Orion publishing, part of the Hachette group, was named Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards, organised by the Bookseller and streamed online on 13 May. It was a double success because its science fiction and fantasy imprint Gollancz was also named Imprint of the Year.
The judges praised Orion for achieving rises in sales and profits in each of its lists and for having eight books record £1m in sales. MD Katie Espiner said: “My team really is the best in the business and I’m so enormously proud of them. I should also thank booksellers who have done the most phenomenal job in the weirdest of circumstances.”
Nelle Andrew of RML became the first person of colour to be named Literary Agent of the Year and said: “I cannot tell you how much it means to me to be someone who grew up in a pretty challenging environment and entered an industry which was predominantly for people who did not look like me… but to have this recognition is phenomenal. I think I might be the first person of colour who’s got this award but I hope very much I’m not the last.”
In a new award, Jane Buckley, Simon & Schuster’s children’s division art director, was named Designer of the Year.
Canongate was named Independent Publisher of the Year, Viking’s Katy Loftus was named Editor of the Year and Bloomsbury received two awards: its academic division took home the Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year, and as a whole the company won the Export award.
The night continued a very successful year for Douglas Stuart’s novel Shuggie Bain (Picador UK, St Martin’s US), which was named Book of the Year. Speaking from his home in New York, the author said: “Shuggie Bain wouldn’t be in the world without the support of my family, and obviously my mother, who is at the very heart of the novel, but I would like to thank all the British booksellers and readers who have really taken Shuggie and Agnes to heart. My thanks to the amazing team at Picador, who took a chance on my wee sad Scottish book. And to everybody who embraced the story and—especially in such a tough and weird year—has kept literature at the heart of our communities, I’m so grateful to you.”