Nigel Newton to receive London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award 2020

Nigel Newton to receive London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award 2020

Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing will be presented with the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award this year. 

LBF director Jacks Thomas said: “Conferring on Nigel the LBF Lifetime Achievement Award is both a pleasure and an honour. His contribution to publishing, both Bloomsbury and beyond, is immense both here and around the globe as the Bloomsbury magic has been exported worldwide. From trade to academic, a champion of entrepreneurial publishing, Nigel is behind one of the most interesting independents in UK publishing today. Many congratulations!”

Born and raised in San Francisco, Newton read English at Cambridge. After working as a trainee at Macmillan in London, he joined Sidgwick & Jackson. He conceived the idea of Bloomsbury in 1984 when he was 28 and the name Bloomsbury Publishing shortly thereafter. He left Sidgwick in September 1986 to launch Bloomsbury with three fellow publishers. Bloomsbury floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1994 and today operates internationally with 750 staff in its offices in London, Oxford, New York, Sydney and New Delhi, and the drive continues with a new venture in China.

Bloomsbury has published books by Khaled Hosseini, Margaret Atwood, William Dalrymple, and Peter Frankopan. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, published by Bloomsbury, won the Golden Man Booker Prize as the best novel of the last 50 years. With his colleagues, he played a part in publishing J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books between 1997 and 2007 and outside of Bloomsbury has made a huge contribution to the book industry, said LBF.  

Newton said: “It’s a great honour to be given this award. Thank you. I’m so grateful to our wonderful authors and to all my colleagues, past and present–in particular David Reynolds, Liz Calder, Alan Wherry and Mike Mayer for their vital parts in Bloomsbury’s start in 1986 and for many years after, helping to confer the publishing values, vision, and entrepreneurial drive of Bloomsbury which remain to this day.

“Bloomsbury’s mission is to be an entrepreneurial, independent publisher of works of excellence and originality to a worldwide audience. Our purpose is to inform, educate, entertain and inspire readers of all ages. We aim to champion a life-long love of reading and learning to help build a reading culture with all the benefits which that brings society, with a particular interest in first-time writers. I am also very grateful to all Bloomsbury employees, authors and illustrators, customer, printers, freelancers, distributors at MDL and MPS, directors, shareholders and fellow publishers and members of the book trade.
“I’d like to thank the London Book Fair for being the amazing meeting ground of our industry that they are, for championing the importance of literature–and, of course, for this award.”

Authors including Atwood and Hosseini have congratulated Newton on the accolade. Atwood said: “In the 1980s Nigel Newton was known as the Boy Wonder because he did something viewed as next to impossible–he started a new publishing company and actually pulled it off. I became a Bloomsbury author through Liz Calder, who’d been my editor at Cape but was head-hunted by the BW, bent on recruiting the best publishing talent he could find. It was a rollicking ride! Nigel’s Lifetime Achievement Award is ridiculously well deserved. Well done, Boy Wonder!”

Hosseini added: "What a great pleasure to congratulate Nigel on this overwhelmingly deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. It is no hyperbole to say I know no one quite like Nigel Newton, a genuine Renaissance man. Lucky for me, what Nigel knows and loves most are books and writers. Let me add my voice to those of fellow Bloomsbury authors and thank Nigel for giving my books a home like no other and for connecting my work to countless readers around the globe. More personally, I thank Nigel for his deep generosity, his unfailing warmth and effortless grace, for always making me feel way smarter than I am, and of course for all the wine and secret Yosemite spots. Heartfelt congratulations to you, my fellow San Franciscan. Well done."

The LBF Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing will be presented to Newton by Stefan von Holtzbrinck, chief executive officer of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, at the International Excellence Awards, an invitation-only event on Tuesday 10th March at Pergola Olympia, London. LBF's Advisory Board voted for Newton from a shortlist of international publishing figures.