London Book Fair Names Its 2020 Trailblazers and Charity of the Year

In News by Porter Anderson

A home library delivery program for the elderly is the official 2020 charity at London Book Fair, which also is honoring five young publishing players.

London Book Fair’s newly named 2020 Trailblazers are, from left, Magdalene Abraha, Eleanor Pilcher, Harriet Egleton, Beth Farrell, and Gauthier Van Malderen. Image: LBF

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

The Five Winners Have VIP Access to LBF
Chosen from its longlist of 31 publishing professionals younger than 30,  the 2020 London Book Fair administration today (January 29) has announced its slate of this year’ Trailblazer Awards.

This year’s gang of five includes a bookseller, a marketer, an entrepreneur, a literary scout, and an editorial manager.

They are:

  • Beth Farrell, Marketing Assistant, Blackwell’s
  • Eleanor Pilcher, Marketing Manager, Avon, HC
  • Gauthier Van Malderen, Founder and CEO, Perlego Ltd
  • Harriet Egleton, Senior Literary Scout, Daniela Schlingmann Literary Scouting
  • Madgalene Abraha, Editorial Manager, A Quick Ting On / Jacaranda

While most of the jobs and companies reflected on the list are self-explanatory, you may not know of two:

A Quick Ting On at Jacaranda is Abraha’s nonfiction series of books focused on the British black community and its culture, written by a collective of black writers under the age of 30.

And Perlego is an e-textbook library founded in 2016 by Van Malderen and Matthew Davis as an alternative to the cost of standard university textbooks. Inevitably called a “Spotify of textbooks,” the company has had success in attracting capital, announcing a Series A round in November of some £7 million (US$9.1 million).

As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, the longlist for the honor comprised 31 people. Nominees must work in “the publishing or book world in the UK.” Interns can be included among the nominees, as long as they’re actively performing a role, not in full-time educational spots.

The five winners each receive VIP admission to the fair, dinner at the Book Society, a six-month subscription to BookBrunch, and annual membership in the Byte the Book service organization.

Jacks Thomas

In a prepared statement, London Book Fair director Jacks Thomas is quoted, saying, “This year’s winners are inspirational, pointing to a bright future for publishing. Already innovating key areas of publishing, discovering new voices, championing inclusivity and improving access to books, we cannot wait to see what they do next.”

The judges for the program included Thomas; the Publishers Association’s Ruth Howells; the Society of Young Publishers’ Georgia Goodall; BookBrunch editor Neill Denny; and David Roche, chair of The London Book Fair.

Past winners of the Trailblazer Awards are:


  • Hena Bryan, Bryan House Publishing
  • Nicola Chang, Good Literary Agency
  • Salma Ibrahim, Literary Natives
  • Sabby Kaur, Emerald Publishing
  • Leena Normington, Vintage Penguin Random Press


  • Abiola Bello, The Author School and Hashtag Press
  • Anna Cunnane, Abrams & Chronicle Book ltd
  • Katie Seaman, Ebury Press
  • Natalie Shaw, Granta
  • Phoebe Morgan, HarperCollins


  • Anna Russo, Hodder Education
  • Caroline Tatam, Cambridge University Press
  • Claire O’Neill, Audible UK
  • Heather McDaid, 404 Ink
  • Željka Marošević, Daunt Books Publishing


  • George Burgess, Gojimo
  • Clio Cornish, HarperCollins
  • Nick Coveney, Kings Road Publishing
  • Ella Kahn, DKW Literary Agency
  • Bryony Woods, DKW Literary Agency

LBF Names Royal Voluntary Service as Its 2020 Charity

Image: Royal Voluntary Service

Each year, London Book Fair designates an official charity, and this year it has announced the Royal Voluntary Service, which works to alleviate isolation and loneliness among the elderly—in part through a home library program.

In the library outreach effort, volunteers work with 19 library services in the UK to select content and then deliver it during in-person visits.

As the trade show’s designated charity, the Royal Voluntary Service will have an exhibition space at Olympia London as well as marketing support from the fair. The backing continues through the year with a promotional presence on the LBF site.

In a statement on the announcement, Thomas is quoted, saying, “The RVS home library service makes books readily available to those who cannot easily access bookshops or libraries, which is surely the most fantastic initiative in itself.

“However, the home library service does so much more than simply deliver books. They enable the pleasure and companionship that books offer to those for whom libraries and bookshops have become inaccessible.

“This fabulous service demonstrates very powerfully just what an important and enduring role books play across our lives. It’s a privilege to offer the Royal Voluntary Service home library service a platform from which to share their work at London Book Fair 2020.”

And for the Royal Voluntary Service, regional partnerships manager Anna Foley is quoted, saying, “As well as ensuring that readers can continue to enjoy their love of literature, our home library service volunteers offer a lifeline to the older people they support—a friendly, familiar face regularly visiting people whose mobility and social interaction are limited.

“Thanks to the exhibition space and marketing support from LBF, we’re confident more people will be inspired to support our work.”

The program is the seventh London Book Fair Charity of the Year.

More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here, and more from us on publishing and book awards is here.

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 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.