PublisHer Excellence Awards winners (from left) Mitia Osman, Shirley Yvonne Carby and Anne Friebel. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: The winners of the inaugural PublisHer Excellence Awards, which celebrate women who have brought positive change to the international publishing industry, have been announced during a glittering ceremony at the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Addressing the award ceremony before the announcement, PublisHer founder Bodour Al Qasimi, who has launched the awards, paid tribute to the winners and runners up and thanked the professional jury for their vital contribution.

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She said: “The phenomenal work showcased through the awards is truly heartwarming. It’s a powerful testament to the impact women are making in publishing on a global scale. To our winners, your contributions are leaving a lasting mark on this industry and your stories are inspiring us all. To our nominees, thank you for your participation and passion for the PublisHer Excellence Awards, and please continue to shine brightly.”

The jury in charge of selecting the winners from among the 113 applicants comprised of leading female figures from the international publishing industry: Emma House, Director at Oreham Group, Arpita Das, Founder and Publisher at Yoda Press, Latoya West-Blackwood, Publishing and Communications Consultant, Caroline Fortin, President at Quebec Amerique International and Trasvin Jittidecharak, Founder and Publisher at Silkworm Books.

Following six months of careful deliberations, the jury selected the winners from among the nine shortlisted finalists, and in Bologna it was announced that Anne Friebel, Publishing Director at Palomaa Publishing, was the recipient of the PublisHer Excellence Award in the Innovation category. Friebel established “The Female Publisher” network – a free-to-join digital platform that connects and supports women publishers, programme managers and decision makers within the German-speaking publishing market, encouraging discourse and exchange. As co-host of “Die Bücher unserer Zukunft” podcast (Books of Our Future) she has demonstrated commitment to the amplification of female voices, industry best practice and methods which address publishing’s major challenges, it was disclosed.

Following this, Mitia Osman, CEO and Publisher, Mayurpankhi and Executive Director at Agamee Prakashani, was announced as the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award. Demonstrating dedication and leadership in founding her publishing house Mayurpankhi in Bangladesh, she is the first woman to establish a children’s publishing house there. She is further recognised for her advocacy in campaigning for greater gender diversity in publishing, both at home, and internationally.

Shirley Yvonne Carby, Chairperson at Carlong Publishers Caribbean Ltd, was announced as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her dynamic 45-year publishing career. A leader in publishing in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, she has supported the training of authors and industry professionals and expanded the skills and knowledge of Caribbean societies throughout her career, while promoting literacy throughout her community.

The ceremony was part of a diverse PublisHer programme in Bologna, which included keynote speeches and daily panel discussions with prominent figures from international publishing, and networking coffees on the PublisHer stand each afternoon.