At Bologna: PublisHer Names Its Inaugural Excellence Award Winners

In News by Porter Anderson

Shirley Yvonne Carby, Mitia Osman Tisma, and Anne Friebel win the inaugural PublisHer Excellence Awards at Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

The PublisHer stand at Bologna Children’s Book Fair displays images and content about the PublisHer Excellence Awards candidates. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

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As Publishing Perspectives readers know from our shortlist announcement, Bodour Al Qasimi, the former president of the International Publishers Association (IPA), founder of the United Arab Emirates‘ Kalimat Group, and president of the American University at Sharjah, made the announcement of the nominees in the program’s three categories, during London Book Fair.

At the just-closed Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the winners of this inaugural outing of the award—which “celebrate women who have brought positive change to the international publishing industry”—were announced in a program led by Al Qasimi.

“The phenomenal work showcased through the awards,” Al Qasimi said, “is truly heart-warming. It’s a powerful testament to the impact women are making in publishing on a global scale.

“To our winners, your contributions are leaving a lasting mark on this industry and your stories are inspiring us all.

“To our nominees, thank you for your participation and passion for the PublisHer Excellence Awards, and please continue to shine brightly.”

Here are the winners of the first competition on the PublisHer Excellence Awards. We’ll include at the close of this article the complete shortlists for your review.

PublisHer 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award

From left, at the PublisHer Excellence Awards during the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, are PublisHer board members Beatrice Yong-in Lin, Lola Shoneyin, Emma House who was a juror this year, and Elena Pasoli, who is also the director of the Bologna fair; Jacks Thomas, guest director of Bologna Book Plus; PublisHer founder Bodour Al Qasimi; winners Shirley Yvonne Carby, Mitia Osman Tisma and Anne Friebel; and PublisHer board members Sandra Tamele and Lisa Lyons Johnston. Image: Nabs Ahmedi

Shirley Yvonne Carby, chairperson, Carlong Publishers Caribbean Ltd., was chosen as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her 45-year publishing career.

A leader in publishing in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, Carby, the jurors’ rationale statements indicate, “has steadfastly supported the training of authors and industry professionals and expanded the skills and knowledge of Caribbean societies throughout her career, while promoting literacy throughout her community.”

PublisHer 2024 Emerging Leader Award

Mitia Osman TismaCEO and publisher of Mayurpankhi and executive director of Agamee Prakashani, was announced as the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award.

From the jury’s rationale: “Demonstrating dedication and leadership in founding her publishing house Mayurpankhi in Bangladesh, she is the first woman to establish a children’s publishing house there. 

“She is further recognized for her advocacy in campaigning for greater gender diversity in publishing, both at home, and internationally.”

PublisHer 2024 Innovation Award

Anne Friebel, as our readers know, is the founder and publishing director of Palomaa Publishing, and has been named the winner of the inaugural Innovation Award.

Friebel, as our Publishing Perspectives readers know, established The Female Publisher network, the jury notes, “a free-to-join digital platform that connects and supports women publishers, program managers, and decision makers in the German-speaking publishing market, encouraging discourse and exchange. As co-host of Die Bücher unserer Zukunft podcast (Books of Our Future) Friebel has demonstrated commitment to the amplification of female voices, industry best practice, and methods which address publishing’s major challenges.”

Publishing Perspectives readers are aware of the extensive program of panels and addresses produced at the PublisHer stand during Bologna.

Jurors for this year’s inaugural PublisHer Excellence Awards—selecting the shortlistees and winners from 113 contenders—were:

  • Emma House, director at Oreham Group
  • Arpita Das, founder and publisher at Yoda Press and columnist with Publishing Perspectives
  • Latoya West-Blackwood, publishing and communications consultant
  • Caroline Fortin, president at Quebec Amerique International
  • Trasvin Jittidecharak, founder and publisher at Silkworm Books

Bodour Al Qasimi, the PublisHer founder, speaks at the inaugural PublisHer Excellent Awards at the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. With her onstage are Elena Pasoli, left, the director of the Bologna trade show, and Jacks Thomas, guest director of the Bologna Book Plus Program. Image: Nabs Ahmedi

The PublisHer 2024 Shortlists

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.


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 relative to the 2024 Bologna Children’s 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.