06 February 2018
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Last night the Publishers’ Publicity Circle (PPC) held its Annual Awards, celebrating the best publicity campaigns of the past twelve months, with two Penguin Random House UK campaigns named amongst the winners: The Book of Dust (Alice Broderick and Harriet Venn, Penguin Random House Children’s), and Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Mia Quibell-Smith, Vintage).

Alice and Harriet were named as the winners of the Children’s Book Award category for their work on La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, alongside Riot Communications. Steven Cooper, one of the PPC judges, said of the campaign:

“I don’t think it was guaranteed that the publication of La Belle Sauvage would be the publishing event of the year, but this publicity driven campaign made it so. Successfully rejuvenating a beloved series of books relies heavily on the sensitive balancing of the old and the new and this campaign did that across its various strands.”

La Belle Sauvage: Book of Dust Volume One

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua...

Mia was awarded the Best Newcomer Award for the T.S. Eliot prize-winning Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong. She said:

“It was a real gift to work on the campaign for Night Sky with Exit Wounds. When I first read it I knew immediately that Ocean’s collection was special and I knew I wanted to help it find readers, in whatever small way I could. Ocean is a gay, Vietnamese-American refugee and I felt strongly that in our current political climate Ocean’s voice needed to be heard.

A real highlight for me was Ocean’s events. We livestreamed one of them in collaboration with Waterstones and had six-thousand viewers. That evening, Ocean went on to trend on Twitter, with a group of people watching the event crowd-sourcing a quote sheet of amazing things he’d said. But what I’m most proud of is that those events successfully created a safe space in which the audience and poet could have a dialogue about race, queer identity and poetry’s place in our political landscape. For me, that’s the core reason why I chose a career in publishing.”

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

An extraordinary debut from a young Vietnamese American, Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a book of poetry unlike any other. Steeped in war and cultural upheaval and wielding a fresh new language, Vuong writes about the most profound subjects – love and loss, conflict, grief, memory and desire. This is an unusual, important book: both gentle and visceral, vulnerable and assured, and its blend of humanity and power make it one of the best first collections of poetry to come out of America in years.

We also want to congratulate all those from Penguin Random House who were shortlisted for the campaign – a testament to all their creativity, insight and hard work. With a total of 22 campaigns making the shortlist, we were represented in 9 of the 13 categories on the night.

Steven Cooper added:

“Judging this year’s PPC Award has been a fascinating experience, though it has been a challenge to choose winners from such a stellar line-up of shortlisted campaigns. Publicists are some of the most hardworking, resourceful and resilient people in publishing, who put so much time and care into getting their books. It has been a real honour to be able to celebrate and applaud all of their efforts this evening.”

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