Publisher Dorotea Bromberg will be presented with the London Book Fair (LBF) Lifetime Achievement Award this year, it has been revealed.
The publisher, described as a “whirlwind” by her authors, founded the Swedish firm Brombergs with her father Adam in 1975. The Polish family, of Jewish background, had emigrated to Sweden just five years earlier to avoid anti-semitic persecution under Warsaw’s communist regime. They published only one book in the firm’s first year but their output rapidly increased. By 1978 one of their authors, Isaac Bashevis Singer, had become the first of four Nobel winners on their list.
The coveted Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing will be presented to Bromberg at the International Excellence Awards, an invitation-only event on 12th March in the Conference Centre, Olympia.
She said: “To receive this extraordinary award took me by complete surprise. I could never have dreamt of such a recognition, especially when I look at the list of all these great people who received it before me. Most of them have been my role models since always.
“I feel honoured and deeply grateful to the London Book Fair for recognising a small independent literary publishing house, founded by a family of Polish immigrants who started with no money, no connections and without any knowledge of the Swedish book market. All we brought with us was the passion for great authors and a strong belief that the good books could cross the borders between cultures and languages.”
Jacks Thomas, Director, The London Book Fair said: “We are thrilled to be honouring Dorotea Bromberg at the London Book Fair. She is a worthy winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award who has contributed so much to literature and cultural life in Europe for over 40 years.”
Alongside founders Conny Jacobsson and Bertil Falck, Bromberg contributed to the first Bok-och Biblioteksmässan in 1985, which later became the Gothenburg Book Fair, Scandinavia’s largest writing celebration.
Her publishing house now features a host of literary fiction, non-fiction and children's books. It has published many renowned foreign writers including Umberto Eco, Bruce Chatwin, Susan Sontag and Anthony Burgess. In recent years Les Murray, Ian McEwan and Jonathan Franzen joined the list.
McEwan said: “When the anti-semitism of communist Poland drove Adam Bromberg and his family into exile, no one could have guessed at the cultural enrichment of Sweden that would result. And Mr Bromberg himself could not have imagined what his daughter would achieve with the publishing house he founded in his adopted land.”
Author Arundhati Roy said: “Being published by Dorotea Bromberg is like putting your work into the care of a fierce, protective whirlwind. She is a unique, thrilling publisher. Sheer class. No writer could ask for more.”
The London Book Fair’s Advisory Board voted for Bromberg from a shortlist of international publishing figures. The prize recognises people who have made a significant mark in global publishing and is open to publishers, agents, editors and anyone else involved in the industry. Last year, the prize was win by Sara Miller McCune, co-founder and executive chair of Sage Publishing.
Drenka Willen, who won the prize in 2009 for her work at Harcourt, said: “Having had the privilege and pleasure of being a friend to Dorotea in life and work for many a moon, let me say just how happy I was to hear that she is the recipient of the LBF Lifetime Achievement Award. It is, God knows, a well-deserved recognition for years of hard work, devotion, and grace of publishing high quality literature both from home and abroad. May she continue for many years to come.”