June 4 – June 11, 2009 Edition

Canongate Named British Publisher
Of Year, With A Little Boost From Obama

The British Book Industry Awards named Canongate Publishing publisher of the year at a June 1 ceremony in Cambridge. Surprisingly, other industry front-runners were passed over for the “Nibbie” award in favor of Canongate, no doubt due to the fact that it published Barack Obama’s two books, Dreams form My Father and The Audacity of Hope when Obama was a junior senator. Obama’s books have sold more than a million copies for the small Scottish independent publisher.

Judges said Canongate had “great professionalism, attention to detail and sheer exuberance” which helped it double its turnover during the year.

Independent publishing shone at the awards event, with Ravi Mirchandani at the independent Atlantic Books taking home the editor of the year award. Mirchandani published the Booker prize-winning The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Mirchandani persuaded Adiga to sign up with Atlantic by taking a letter written in the style of the book, and some rupees, to the author’s agent.

Atlantic was also named independent publisher of the year, while publisher Saqi, specializing in Arabic writing, won the diversity award for its “impressive multilingual, multicultural and international credentials, with employment policies genuinely supporting diversity”.

Celebrating 20 years of showcasing talent across the publishing and bookselling industries, the British Book Industry Awards took place in a short, theatre style format in the prestigious Welcome Trust Auditorium on their Genome Campus in Hinxton, Cambridge.

The shortlists for the awards are voted for by the 600 publisher and bookseller members of the British book awards academy. Winners are selected by specialist judging panels.