This year marks the fifth anniversary of Star Watch, a partnership between Publishers Weekly and the Frankfurter Buchmesse, which recognizes outstanding individuals who further the cultural and economic success of publishers, bookstores, and the industry at large. Congratulations are due to all who have joined to support this program, which has become a highly anticipated annual event. It takes the village of publishing—the houses that nurture and support their talent, the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the American Booksellers Association, and the team here at PW,t o put it all together.
We are delighted to present the fifth class of honorees and finalists of Star Watch. Out of hundreds of nominees, 46 honorees (one of which is a husband/wife team) and five finalists have been selected. On September 18, at a party at Marquee in Manhattan, a Superstar will be announced who will win a sponsored trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, courtesy of the fair.
The 51 rising stars represent every corner of the industry, from production managers to editors, literary agents, and booksellers. But they all share similar qualities: an unwavering commitment to advancing the world of books, tireless energy, and formidable talent. Here’s a glimpse at our finalists with full profiles on the following pages as well as snapshots of all of our honorees.
Arthur A. Levine, publisher and founder of Levine Querido, calls one of our finalists, Nick Thomas, “a young man with an extremely rare combination of intelligence, taste, empathy, and drive.” Thomas is dedicated to the press’s mission to focus on previously underrepresented authors and the finest books in translation from around the world.
Theresa Zoro, executive creative director of marketing and publicity of Random House, labels another finalist, Andrea DeWerd, “a true marketing dynamo.” DeWerd, who recently jumped from the Doubleday, Dial, and Spiegel & Grau imprints to the very different Currency, Convergent, Crown Forum, and Image imprints, was undaunted by the move.
“An extraordinary literary citizen” is how one of last year’s honorees, Veronica Santiago Liu, describes Jennifer N. Baker, a production editor at Teachers College Press and founder of the podcast Minorities in Publishing. Baker calls the podcast a labor of love. “It’s been very fruitful not from a standpoint of it’s about me, but from a standpoint that they are not alone.” she says. “And that’s why I keep doing it.”
Our finalist on the bookselling side, Nicole Brinkley, floor and digital manager at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck, N.Y., is “a tireless wearer of many hats who handsells like a magician,” says literary agent Jennifer Laughran.
Hailing from the Midwest is Emily Folks at Andrews McMeel, who, according to the v-p of publishing sales, Lynn McAdoo, “has a natural ability to identify and champion trends, as well as to transform them into new products or formats that will appeal to both retailers and end consumers.”
Read on and be awed, impressed, and delighted with these young publishing professionals who are swiftly ushering in a new 21st-century version of publishing with their passion, intelligence, innovation and indefatigable diligence. See you at the party.