On London Book Fair’s Day One: The 2018 International Excellence Awards

In News by Porter Anderson

Cassava Republic, the Nigerian publishing house founded by Bibi Bakare-Yusef, was named winner of the Inclusivity in Publishing Award, and US-based Sara Miller McCune was on-hand to accept her Lifetime Achievement Award.

Emma Shercliff of Cassava Republic Press accepts the inclusivity award from the Publishers Association’s Emma House at London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. Image: Porter Anderson

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

Some 25 Winners Named; New Audiobook Publisher Nod
At a ceremony and reception on Tuesday evening (April 10) at the Olympia London conference center, the London Book Fair has named 25 entities and people winners of its International Excellence Awards.

The fair produces its awards program annually in association with the Publishers Association, which earlier in the day at the trade show released its new set of 10 priorities for government, “to support the UK’s world-leading publishing industry after Brexit.” The awards program again this year was sponsored by Hytex.

In terms of national markets, India and the United States each drew two awards, while three awards went to Latvia—one of the Baltic trio of markets recognized together as this year’s London Book Fair Market Focus. Among awards available to the Baltics’ contenders, Zvaigzne ABC Publishers won the Education Publisher Award and Dienas Grāmata the Adult Trade Publisher Award.

The Inclusivity in Publishing Award for Nigeria’s Cassava Republic was accepted by Emma Shercliff of London, where the company has an office. Founder Bibi Bakare-Yusef has recently begun distributing titles in the American market, as well.

Estonia’s Children’s Republic won the Market Focus Baltics Cultural and Literary Initiative and Lithuania’s Alma Littera won the Market Focus Baltics Young Adult Publisher Award.

In an unusual outcome, two people were named to the Literary Agent of the Year prize, Deborah Harris from the Deborah Harris Agency of Israel and Gloria Gutierrez of Spain’s Balcells Agency.

Amid the growing excitement around audiobooks’ reassertion in the market, the fair this year created an Audiobook Publisher of the Year prize, and it was handed to Penguin Random House USA. “Crucial to Penguin Random House’s audio success,” judges wrote, “is finding the right voices, making accurate recordings and memorable performances. Perhaps realizing that those are the minimal standards expected of fully professional audiobook production from a house of the magnitude of PRH, the jurors added that what had driven their final decision was “professionalism, sheer quality, and [the] scale of Penguin Random House’s ambition.”

The Literary Festival Award went to the George Town Literary Festival, which takes place in a UNESCO World Heritage site in Malaysia. In their rationale for the selection of George Town, the jurors for the catetory wrote, “In a strong field, George Town Literary Festival stands out as a vibrant, diverse, and brave festival that engages with a wide community of voices, speaking to the world from a complex region.”

Sara Miller McCune: Lifetime Achievement

As announced earlier by Publishing Perspectives, the program’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to SAGE Publishing’s American founder, Sara Miller McCune. A detailed commentary by Dame Lynne Brindley about McCune mentioned her leadership in aligning with UN sustainability goals. “We hold you dear and congratulate you on this Lifetime Achievement Award,” Brindley said.

“SAGE has reinvented itself many times since I founded it in 1965 … [with digital transforming] our original journals business into a range of products that would never have existed in a traditional print world.”Sara Miller McCune

In her acceptance remarks, McCune spoke of how “half of our senior management around the world is women.” And she committed to performing a gender pay gap report for her California-based corporation, in alignment with the mandatory reports now required in the UK of companies with 250 or more employees.

“It’s often appropriate to avoid silos,” McCune said, “because some of the best things come from interdisciplinary good things” come from the cross-influence of a unified company structure and content development.

“I also want to acknowledge back in the States the part of our group that’s nonprofit, the Social Justice Foundation,” which was founded a year ago. McCune has created her foundation “to translate information to a more general audience in North America,” built on what she calls her four justices: economic, educational, environmental, and social.

“SAGE has reinvented itself many times since I founded it in 1965,” she said, “long before most of you were born … [with digital transforming] our original journals business into a range of products that would never have existed in a traditional print world.”

Below is a full listing of this year’s winners.

SAGE Publishing founderf Sara Miller McCune accepts her Lifetime Achievement Award. Image: Porter Anderson

London Book Fair International Excellence Award Winners

Academic and Professional Publisher Award
Supported by Research Information
Brill Publishers (Netherlands)

Audiobook Publisher of the Year
Supported by BookExpo
Penguin Random House Audio (USA)

Bookstore of the Year Award
Sponsored by Gardners
The Uppsala English Bookshop (Sweden)

Educational Initiatives Award
Quirky Kid (Australia)

Educational Learning Resources Award 
Supported by The China Publishing & Media Journal
Ideas Roadshow (Canada)

Library of the Year Award
National Library of Latvia (Latvia)

LitTranslation Initiative Award
Geopoetika (Serbia)

The Literary Agent Award
Deborah Harris, The Deborah Harris Agency (Israel)
Gloria Gutierrez, Balcells Agency (Spain)

Literary Festival Award
Supported by The International Literature Showcase
George Town Literary Festival (Malaysia)

Quantum Innovation Award
Tag Livros book club, Brazil

Rights Professional Award
Jennifer Powell, Scholastic (USA)

London Book Fair Simon Master Chairman’s Award
Asoke K. Ghosh, chairman and managing director, PHI Learning (India)a

Awards eligible for entries from Market Focus Baltics only:

Market Focus Baltics Adult Trade Publisher Award
Dienas Grāmata (Latvia)

Market Focus Baltics Education Publisher Award
Zvaigzne ABC Publishers (Latvia)

Market Focus Baltics Children’s and Young Adult Publisher Award
Kake Make (Alma Littera) (Lithuania)

Market Focus Baltics Cultural and Literary Initiative Award
Children’s Republic (Estonia)

Awards eligible for entries from all countries, including the UK:

Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award: Publisher
Hachette Livre (France)

Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award: Initiative
Daisy Forum of India (India)

Awards eligible for entries from the UK only:

Inclusivity in Publishing Award
Supported by the Publishers Association
Cassava Republic

Association for Publishing Education (APE) Dissertation and Project Prizes

  • Best MA Dissertation: Lucie DuCarre, Kingston University
  • Best BA Dissertation: Annabelle Rose, Oxford Brookes University
  • Best MA/BA Practical Project Prize: Freya Maenhout, Oxford Brookes University
  • Best Overall Project: Freya Maenhout, Oxford Brookes University

An award eligible for entries from China only:

Bookstore Spirit of China Award, sponsored by Gardners
Sanlian Taofen Bookstore


More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here

Publishing Perspectives’ Spring Magazine is focused on inclusivity and diversity. It’s ready here for your download as a PDF, and is available in print at London Book Fair.

In it, we’ve asked publishing people how we can make our industry and the books we publish reflect increasingly diverse populations in many countries. And we’ve asked them to articulate why this is important to publishers, readers, and society at large.

And Publishing Perspectives is hiring: see information about our search for a marketing and business development manager here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.