and prizes. I plan to include as many as possible on Lounge Books. I also find it quite hard to track the number of prizes and awards out there, so hopefully this will help.”

Category icons on Sam Missingham’s new Lounge Books site

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.