International Update: British Book Awards Celebrated; New Book on International Publishers Association

Congratulations to this year's winners of the British Book Awards, who were named Monday night at the Nibbies celebration in London, with more than 1,000 guests in attendance. The show was also streamed online with three regional parties taking place. In the Book of the Year category, Menopausing by Davina McCall and Dr. Naomi Potter won the Overall Book of the Year, while author Salman Rushdie received the British Book Award for Freedom to Publish, the Bookseller reported. Check out the complete list of BBA Trade and Book of the Year winners here.

Griffin Books in Penarth, Wales, was honored as Independent Bookshop of the Year, with the judges noting: "It is a complete all-rounder that does everything so well. The buying is imaginative and successful... and Griffin works so hard in and for its community." 

The Book Retailer of the Year award went to WH Smith Travel, its third win of the prize in eight years. In addition to posting positive year-on-year sales numbers, the company's resilience and fresh ideas were praised by the judges, who said: "It is an impressive bounce-back from a very difficult few years." 

Two winners were chosen for the Children's Bookseller award. Round Table Books, Brixton, the community interest company founded by publisher Knights Of, was lauded by the panel as "a truly amazing business with incredible passion and commitment." The store's relocation in 2022 led to a boost in sales while its commitment to major outreach work continued. And Waterstones was recognized for its social media savvy, in particular its creation of BookTokFest, as well as its work with new voices, boosted by its Children's Laureate, Book Prize, and Book of the Month and Year initiatives. "They break books in a way no one else does," the judges said.

Carolynn Bain

Individual Bookseller of the Year went to Carolynn Bain, who founded Afrori Books in Brighton in response to lack of representation in British children's books and fueled by anger at the murder of George Floyd. The store has developed a variety of book clubs and workshops, films and exhibitions with local cinemas and galleries, the new Brighton Book Festival, and a pay-it-forward initiative opens access to books and events. "Carolynn has done life-affirming and absolutely essential work," the judges said. "She saw a situation and was not just a voice: she acted."  

Accepting the award, Bain said: "I keep getting up every morning and shouting from the rooftops that Black authors are doing incredible work and they deserve the platform, they deserve the acknowledgement, they deserve the space in this industry and Black people deserve to see themselves represented in books. Until that changes, I'll keep getting up, I'll keep doing 70 hours a week, I'll keep being in the worst paid job I've ever had but the best job I've ever had. And I keep hoping that that change will come.... Thank you to every Black author that has trudged through mud, treacle, just everything to go against the odds and get a book published and get it on my shelf."


The International Publishers Association has released The Fifth Quarter Century: IPA 1996-2021 by IPA past president Hugo Setzer. The new book details the evolutions of the book sector in general and the association in particular over the past 25 years, anchoring them in major world events, and featuring reactions and comments from some of the key people involved. 

"It has been quite an experience to be an author rather than a publisher," said Setzer. "The IPA has been such an important part of my professional life and it is vital that our association has a written memory of some of our major milestones. Thanks to all those who contributed."

IPA secretary general José Borghino added: "Hugo has captured the essence of IPA beautifully in this book, giving you a feel for the evolving nature of the challenges faced by publishers around the world and celebrating the extraordinary people who give up their time to make our association what it is."

The book is a sequel to International Publishers Association: The First Century (1996) by another IPA president, Fernando Guedes. Setzer's work, which is available as a pdf on IPA's 125th anniversary website as well as in e-book format, is published by Conecta, an imprint of Penguin Random House. --Robert Gray

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