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The UK bookseller Waterstones, publisher Pan Macmillan and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling took the top prizes at the British Book Awards, the Oscars of the UK book industry, held in London on 8 May. Waterstones took home Book Retailer of the Year, Pan Macmillan was named Publisher of the Year and author JK Rowling received the Bookseller Association’s (BA) Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade.
Other awards went to Nosy Crow (Children’s Publisher of the Year), Head of Zeus (Independent Publisher of the Year), John Murray (Imprint of the Year) and Juliet Mabey, the publisher of Oneworld who was named Editor of the Year.
Waterstones was recognised for its return to profitability in 2016, with MD James Daunt praised for his “visionary leadership”. Pan Macmillan was praised for its “outstanding” support of retailers and for its stance on diversity – it recently gave £50,000 to Creative Access, the UK body which looks at increasing black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in the creative industries; and Rowling was hailed the BA as a “loud and proud force for good”.
Receiving the award, Rowling said: “I am truly honoured and overwhelmed. But tonight is really about you, the booksellers, without whom there would be no bestsellers. I want to thank you all for supporting my books throughout the years – this award is really for you.”
The British Book Awards, also known as the ‘Nibbies’ after the engraved, bronze, pen-shaped trophies winners receive, were founded in 1990 by the late Fred Newman, founder and editor of Publishing News. Earlier this year, the UK’s Bookseller magazine bought the awards from Newman’s estate and they are now beginning a new chapter in their 27-year history.