At London Book Fair: The PublisHer Excellence Awards Shortlists

In News by Porter Anderson

The first round of PublisHer’s new Excellence Awards program names its shortlists at London Book Fair.

Speakers in Thursday’s (March 14) PublisHer Excellence Awards event on the 2024 London Book Fair mainstage are, from left, Judith Curr, president and publisher of HarperCollins’ HarperOne Group; moderator Emma House of the Oreham Group; and Ameena Sayid, founder and managing director of Lightstone Publishers. Image: PublisHer

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

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‘Navigating a Vast Ocean’
Drawn from an initial submission pool of 113 nominations from 30 countries, the PublisHer Excellence Awards are in their inaugural season, and their shortlists were announced Thursday (March 14) at London Book Fair as one of the closing day’s key programming events.

Bodour Al Qasimi, the former president of the International Publishers Association (IPA), founder of the United Arab EmiratesKalimat Group, and president of the American University at Sharjah, made the announcement by video, in naming nine shortlistees, three in each of three categories.

The awards are designed to recognize outstanding women who have made a clear difference to the publishing industry.

“The skill to navigate calm waters, the courage to confront storms, the resilience to sail against the tide, and the wisdom to believe in herself despite uncertainty and myriad challenges.”Bodour Al Qasimi

The three winners selected from the writings of these nine candidagtes will be announced at the next major trade fair of the international book publishing industry’s year, Elena Pasoli’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair (April 8 to 11) with its parallel brand-extension events, Jacks ThomasBologna Book Plus and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids. As many Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, PublisHer inaugurated its own trade-show stand designed by Weam Ibrahim at last year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, to a solidly positive reception.

Al Qasimi, in her comments to the London Book Fair audience compared a female publisher’s experience to “navigating a vast ocean,” because, she said, it demands “the skill to navigate calm waters, the courage to confront storms, the resilience to sail against the tide, and the wisdom to believe in herself despite uncertainty and myriad challenges.”

Bodour Al Qasimi

The PublisHer Excellence Awards honor what the program describes as “women who are improving publishing and blazing trails for others to follow; have the power to spur the winners on to further achievements and inspire others; and create awareness of the challenges many women still face in the publishing business.

The shortlists announced at London Book Fair are in three categories. And PublisHer, of course, is the international network for women professionals in the world book publishing industry. It was founded by Al Qasimi at London Book Fair, in fact, in 2019.

PublisHer 2024 Shortlist: Lifetime Achievement Award

Shortlistees in the PublisHer Lifetime Achievement Award category are, from left, Akosua (Akoss) Ofori-Mensah, Ana Maria Cabanellas, and Shirley Yvonne Carby

  • Akosua (Akoss) Ofori-Mensah, publisher, founder, and managing director, Sub-Saharan Publishers
  • Ana Maria Cabanellas, CEO, Grupo Claridad
  • Shirley Yvonne Carby, chairperson, Carlong Publishers Caribbean Ltd.
PublisHer 2024 Shortlist: Emerging Leader Award

Shortlistees in the PublisHer Emerging Award category are, from left, Mitia Osman Tisma, Fernanda Valezini Ferreira, and Cassie Rocks

  • Mitia Osman TismaCEO and publisher of Mayurpankhi and executive director of Agamee Prakashani
  • Fernanda Valezini Ferreira, editor and founder of the She Publishes podcast
  • Cassie Rocks, marketing manager with Collins and co-director of The FLIP
PublisHer 2024 Shortlist: Innovation Award

Shortlistees in the PublisHer Emerging Award category are, from left, Awatef Mosbeh, Anne Friebel, and Jasmine Richards

  • Awatef MosbehCEO and co-founder, Morbiket
  • Anne Friebel, founder and publishing director of Palomaa Publishing
  • Jasmine Richards, founder and CEO of Storymix

The announcement of the shortlists was part of a PublisHer program in London, which included two panel discussions exploring female representation in books as a means to advance Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality, and women’s leadership and innovation in publishing.

Participants were:


More from Publishing Perspectives on the PublisHer program is here, more on women in publishing is here, and more on book and publishing awards is here.

More of our coverage of the 2024 London Book Fair:

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.com, 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.