It was a star-studded night at the British Book Awards at the Grosvenor House in London on Monday. Thomas Minkus, Jane Tappuni and Alex Hippisley-Cox were all there representing IPR License, and it was a great opportunity to catch up with publishing friends and colleagues.
This year the awards ceremony reverted to its former name of The Nibbies – a reference back to when Publishing News (now sadly defunct) ran the show, and named after the pen-nib-shaped trophies which all the winners receive. The event is the Oscars of the publishing industry and the one chance in the year when the good and the great all get together to celebrate the successes of the last 12 months. A glitzy, black-tie affair, it always throws up some memorable speeches (not always repeatable in family company..) and some even more interesting outfits!
For the past 3 years or so we have been treated to the dulcet tones of Radio 4’s Mariella Frostrup in the role of Master of Ceremonies. This time, however, Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne did an amazing job of keeping the room in order and making sure the acceptance speeches were kept to the briefest possible length without appearing rude. Not an easy task for anyone!
23 awards were made on the night. Far too many to mention individually here. But some stand-out winners, who deserve particular praise, were:
Rights Professional of the Year – sponsored by our colleagues at the Frankfurt Book Fair – was won by Little, Brown’s Kate Hibbert. This was the 5th time she had been on the shortlist, so we salute her for finally being awarded the coveted crown! The prize was presented by the bestselling crime thriller writer, Peter James. This is what the judges had to say:
“The judges were impressed with Kate Hibbert’s passion for her authors, tenacity in negotiations, and a knack for pairing the right book with the right publisher. Her win this year is a reward for a magnificent 2016 in which she steered Little, Brown to a best-ever rights year, notching up an average of almost three deals a day in more than 40 different languages.”
Probably the star of the whole evening was The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry which won not only Fiction Book of the Year but Overall Book of the Year too. It has inspired us all to rush off and buy a copy immediately, and she was such a gracious recipient too.
Publisher of the Year went to the amazing team at Pan Macmillan again. They have won this award 2 out of the last 3 years which is a pretty impressive tally and, with a 30% increase in their Total Consumer Sales, you can see why. And it’s not just about Joe Wicks either. They have shown incredible growth in all areas of their publishing programme.
And, finally, tiny Nosy Crow should be congratulated for winning Children’s Publisher of the Year, beating off the likes of Penguin Random House, Faber and Walker Books in the process! Apparently Nosy Crow is now the 13th largest children’s publisher, a size which has been achieved in six years.
Huge congratulations to all the winners, and a special thank you to The Bookseller team for arranging such a fun evening!
Alex Hippisley-Cox is PR & Communications Director at IPR License.