Chair of Penguin Random House UK, Baroness Gail Rebuck, is set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 from the London Book Fair (LBF).
Baroness Rebuck, who received a CBE in 2000 and DBE in 2009, has been described as both an "influential" and a "towering figure of British and international publishing" by LBF, notably for her contributions as a business leader and through her support of reading and literacy.
As chair and chief executive of Random House UK for over 20 years, Rebuck built "a formidable publishing house with a hugely influential and successful author list," which boasts 32 Nobel Prizes, 18 Booker Prizes and more than 100 Pulitzer Prizes.
As chair of PRH UK and a member of the House of Lords since 2014, meanwhile, she is also credited in providing "an important voice" speaking on behalf of arts, culture and education.
Rebuck has also served as an ambassador for World Book Day, which she founded in 1998 as a charity, and Quick Reads, an adult literacy charity she acts as the chair for. She also helped to create the Books Are My Bag campaign promoting independent bookshops.
Baroness Rebuck said: “I am so thrilled to receive this award which is such an honour as it comes from the industry I have loved for nearly 40 years. I humbly follow in the footsteps of many friends and colleagues, including inspirational publisher Sonny Mehta and much missed agent Deborah Rogers.
"Being a publisher has never simply been a job for me but a passionate vocation. It has been a privilege to work with many of the most talented publishing teams in the industry and there can be no job in the world to match the excitement of being one of the first to read a great author’s new work, discover a new voice or be stimulated by a new idea. Curiosity and a love of books drive everyone in this industry. It is all about the authors.
"This year the LBF has put story-telling at the heart of their activities, and, as publishers, we need to continue to campaign for the importance and creativity of telling stories but also for 100% literacy to ensure that the truly transformative power of books is available to all.”
Baroness Rebuck was "saluted" by author Robert Harris "on behalf of all the writers she has published". He described her as "a unique combination: she has helped shape British publishing at the highest level for almost a quarter of a century, yet has never lost her passionate enthusiasm for individual books, or ceased to care about her authors".
Ed Victor, from Ed Victor Literary Agency, added his congratulations, saying Rebuck was "a triple threat in publishing terms, because she can edit, publish and manage -- all with consummate skill and grace".
Tim Godfray, chief executive of the Booksellers Association also said Baroness Rebuck's award was "richly deserved".
"Gail is unbelievably busy, and yet she still gives her time to industry initiatives that promote books and encourage reading, like Books Are My Bag and Quick Reads,” he said.
David Roche, non-executive chair of the London Book Fair advisory group - which voted for Baroness Rebuck to receive the award from a shortlist of international publishing figures - said: “Gail Rebuck is a once in a generation publishing giant – a force of nature who has driven herself, her publishing companies and her authors to enormous global success. With her involvement in World Book Day, Quick Reads and the National Literacy Trust, Gail has always been a passionate leader and advocate for literacy for all. I am delighted that London Book Fair can recognize the breadth and distinction of her contribution with this Lifetime Achievement Award.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an individual who has made "a truly significant mark in the sphere of global publishing". It is open to publishers, agents, editors, scouts and anyone else involved in international publishing from any country in the world.
Last year the award was presented to Peter Usborne. Previous recipients include Deborah Rogers of Rogers, Coleridge & White, Sonny Mehta of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., Lord Weidenfeld, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Christopher MacLehose, now of MacLehose Press, John Lyon of Little, Brown (posthumously), Lynette Owen of Pearson Education, Peter Mayer of The Overlook Press/ Duckworth Publishers, Drenka Willen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Antoine Gallimard, Éditions Gallimard, Jorge Herralde of Editorial Anagrama and Michael Krüger of Hanser Verlag.
The Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing will be presented at the International Excellence Awards on 12th April at 6.30pm in The Conference Centre, Olympia, London.