The British Book Awards has announced the 55 independent publishers who have been selected as regional and country finalists for its Small Press of the Year Award, with two Oxfordshire firms making the shortlist.

This year’s list showcases the resilience displayed by these smaller publishers amid a rising cost environment and a challenging economy, with these firms harnessing authenticity and distinctive publishing approaches to navigate the challenging conditions.

Sponsored by CPI Books, the Small Press of the Year Award recognises independent publishers who are "dedicated to imaginative, forward-looking and diverse publishing".

The two Oxfordshire representatives are David Fickling Books in Oxford and Noodle Juice in Banbury.

Oxford Mail: Tyger, published by David Fickling BooksTyger, published by David Fickling Books (Image: British Book Awards)

The 55 publishers include 12 in London, seven in both Scotland and South-East England, six in North England, five in Wales, South-West England and the Midlands, and four in the Island of Ireland and East England.

The selected firms, all with a turnover of less than £5 million, will compete in their respective regions before progressing to the final stage for the national award.

The winners of this accolade will be announced on May 13, at the The British Book Awards ceremony, which will be held at Grosvenor House London.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller and chair of the judges for The British Book Awards said: "I’m always incredibly happy to see the breadth of Small Press publishing across the UK and Ireland.

"These presses have ridden out the pandemic peaks and troughs, and have emerged into the new age stronger than ever with some first-class publishing backed by an acute understanding of who they are and how to find their customers.

"The vast majority of publishers on this shortlist reported list and sales growth, alongside many successful funding applications, with investment put into both authors and their businesses.

"Publishing remains in safe hands – many of them.”

Finalists include previous winners such as Jacaranda Books Art Music and Magic Cat Publishing from London, who are contending once more for the prestigious award.

Other shortlisted publishers making their first appearance include Hurtwood Books from London and 3dtotal Publishing located in the Midlands.

Tanya Dunbar, managing director of CPI Books, said: "CPI is proud to sponsor the Small Press award again this year.

"The small publishers are an essential and creative part of the publishing ecosystem, and we are delighted to be part of their continuing success story."

The regional and country winners of the Small Press of the Year award will be announced on Monday March 11, with the overall winner announced during the ceremony on May 13 in London.