Bologna Publishers’ Prize Has January 31 Deadline; ‘Comics Corner’ Is New This Year

In News by Porter Anderson

Bologna’s influential Best Children’s Publishers of the Year program has its deadline for submissions this year at the end of the month, as comics get a new showcase at the Italian fair.

At the 2019 awards ceremony for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Best Children’s Publishers of the Year program at the Palazzo d’Accursio. Image: BCBF

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

Note: Since this story was published, Bologna has announced a delay to May 4 to 7 of its fair, amid an Italian outbreak of COVID-19. Our story is here.

BOP Submission Deadline: January 31
Italy’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair (March 30 to April 2) will have its 57th iteration this year, but the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publishers of the Year is young by comparison, this year in its eighth annual cycle.

This is the prize program that divides its prizes into six geographical areas: Europe, Asia, Africa, North america, Central and South America, and Oceania.

This year, the program is presented in association with the International Publishers Association (IPA) working with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE),  and the goal is recognition of publishers the output of which emphasizes “professional and intellectual skill” in each of the program’s six regions.

And in an era in which rights sales are rapidly gaining in revenue importance alongside standard book sales, the prize, organizers say, “is designed to foster a mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas among different countries, areas and cultural identities across the world.”

Winners in this competition are chosen by exhibitors at the book fair, which this year features the United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah as guest of honor during its ongoing UNESCO World Book Capital year.

Once nominations are in at the end of the month, representatives of Bologna, IPA and AIE will winnow them down to five shortlisted works per region. Timing:

  • Shortlists: February 10
  • Exhibitor voting by: March 2

Winners in past years’ competitions are not eligible for the 2020 cycle. Members of IPA, cultural institutions devoted to book and reading promotion worldwide, and the publishing houses exhibiting at the 2020 Bologna Children’s Book Fair are invited to nominate a maximum of 17 publishing houses, of which up to five can be from their own geographical area (not necessarily their own country) and up to two nominations from each of the other geographical areas. Publishers cannot nominate themselves.

More details of process and procedure is here.

Last year’s awards featured:

  • For Africa, Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana, founded in 1992 and specialized in children’s books that deal with environmental themes.
  • For Asia, Taiwan’s Locus Publishing Company, founded in 1996. Its publications aim to capture the spirit of “future, adventure culture.”
  • For Europe, the Portuguese company Orfeu negro. Founded in 2007, this publisher focuses on the arts and first ventured into the world of children’s publishing in 2008, in particular with illustrated books. 
  • For North America, the Comme des géants, Canada, a young independent publisher specialized in books for infants that stood out for the quality of its narratives, literature, and graphics.
  • For Central and South America, Argentina’s Limoneroa publisher that after many years of publishing educational material, in 2014 branched out successfully into illustrated books.
  • For Oceania, the Australian Scribble Kids’ Booksan eclectic publisher of children’s books.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair delegates review the 2019 show’s illustration exhibition: Image: BCBF

New ‘Comics Corner’ Exhibition Area at Bologna

Entries closed Wednesday (January 15) in Bologna’s Illustration Exhibition 2020, and organizers report that thousands of works created by 2,574 artists from 66 markets have been reviewed by a panel of jurors comprising Valérie Cussaguet, Enrico Fornaroli, Lorenzo Mattotti, Cathy Olmedillas and Machiko Wakatsuki.

This year, the fair also features a new Comics Corner, in keeping with the rising interest in comics and other graphical storytelling formats in many parts of the world industry.

The special exhibition area is to concentrate exhibitors of graphical work for children in international markets.

Of potential special interest is a debate on translations of these works and the particular components involved in interpreting graphics-based literature across languages.

If you’re interested in exhibiting in the Comics Corner program, there’s an application form (PDF) here.

Artwork for the inaugural 2020 Comics Corner exhibition area on graphical storytelling at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: BCBF

More coverage from Publishing Perspectives related to Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, and more from us on awards in books and publishing is here.     

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.