LONDON BOOK FAIR 2015: International Excellence Awards

Article published on March 30, 2015.

In the hurly burly of the fair the International Excellence Awards are a recent innovation celebrating achievement across the worldwide business of publishing. Among such fascinating topics as ‘The Award for best use of IP across Multiple Media Platforms’ is one you should be aware of – for a man who probably played a small but important part in the education of your children; all because of a little yellow duck.

You’re ahead of me, now aren’t you? Because for more than 30 years that little yellow duck has encouraged young children to turn the page to spot the duck in many Usborne books.

And so, the twelfth annual Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing will be awarded to Peter Usborne of Usborne Publishing which he set up in 1973 and has made one of the most successful children’s publishers in the world.

Accepting the nomination, he graciously said, “I’m thrilled and astonished about this award, particularly since this is I believe the first time it’s been given to a children’s publisher. Not surprisingly, I find this an appropriate reflection of the extraordinary growth of the children’s book industry, both in quality and importance, in the 40 years since I came into it. Being a children’s book publisher is enormous fun, endlessly interesting, extremely, though not unpleasantly, competitive, and a wholly satisfying extension of the outrageous privilege of becoming a parent.

“Though this award is being given to me, it should really be awarded to my amazing staff, on whom I have been completely dependent all my life, and most of whom, I am very glad to say, stay and stay and stay with us. Children’s books have given me a life that I don’t think could have been bettered. Thanks to everyone who’s helped us along the way.”


[And a Did you know? to finish: Peter began his illustrious career in London, as a trainee advertising executive, and started Private Eye in his lunch hour.]


Guy Pringle, March 2015


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