London Book Fair’s 2020 Trailblazer Award Longlist: Promising Pros

In News by Porter Anderson

The London Book Fair’s Trailblazer Awards for publishing professionals younger than 30 has a longlist of 31 contenders in its fifth year of operation.

At the 2019 London Book Fair. Image: Porter Anderson

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

Five Will Be Named Winners
The longlist for the 2020 London Book Fair edition of the Trailblazer Awards names no fewer than 31 publishing professionals who are younger than 30.

Nominees to this honor 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.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that five winning members of the workforce are chosen from this initial pool.

This year—the program’s fifth—those five lucky winners will be named on January 28 at White City Hall in an event hosted by the fair and the Society of Young Publishers. Partners in the program include the UK’s Publishers Association and BookBrunch.

In a prepared statement, Jacks Thomas, London Book Fair’s director, is quoted, saying, “The standard of entries has been phenomenal this year, representing the creativity and talent found throughout the book industry, from booksellers to agents, publicists to audio editors. I don’t envy our panel of judges, who have a real challenge ahead of them in selecting a shortlist.”

Jacks Thomas

Of the 31 longlisted workers here for this year, four are men. Last year’s group of winners was all-female—as was the case in 2018 and 2017, as well. The Trailblazer program has consistently highlighted strong women in the business, 18 of the past four years’ 20 winners being female.

And as Thomas is suggesting in her comment, one of the most interesting things the Trailblazer longlist shows us is the array of titles to be found today in the UK trade.

Typically, there’s a lot of movement among publishing houses and retail centers in the British business, personnel-change announcements landing in newsroom inboxes almost daily. But while you’d think this meant that the roles—or at least the positions’ names—might be the same from house to house, a list like this reveals a broad array of assignments and variations.

For example, in addition to the expected rights, marketing, and editing roles, you’ll find a library marketing executive, a community outreach manager and (similarly) an engagement manager, a consultant digital strategist, and a global diversity and inclusion executive.

London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards Longlist

  • Abbie Smith, assistant editor at Hamerville Media Group
  • Alice Morgan, content administrator at Audible
  • Alix Lowe, shop manager at Blackwell’s Bookshop
  • Amy Ellis, rights and licensing manager at Publishers’ Licensing Services
  • Anna Shannon, marketer at Oxford University Press
  • Becca Parkinson, engagement manager at Comma Press
  • Beth Farrell, marketing assistant at Blackwell’s
  • Beth-Louise Downey, publishing assistant at Bounce Sales & Marketing
  • Cassie Buckley, global diversity and inclusion executive at Oxford University Press
  • Eleanor Pilcher, marketing manager at Avon, HarperCollins
  • Elizabeth Beck, digital and production coordinator at Saraband
  • Elle Brenton-Rounding, senior rights executive at Stripes Publishing
  • Emily Badger, senior commissioning editor at Jessica Kingsley Publisher
  • Gauthier Van Malderen, founder and CEO of Perlego
  • Hamza Jahanzeb, consultant digital strategist at Hachette UK
  • Harriet Egleton, senior literary scout at Daniela Schlingmann Literary Scouting
  • Heather Wood, development editor at Kogan Page
  • Isobel Gahan, assistant to Stephanie Thwaites at Curtis Brown Group
  • Jasmin Kirkbride, from the UEA Publishing Project
  • Joe Thomas, senior press officer at HQ HarperCollins
  • Katie Porteous, library marketing executive at Cambridge University Press
  • Kirsten Cozens, press officer at Walker Books
  • Magdalene Abraha, publisher at Jacaranda Books
  • Molly Slight, commissioning fiction and nonfiction at Scribe UK
  • Nia Beynon, publishing and sales and marketing director at Boldwood Books
  • Philip Mills, community outreach coordinator at Public Library of Science (PLOS)
  • Rebecca Fortuin, audio editor at HarperCollins
  • Tatiana Handfield, editor at Cyril and Dorsie Publishing
  • Vera Sugar, marketing executive at Jessica Kingsley Publishers (Singing Dragon)
  • Zoe Chatfield, sales manager at Blackwell’s
  • Zoe Turner, publicity and outreach officer at Comma Press

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.

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

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.