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Report from the ILAB Breslauer Prize Jury 2022

The ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography is awarded through an international jury of scholars, librarians and rare booksellers. In May 2022, the jury met at the offices of Fabrizio Govi in Modena and examined 99 publications, submitted for the 18th ILAB Breslauer Prize.
Jury 2022 Report
Image above: The Jury of the 18th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography working through the submissions at the offices of Fabrizio Govi, Prize Secretary, in Modena (Italy).

Jury Report 2022 by Dan de Simone

In the spring of 2017 the jury for the Breslauer Prize met in Modena, Italy, to examine the submissions for the prize of the best book in bibliography published over the course of the past few years.

We examined over fifty entries and the jury came to the unanimous decision that Dr Ina Kok’s book, Woodcuts in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries, would be selected as the 17th winner of the Breslauer Prize. During the process of selecting Dr Kok’s book the jury learned two important lessons:

First, that ILAB should make a more concerted effort to publicise the Prize in order to increase the number of submissions, including from countries that have in the past not participated. Second, that because of the quality of the submissions, three prizes should be awarded.
With this in mind, ILAB petitioned the Breslauer Foundation for an additional grant to fund a 2nd and 3rd prize for 2022.

In order to accomplish these goals ILAB created a new website that emphasised the past history of the Breslauer Prize, and also advertised extensively in all twenty-two national organisations. These efforts were rewarded with ninety-nine submissions, a near doubling from the previous competition. With the additional grant from the Breslauer Foundation, the League was able to create a 2nd and 3rd prize, which increased the opportunity for authors to win and, we think, helped to increase the number of submissions to be judged by the jury.

As in 2017, Fabrizio Govi, Secretary of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, organised the competition and hosted the jury of six. The jury used a similar criterion to that established in 2017 but while the books were examined and members spoke about the attributes of each, less emphasis was placed on the physical appearance of the bibliographies and more on the originality of the content and usefulness of the research. This year, there was no clear consensus about a winner and after examining all ninety-nine titles, the discussion of the pros and cons of the leading candidates led to an exciting exchange that resulted in agreement about the winner and the two runners-up. The jury also awarded a prize of Honourable Mention for a submission that captured the imagination of the committee in recognition of the originality of the subject of this chosen work.

In addition to thanking the Breslauer Foundation and the Directorate of ILAB for this opportunity, we would like to offer special thanks to Fabrizio Govi, Chair of the Jury, for taking the responsibility of organising this meeting and for a wonderful reception in his home town. Special thanks also go to Angelika Elstner, Executive Secretary of ILAB, for making a reality of the recommendation that the jury made in 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Prize Secretary, Libreria Alberto Govi, Italy

Director State Library Bamberg, Germany

Justin Croft Antiquarian Books Ltd, UK

Antiquariat Winfried Kuhn, Germany

Director Bibliothèque Mazarine Paris, France

De Simone Company Booksellers, USA.