The nine campaigns here are already winners at the Publishers’ Publicity Circle’s annual awards, and now face off to be best of the best. A hectic news agenda and the cancellation of events conspired against these 14 publicists—most of them first- timers on the shortlist—but they all found ways to adapt and make their books highly visible across the trade and the wider media too.
Anna Ridley for 'The Year of Bernardine Evaristo'
Plenty of Booker winners have faded from view after their time in the spotlight, but Penguin General head of comms Anna Ridley’s publicity made Bernardine Evaristo unmissable in 2020.
The year-long campaign achieved vast media coverage—not just in obvious channels such as the Guardian, but in glossies such as Elle and Vogue. Across the year Evaristo gave more than 120 interviews, and made 60 appearances on TV, radio, podcasts, social media and live events. Episodes of “Desert Island Discs” and the “Southbank Show”, an event at the National Theatre and a guest edit of the Sunday Times’ Style magazine were among the highlights. The volume of coverage could have dulled Evaristo’s appeal, but she and Ridley ensured each piece was distinctive. Plus, lockdown gave the indefatigable Evaristo more time to devote to the campaign. She was a powerful voice in conversations about racial injustice, and an influential advocate for other writers of colour and better diversity in publishing.
Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other was the second-bestselling paperback of 2020. “Bernardine was front and centre all year,” said the judges. “The choices of publicity and the complex scheduling were superb. The campaign broke her out of the literary world to make her a rock star of books.”
Judges also congratulated Ridley’s colleagues in the Penguin team—and, of course, Evaristo herself: “She’s a force of nature.”
Alice Herbert for Word Perfect by Susie DentJohn Murray Press
Georgina Moore for Hamnet by Maggie O'FarrellMidas PR
Maura Wilding and Alexandra Layt for My Life in Red and White by Arsene WengerOrion
Anna Ridley for 'The Year of Bernardine Evaristo'Penguin General
Olivia Mead and Chloe Davies for The Thursday Murder Club by Richard OsmanPenguin General
Ella Patel for Me and White Supremacy by Layla SaadQuercus
Bethany Carter for While We Can't Hug by Eoin McLaughlinFaber & Faber
Alice Dewing for Breasts and Eggs by Mieko KawakamiPicador
Emma Draude, Annabelle Wright, Sarah Wright & Thi Dinh for Poor by Caleb FemiEDPR working on behalf of Penguin Press