Publishers Weekly and Frankfurter Buchmesse have named 40 publishing professionals as honorees for PW Star Watch 2020, the annual publishing and bookselling award now in its sixth year. Honorees hail from the U.S. and Canada, and were selected from the ranks of the Big 5 publishers as well as independent and university presses, literary agents, booksellers, and other industry and related organizations.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 also marks several firsts for the awards. This year, a charitable component was added to the program, and will benefit the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation, which provides financial support to booksellers. In another departure from previous years, the celebration, usually held in a downtown Manhattan locale, will be a virtual celebration free and open to all, and will be held on October 13 at 5 p.m. The five honorees selected as finalists will speak, and one Superstar will be announced by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly’s editorial director, and Erin Cox, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s U.S. publicist. As in past years, the Superstar will be invited to the virtual Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 as well as awarded a sponsored trip to Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021.

"Innovation in publishing, while most of us have been working from home, has been a challenge since the pandemic," said Milliot. "Imagination and creativity become even more important when face-to-face communication is filtered through the screen of videoconferences"

A jury composed of editors from Publishers Weekly and representatives from Frankfurter Buchmesse determined the top 40 honorees, drawn from nearly 200 entries. From the top 40, five finalists will be selected by the jury, and will be featured in the special Star Watch issue of Publishers Weekly on October 12. Previous winners include Jennifer Baker, founder of Minorities in Publishing podcast and currently managing editor at Penguin Random House (2019); Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, founders of Timbuktu Labs and creators of the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series (2018); Gabriella Page-Fort, editorial director at AmazonCrossing (2017); Andrew (Harwell) Eliopulos, executive editor at HarperCollins (2016); and Helen Yentus, art director at Riverhead Books, the winner of the 2015 inaugural PW Star Watch.

The PW Star Watch 2020 Honorees are as follows:

  • Anaka Allen, Subsidiary Rights Assistant, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Maya Battle, Assistant Director, Media Planning, Random House Group
  • Annie Berger, Senior Editor, Sourcebooks
  • Faye Bi, Publicity Director, Bloomsbury
  • Danielle Bukowski, Foreign Rights Manager and Associate Agent, Sterling Lord Literistic
  • Nicholas Ciani, Assistant Editor, Simon & Schuster
  • Melanie Conklin and Christina Soontornvat Everywhere Book Fest
  • Nicole Counts, Senior Editor, One World/Penguin Random House
  • Andrew Cox, Business Intelligence Analyst, Penguin Random House
  • Read Davidson, Bookseller, Harvard Book Store
  • Meghan Deans, Senior Marketing Director, Ecco/Harper Collins
  • Katherine Del Monte, Publisher, Lectura Books
  • Marisa DiNovis, Associate Editor, Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House Children's Books
  • Maria Dismondy, Publisher, Cardinal Rule Press
  • Nivia Evans, Editor, Orbit Books/Hachette Book Group
  • Britten Follett, Executive Vice President, Follett School Solutions
  • Estelle Hallick, Manager, Publicity & Marketing, Forever/Grand Central Publishing/HBG
  • Leah Hernandez, Founder and CEO, Young Authors Publishing
  • Lauren Klouda, Director of Marketing, Independent Publishers Group
  • Jhanteigh Kupihea, Editorial Director, Quirk Books
  • Megha Majumdar, Editor, Catapult
  • Mandy Medley, Co-owner, Pilsen Community Books
  • Ryan Mita, Membership Manager, Children's Book Council
  • Hannah Moushabeck, Marketing Manager, The Quarto Group
  • Lydia Ortiz, Senior Designer, Chronicle Books
  • Chantelle Aimée Osman, Editor, Agora Books/Polis Books
  • Norma Perez-Hernandez, Assistant Editor, Kensington Books
  • Lara Phan, Director, Account Marketing, Penguin Random House
  • Quressa Robinson, Literary Agent, Nelson Literary Agency
  • Cristina Rodriguez, General Manager, Deep Vellum Books
  • Shelly Romero, Assistant Editor, Scholastic
  • David Ross, Senior Managing Editor and Acquisitions Editor, Penguin Random House Canada
  • Lindy Ryan, President, Black Spot Books, an imprint of Vesuvian Media
  • Jeanine Schaefer, Executive Editor, BOOM! Studios
  • Kesley Smith, Director of Business Development & Corporate Communications, Greenleaf Book Group
  • Jamie Tan, Senior Publicist, Candlewick Press
  • Katherine Turro, Senior Marketing Manager, Flatiron Books
  • Mary Van Akin, Associate Director of Publicity, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
  • Lucas Wetzel, Editor, Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Lexi Walters Wright, Bookseller, High Five Books

"This year, the international publishing industry has relied on innovation, creative ideas, and new perspectives in order to navigate a number of challenges," said Thomas Minkus, v-p of emerging media and English language markets at Frankfurter Buchmesse. "We are so pleased to join Publishers Weekly in celebrating this year’s group of Star Watch honorees, who have contributed greatly in charting the future of the industry."

Tickets to the PW Star Watch virtual celebration are free and open to the public. RSVPs can be made here.

Correction: The Everywhere Book Fest cofounders were initially mistakenly omitted from this list.