The Black Issue – the first ever guest-edited issue of The Bookseller magazine since its inception in 1858 – has won a PPA Award!
The issue was published in April 2021 as a collaboration between The Bookseller and publishing community and mentoring network Black Agents & Editors’ Group (BAE) was edited by Marianne Tatepo. Out of the four issues nominated, it won the ‘Content Piece of the Year’ category in the Independent Publisher Awards 2021.
BAE founder, Marianne Tatepo, said: “A lot of care, thought and work went into bringing The Black Issue to life. We at BAE have been pleased to see publishers’ diversity and inclusion plans accelerated through important initiatives such as PRH’s Next Editors Programme for commissioning editors, Hachette’s new secondary education digital work experience, and Macmillan’s Future in Freelancing training programme. We have also been impressed with The Bookseller‘s introduction of a Discover Preview section, spotlighting marginalised talent and written monthly by Black Issue star previewer, Natasha Onwuemezi.
“We hope that the issue will be used to inform how these initiatives are executed, to benefit those who need it most. As well as these tangible results and mentality shifts, the wide readership of the issue and this award win are testament to the level of editorial craft and originality of each single piece – from Afrofuturism to the dearth of Black male readers and writers – and its authors: Paula Akpan, Alexandra Sheppard, Lenny Henry, Kadish Morris, Rochelle Dowden-Lord, Bengono Bessala, Kadija Sesay, Jasmine Richards, Elijah Lawal and Theophina Gabriel. We’re thrilled to have this immortalised in the shape of a Content Piece of the Year award.”
The issue has been read nearly 10 times more than other Bookseller issues. Furthermore, following publication, The Bookseller has committed to diversifying their [p]review pages long-term and created a brand new associate editor role for the author of the Black Authors Preview, Natasha Onwuemezi, who is now overseeing a monthly Discovery Preview section for underrepresented authors and publishers. Since The Black Issue, The Bookseller have also published dedicated LGTBQIA+ and disability issues.