Last month, we announced the opening of nominations for the sixth annual PW Star Watch program, a partnership between Publishers Weekly and Frankfurter Buchmesse. As we look to highlight and celebrate this year’s group of innovative publishing professionals in the U.S. and Canada, we wanted to look back at some of our past honorees to see where they are now.
Last year, our Superstar—top honoree—was Jennifer Baker, then production editor at Teachers College Press as well as creator and host of the podcast Minorities in Publishing, a contributing editor to Electric Literature, and editor of the collection Everyday People: The Color of Life—A Short Story Anthology.
As of the end of last year, Baker has a new job as managing editor at Random House Children’s Books. When looking back at receiving the top honor, Baker noted “my position as a production editor rarely gets talked about because we are behind the scenes. To be acknowledged by the industry when you are doing work simply because you believe in it is incredibly heartening.”
As top honoree, Baker received a trip to the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair. “[Going to the book fair] was a great learning experience. I was able to see publishing on a worldwide stage, see which publishing houses were exhibiting, what they were doing, and bring that information back to help with my job and my company,” said Baker.
The PW Star Watch partnership with Publishers Weekly is part of the larger Frankfurter Buchmesse Young Talent initiative, created to help build a growing international network of young industry to share ideas and innovation around the world, and features a number of events bringing together honorees throughout the week of the book fair.
“Unlike other book events [where my role is more focused], attending the book fair was more of a free-for-all, where I was able to explore what matches my interests. It was also about what kind of relationships you can build,” Baker said.
Today, as we all continue to work from home, Baker is looking for ways to help continue the conversations and engage with readers wherever they are. “I’m talking to people about what they are doing to keep people engaged. When you take the physical away, you see what happens.”
Baker is looking to provide more content on her podcast, which will celebrate its sixth anniversary in August and which provides transcripts for those who are hearing impaired. Other things on her to-do list are to participate in virtual readings and book clubs and record stories for educators who are looking for additional content for their online classrooms.
To nominate yourself or a colleague, please visit the PW website. Deadline for submissions is May 31.