The London Book Fair will present the LBF Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 to Dorotea Bromberg, Brombergs Bokförlag, Sweden.
Dorotea Bromberg is described by many of her authors as “a whirlwind”. Her passion and dedication to her authors and their literature has made her a huge force for culture and literature in Sweden and beyond. Under her and her father’s, Adam Bromberg, leadership Brombergs has been one of Scandinavia’s most significant literary publishers for forty years.
Dorotea founded Brombergs in 1975 alongside her father, Adam. Polish immigrants with Jewish background who had arrived in Sweden just five years before. During their first year of existence they succeeded in publishing just one book. Three years later, 1978, an author they published received the Nobel prize for literature: Isaac Bashevis Singer. He would be the first of four Nobel prize winners on their list and Dorotea describes it as “the true start of our publishing operation”.
The publishing house, which publishes literary fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, came to publish a large number of renowned foreign writers including Umberto Eco, Bruce Chatwin, Susan Sontag, Anthony Burgess, Oliver Sacks, Danilo Kis, Roberto Saviano and Ivan Klima. In addition to Isaac Bashevis Singer, three other Brombergs authors had been awarded with Nobel Prizes: the Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz (1980), Mexican poet Octavio Paz (1990), and JM Coetzee (2003). In recent years Les Murray, Ian McEwan and Jonathan Franzen joined the list.
Together with the initiators and founders Conny Jacobsson and Bertil Falck, Dorotea Bromberg has contributed to the first Bok-och Biblioteksmässan in 1985, which would become the Gothenburg Book Fair, Scandinavia’s largest cultural event and celebration of the written word. The LBF Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing will be presented at the International Excellence Awards, an invitation-only event on Tuesday 12 March 2019, 6.30pm in The Conference Centre, Olympia, London.
Dorotea Bromberg, founder and publisher at Brombergs Bokförlag, 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 honored and deeply grateful to The London Book Fair for recognizing a small independent literary publishing house, founded by a family of Polish immigrants who started with no money, no connections or 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.
The market for literary writers is tough today, especially when you are a small independent publisher. Receiving this great prize reminds me what our task is all about: to publish these great books and make them find their ways to the readers. The magic words hidden inside the book will do the rest. They can change the world and make it a better place.
Publishing is a magic and meaningful profession, more important than ever in our challenging world of today.”
Arundhati Roy, author, 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.”
Drenka Willen, publisher and recipient of The London Book Fair Life Achievement Award 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.”
Richard Ford, author, said:
“Dorotea Bromberg has for decades bet her whole life on literature – reliant on her heart, her pocketbook (yes, that too) and her teeming brain for books. She is the model of what we mean when we reverently refer to a publisher of the old school. There aren’t many pupils left in that school, alas. But she is unquestionably a bright star. My congratulations to The London Book Fair for honoring Dorotea, who is so richly deserving of all our esteem, acclamation and love.”
Masha Gessen, author, said:
“In my book, no one could be more deserving of this award than Dorotea. She lives her books and her authors. Brombergs is a family business, and anyone who is lucky enough to be published by Brombergs, as I have been, is adopted into the family. Dorotea has given me love, encouragement, ideas, and the occasional gentle push – and writing is invariably more fulfilling when I am writing for Dorotea.”
Ian McEwan, author, 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.
Dorotea, a true bibliophile, is one of those rare publishers whose personality and authority infuses the house that she runs. When you step through the magnificent front door of Brombergs at 26 Hantverkargatan, it’s as if, magically, you have stepped into Dorotea’s mind. It’s spacious, welcoming, polymathic, relentlessly hardworking. When I say the building and its design and atmosphere are beautiful, and that the people who work there seem calm, focussed and gifted, then perhaps I have said all that is necessary about the spirit of Dorotea Bromberg. But there is always more. If Dorotea were a weather system, she would be a whirlwind. I doubt that she ever stops thinking about books, ideas and her writers. Sometimes, I wonder if she ever sleeps. The London Book Fair have made a brilliant choice. How honoured, delighted and proud Adam Bromberg would have been to see his lavishly gifted daughter recognised at this international gathering.”
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 forty years.”
Dorotea Bromberg was born in Warsaw, Poland, 1952. Her Polish-Jewish family emigrated to Sweden 1970 as a result of an antisemitic persecution in Poland. After finishing Swedish gymnasium Dorotea Bromberg studied languages and media communication at Uppsala University. She founded Brombergs Bokförlag together with her father Adam Bromberg in 1975. They worked together until Adam Bromberg died in 1993.
The London Book Fair’s Advisory Board voted for Dorotea Bromberg from a shortlist of international publishing figures.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an individual who has made a truly significant mark in the sphere of global publishing. It is open to publishers, agents, editors, scouts and anyone else involved in international publishing from any country in the world. Last year the award was presented to Sara Miller McCune, Sage Publishing, Previous recipients include Luiz Schwartz, Companhia das Letras, Deborah Rogers of Rogers, Coleridge & White, Sonny Mehta of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., Lord Weidenfeld, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Christopher MacLehose, now of MacLehose Press, John Lyon of Little, Brown (posthumously), Lynette Owen of Pearson Education, Peter Mayer of The Overlook Press/ Duckworth Publishers, Drenka Willen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Antoine Gallimard, Éditions Gallimard, Jorge Herralde of Editorial Anagrama and Michael Krüger of Hanser Verlag and Baroness Gail Rebuck, Penguin Random House.