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Klaus Flugge, the founder of Andersen Press, received the London Book Fair’s Lifetime Achievement Award at a special reception held on the gallery of Olympia. He was honored for being “a leading light in the world of children’s publishing and illustration”.
Making the presentation, Bloomsbury executive director Ian Hudson said: “Klaus has an amazing eye for children’s illustration and a wonderful nose for a great story which he has brought together throughout his career to publish beautiful books that have sold the world over. He has discovered , nurtured or partnered with much of the royalty of children’s picture books including, Tony Ross, David McKee, Satoshi Kitamora, Emma Chichester Clarke, Michael Foreman, Ruth Brown, Jeanne Willis, Chris Riddell and Sir Quentin Blake to name but a few. What’s more he has helped create huge bestselling character brands such as Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and The Little Princess. Klaus has always been passionate about finding and nurturing new talent.”
Born in Hamburg in 1934, Flugge was apprenticed to a book shop and then attended Book Trade School in Leipzig. He emigrated to America at the age of 23 as an East German refugee who spoke only German and Russian. After a variety of jobs, and two years as an American GI, he was offered a role working as a Personal Assistant to Lew Schwartz, owner of Abelard-Schuman in New York. After only a year and a half Schwartz suggested he go to Europe to build up their local list and Klaus came to London in 1961. He launched Andersen Press – named after Hans Christian Andersen – in the autumn of 1976.
In 2016 , to celebrate Andresen’s 40th birthday, he launched the Klaus Flugge Prize for the Most Exciting Newcomer To Picture Books to specifically recognise a picture book from a debut illustrator. Flugge not only funds a cash prize but also offers mentoring to the award winners. He was the first publisher to receive the Eleanor Farjeon Award and the first to be awarded Honorary Membership of the Youth Libraries Group. In 2013 he was made an Honorary Citizen of the City of Bologna and in 2016 Andersen Press was named European Publisher of the Year at the Bologna Book Fair.
Hudson concluded: “Through good times and bad , Andersen Press has remained profitable, skilfully navigated by Klaus. Klaus is also a great salesman, he has always been incredibly well connected in global publishing and sat at the centre of a global picture book network… That interconnecting of writers, illustrators and their readers is the hallmark of Klaus who is a true champion of global publishing. Klaus, I know I speak for many in this audience and beyond when I say you are a great friend and we have learnt so much from you. Your books have enriched young lives and ignited a lifelong love of reading for so many. This lifetime achievement award is so richly deserved and we salute you.”