The London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards are typically celebrated with a glitzy gala during one evening of the book fair. Of course, this year the celebration will be virtual, and it will take the form of a series of conversations with the winners on June 24. The prizes highlight some of the best publishing initiatives from around the world.
The 2021 Inclusivity in Publishing Award, sponsored by the Publishers Association and only open to U.K. publishers, went to Hachette UK. The judges said they were “particularly impressed this year by the number of smaller independent presses doing fantastic work across inclusivity in publishing, and Lantana Publishing being in the shortlist is fully representative of this.” They added, “The judging panel awarded Hachette UK with the Inclusivity in Publishing Award given their clear commitment to embed their D&I strategy across all levels and functions of the business, whilst also being fully transparent during this process. We felt this holistic and open approach was in many ways setting the standard for the U.K. publishing industry.”
The Library of the Year Award went to the Ghana Library Authority. The judges praised the organization, saying it “really struck us as an amazing story of transformation and an example of how library services can tackle some of the most pressing social issues confronting their users.” They added, “From using technology to support remote learning to promoting information skills, literacy and reading, this is a great example of the difference a quality library can make.”
Ca˘rtures‚ti, the largest bookstore chain in Romania, won the Bookstore of the Year Award and was commended by the judges for its work during the Covid-19 pandemic. They noted that the store’s “online offering and activities, and the grant program subsidized from their sales to support local writers, demonstrated their sense of responsibility for the community.”
The Audiobook Publisher of the Year Award, now in its third year, went to Findaway Voices in the U.S. The judges said the company “demonstrated such strong commitment to developing a wider and more open audiobook world, for authors, publishers, and listeners alike. We felt that Findaway Voices offers fresh opportunities for authors and narrators to create wonderful, high-quality recordings that reach existing audiobook fans.”
Mozambique’s Editora Trinta Zero Nove won the Literary Translation Initiative Award. “All of the initiatives on this year’s shortlist are exceptional,” the judges said. “Of these, we found the ground-breaking Editora Trinta Zero Nove—which made last year’s shortlist—especially inspiring. It’s an imaginative, dynamic, and visionary programme of activity. We couldn’t be more excited to have it as our 2021 winner.”
In addition, Nora Mercurio, rights director of Berlin publishing house Suhrkamp Verlag, won the Rights Professional Award, and Karadi Path Education Company, an English-language learning company from Chennai, India, won the Educational Learning Resources Award, having been shortlisted for the category in 2020.
“After a year which has impacted every corner of the book world, it is more important than ever that we celebrate the innovation and creativity being shown by the global publishing community in the face of unprecedented challenges,” says London Book Fair director Andy Ventris. “All of the winners of this year’s International Excellence Awards demonstrate the ingenuity and talent to be found in the industry today, and we are delighted to recognize their work bringing books and learning to readers around the globe.”