London Book Fair Announces Its 2020 International Excellence Award Winners

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Awards this year go to winners in India, New Zealand, Kenya, Germany, Egypt, Spain, Indonesia, Finland, Italy, the UK, and USA.

A side-stage view of the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards ceremony in 2019. Image: Porter Anderson

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

‘Our Global Industry at This Difficult Juncture’
Had the 2020 London Book Fair been able to go forward this year, many of us would have been at the Pergola at Olympia London Tuesday night (March 10) for the International Excellence Awards winners’ ceremony.

Instead, winners were announced online and their trophies are being mailed to them.

London Book Fair’s 50th outing is set now for March 9 to 11, 2021.

Over the years, these awards—in which the UK’s Publishers Association annually serves as partner–have honored publishing figures, programs, and companies in at least 50 international markets have been highlighted by the awards program.

This year, the markets of Colombia, Croatia, Mozambique, Uganda, and Yemen were shortlisted for the first time. Major markets with multiple shortlistings included the United States (five shortlisted nominations); India (three); Egypt (three); Canada (two); Germany (two); and New Zealand (two).

In the Bookstore of the Year category, annually supported by a sponsorship from Gardners, there were retailers from Estonia, New Zealand, and Yemen represented.

And Ahmed Al Ameri’s Sharjah Book Authority—overseeing the expected emirate Sharjah’s year as London Book Fair’s Market Focus at the fair, announced last April—sponsored the Rights Professional of the Year award, with nominees including Finland’s Tuomas Sorjamaa of Ferly, Israel’s Stephanie Barrouillet of SB Rights Agency, and Mexico’s Gabriel Nieto of Planeta.

There were, in fact, two specific Market Focus Sharjah awards included, one for an adult trade award and one in children’s, YA, and educational publishing.

This year, Europe and Asia have led the way, with five and four prizes, respectively.

Jacks Thomas

In a prepared statement, London Book Fair director Jacks Thomas is quoted, saying, “The International Excellence Awards always remind us of the innovative, important, and inspiring work being done by all those in the global publishing and book community.

“From translators in India and librarians in Finland to literary festivals in Ukraine and literary agents in France, these awards show the breadth of talent working in the industry around the world today.

“The London Book Fair celebrates our global industry at this difficult juncture, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to London for the 50th LBF in 2021.”

Stephen Lotinga

Stephen Lotinga

For the Publishers Association, CEO Stephen Lotinga is quoted, saying, “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s International Excellence Awards.  It’s inspiring to see the work and innovation in publishing around the globe.

“Although it is disappointing not be able to meet and congratulate everyone in person it’s fantastic to see the awards will be sent across the world–from Italy to India, Indonesia to New Zealand-–a true reflection of the international nature of publishing.”

Simon Master Chairman’s Award

Mark Bide was awarded the Simon Master Chairman’s Award.

The award program says about this award, “In his four-decade career, Bide has been committed to the creation of a modern, efficient supply chain for the global publishing industry. His groundbreaking work includes the introduction of standardized product metadata, identifiers, subject categories, and communication protocols, on all of which the industry depends.

“Bide has also been an energetic advocate for copyright, doing pioneering work on behalf of thousands of journalists and publishers. He designed and built the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), allowing content owners to communicate their copyright terms and conditions online in a language that can be read by Google and Facebook.

“In addition, he has consistently championed the needs of those with reading disabilities, by working to ensure that accessibility metadata be included within the ONIX standard, thereby improving access to books worldwide for the reading disabled community.”

As Publishing Perspectives has reported, another element of the awards program, the Lifetime Achievement Award, has gone to Bloomsbury’s Nigel Newton.

2020 International Book Award Winners

For the extensive shortlist of program this year, see our earlier write-up here.

  • Academic and Professional Publisher Award: Princeton University Press (USA)
  • Audiobook Publisher of the Year: Karadi Tales (India)
  • Bookstore of the Year Award, sponsored by Gardners: Unity Books Auckland (New Zealand)
  • Educational Initiatives Award: Book Aid International (UK / Kenya)
  • Educational Learning Resources Award, supported by The China Publishing & Media Journal: Apicula Verlag, GMbH (Germany)
  • Library of the Year Award: Maadi Public Library (Egypt)
  • Literary Translation Initiative Award: Yiddish Book Center (USA)
  • Literary Agent Award: Maria Lynch – Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency (Spain)
  • Literary Festival Award: Macassar International Writers’ Festival (Indonesia)
  • Rights Professional Award, sponsored by Sharjah Book Authority: Tuomas Sorjamaa, Ferly (Finland)

Eligible for entries from all countries, including the UK:

  • Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award: Publisher: Macmillan Learning (USA)
  • Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award: Initiative: Fondazione LIA (Italy)

Eligible for entries from the UK only:

  • Inclusivity in Publishing Award, supported by the Publishers Association: Bonnier

More from Publishing Perspectives on the London Book Fair is here, more from us on the International Excellence Awards is here, and more 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 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.

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