Bad Form Review and PRH's Lit in Colour among FutureBook Award winners

Bad Form Review and PRH's Lit in Colour among FutureBook Award winners

Bad Form Review and Penguin Random House's Lit in Colour scheme have jointly won the Discover award at this year's FutureBook Awards ceremony. Other winners included Hachette's Feminist Book Box, the Booker Prize 2020, Bookshop.org and the campaign for Empire of the Vampire (HarperVoyager).

The winners were announced on 19th November at the FutureBook conference, which ran as a hybrid event online and in-person at 155 Bishopsgate in London.

In total 34 companies or teams were shortlisted across six categories: Discover, Event, Team, Sustainability, Start Up and Campaign. All shortlistees were invited to do a five-minute pitch presentation as to why they deserved to win this year. Earlier this month it was announced that Marcus Rashford had won FutureBook Person of the Year. This year's awards were supported by Midas PR.

The Discover category was a new award for 2021 and hotly contested, resulting in the literary journal Bad Form Review jointly winning the prize with PRH and the Runnymede Trust's Lit in Colour scheme. Bad Form Review was founded by Amy Mae Baxter and is by and about Black, Asian, and racialised community writers. Lit in Colour works to increase students’ access to more books by writers of colour, and recently revealed only 0.7% of English Literature GCSE students in England study a book by a writer of colour. The Working-Class Writers' Festival, spearheaded by Natasha Carthew, was also highly commended for the award. 

The Bookseller’s associate editor Natasha Onwuemezi said: "The work the Bad Form team is doing on a shoestring budget and limited resources is simply outstanding. Through print and digital issues, prizes and free events, Bad Form is doing such an incredible and necessary job platforming new BAME talent and actively pushing for change in the industry. This is exactly what the Discover award was created to recognise."

She added: "In terms of tangible impact an initiative can have not just within the industry, but also in wider society, the Lit in Colour campaign is unparalleled. From commissioning academic research to underpin the campaign to partnering with exam board OCR to add texts by writers of colour to its syllabuses and working directly with schools to donate books and teaching resources, Penguin Random House and the Runnymede Trust have created an initiative that is truly game-changing."

The Booker Prize 2020 won the Event award which saw Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain (Picador) crowned the winner in a virtual ceremony. The London Library Lit Fest, which took place in May to mark 180 years of the London institution, was highly commended. 

Marketing specialist Miriam Robinson said: “The stakes were as high as they could possibly be last year for Four Communications, which transformed a trusted format into something new, engaging, multi-faceted and dynamic in the face of pandemic restrictions, sending viewership and sales through the roof.”

Hachette's Feminist Book Box won the Team award. Onwuemezi said: "The Feminist Book Box is the result of entrepreneurial staff from across Hachette UK doing a stellar job of collaborating on a project to showcase the publisher's list of feminist writing. Working beyond the scope of their day-to-day roles as well as through numerous lockdowns, the team truly went above and beyond to develop the concept, branding and strategy to launch a new area of commerce for Hachette UK."

Meanwhile the IPG's Book Journeys project took home the Sustainability award, with Quarto's Ivy Kids imprint highly commended. The Bookseller’s comment editor Molly Flatt said: "The IPG's Book Journeys Project shows stakeholders coming together from across publishing to examine exactly where — and how — the industry can make the biggest climate difference. Its five key targets, backed by rigorous research, give an urgently needed and practical focus to the transformation of book trade logistics.”

Bookshop.org won Start-up of the year, while Afrori Books, a Brighton bookshop which showcases Black writers, was highly commended. The Bookseller’s editor Philip Jones, said of Bookshop.org: “Here was a start-up conceived before lockdown that found its purpose because of lockdown: a simple idea, well-executed, the UK version of Andy Hunter’s indie bookshop hub made the difference when it mattered most, and put independent bookshops at the heart of online book retail. A real force for good at a high-risk moment for bookshops.”

HarperCollins’ Fleur Clarke was recognised for her efforts for Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff, taking home the Campaign award, while Hannah Reardon Steward, Katarina Jovanovic and Stevie Hopwood, the team behind The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (Usborne), were highly commended. Robinson said of the winner: “This campaign had innovation at its very core, using both social and retail channels in new, unexpected ways to expand a cult author's following, reach new readers and smash sales expectations at the busiest time of year. “