LBF 2017: dates for the diary

LBF 2017: dates for the diary

With a packed schedule of events slated to take place during this year’s London Book Fair, the breadth and depth of seminars, talks and panels can be overwhelming for visitors unaccustomed to Olympia. (And some who are accustomed, too.) Tom Tivnan picks out 11 barometer-setting events from this year’s fair that are not to be missed.

  1. 1

    Brexit: Good News or Bad News for the Publishing Industry?

    14th March, 10.00
    Olympia Room, Grand Hall
    LBF’s programming tends to be less political than, say, Frankfurt’s, but much of the chatter among fairgoers will undoubtedly be centred on the business ramifications of the seismic events in the UK and US over the past year—and organisers have responded accordingly, with a whole raft of seminars that directly or indirectly tackle the current climate. DK c.e.o. Ian Hudson [pictured] heads the list of speakers on Tuesday’s Brexit panel, and given his illustrated publisher’s international reach, he will undoubtedly offer a nuanced take on the situation.


    You might also like: Brexit Late Breakfast (16th March, 10.00, Children’s Hub). Attendees are urged to bring their “croissants and Danish pastries” to this discussion on the how triggering Article 50 will affect the children’s
    publishing market.

  2. 2

    The Future of Illustrated Publishing: Is the Model Broken? Is Print on Demand a Threat, an Opportunity or Dead End?

    15th March, 14.00
    Olympia Room, Grand Hall
    While the title of this seminar may come off as some- what alarmist, it reflects the shifting landscape of the illustrated market with print runs becoming smaller due to changes in retailers’ buying patterns. Print on demand works for monochrome publishing, but will it ever be a truly viable option for illustrated publishers? The speakers—including Ebury m.d. Rebecca Smart [pictured], Quarto director of publishing operations James Carey and Lost My Name vice-president of product Nick Marsh—promise to deliver real-world, practical solutions.


    You might also like: Graphic Novels, the Last 10 Years and the Next (15th March, 14.30, Cross Media Collection). A panel of heavyweights in the UK sequential art scene, such as SelfMadeHero m.d. Emma Hayley and Gosh! Comics’ Steve Walsh, discuss the trends, surging sales and uplift in critical esteem of graphic novels over the past decade—and speculate on where the market will go next.

  3. 3

    Literary Festival Forum

    16th March, 13.00
    High Street Theatre
    First run in 2015, this half-day hootenanny returns for a second outing, focusing on the ins and outs of running book festivals. A who’s who of lit(fest)erati—including Edinburgh’s Nick Barley [pictured], Hay’s Peter Florence and Wigtown’s Adrian Turner—will share their thoughts on community engagement, the difficult commercial side, and how to make an event unique in an increasingly crowded field. Organisers say the controversies will be addressed: no doubt the thorny issue of paying authors appearance fees will be high on the agenda. The conference ends with a seminar celebrating Hay’s 30th anniversary.


    You might also like: How Do We Promote Authors and Books in Poland (15th March, 10.00, Apex Room, National Media Hall). Journalists and book-festival organisers from the Market Focus country discuss how events such as Warsaw’s Big Book Festival and the Sopot International Book Festival help showcase writers.

  4. 4

    The World in Pictures: Picture Books Today and Tomorrow

    14th March, 14.30
    Children’s Hub
    A panel of influential players in the international picture book scene—including The Gruffalo co-creator Axel Scheffler [pictured], Scholastic’s Alison Green (who edited The Gruffalo before setting up her eponymous imprint at Scholastic) and Gallimard Jeunesse’s Christine Baker— look at what’s hot, new illustration techniques and how technology is changing the market, as well as predicting upcoming trends. The session has been organised by the team behind the Klaus Flugge Prize, the new award created by the Andersen Press founder to highlight newcomers to children’s illustration. As a result, up-and-comer Meg McLaren—whose début Life is Magic was published by Andersen in 2016—joins the panel.


    You might also like: Fail Compilation 2017—A Few Easy Steps to Make a Lousy Book (15th March, 13.00, Children’s Hub). Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński, the wife-and-husband picture-book team behind Maps, look at the mistakes publishers and creators make in producing children’s books.

  5. 5

    How to Think Like a Publicist: For Translators

    14th March, 11.30
    Literary Translation Centre
    There has been some evidence of a slight boom in the sales of translated titles in the UK, but their volume on the whole is still painfully low—particularly when compared to book markets in Continental Europe. Therefore, publishers trying to get media attention for a translated title can begin at a disadvantage, one which can be exacerbated by minor details . . . like an author not being able to speak English. Yet it can be done, and three publicists with track records of securing coverage for their foreign-language authors—Scribe’s Sarah Braybrooke [pictured], Quercus’ Elizabeth Masters and Granta’s Pru Rowlandson—will share their insights.


    You might also like: Extending the Range of Languages (14th March, 13.00, Literary Translation Centre). Man Booker International-winning translator Deborah Smith chairs a session on territories underrep- resented in the translation market.

  6. 6

    Taking Storytelling off the Page: The Next Chapter

    16th March, 13.00
    Cross Media Collection
    Lódź-born fantasy superstar Andrzej Sapkowski is the Cross Media Author of the Day on the Thursday (16th March) as his The Witcher series has been spun off into the wildly successful “hack and slash” video games of the same name. There is some irony here, as “the Polish Tolkien” has repeatedly expressed dismay at the game adaptations of his work encroaching on the world of his written words.
    At Warsaw’s SFF PolCon event last year, for example, Sapkowski lamented the “stink and shit” the game has caused him due to foreign publishers wanting to use imagery from the games on the titles’ front covers. So it could be a spicy event.


    You might also like: Author of the Day: Olga Tokarczuk (15th March, English PEN Literary Salon). The giant of Polish letters (though few of her books are translated into English) will discuss her work and why she is an irritant to her country’s emerging hard right.

  7. 7

    Do Books Matter? The Role of the Book in Addressing the Global Learning Crisis

    14th March, 16.00
    Children’s Hub
    Going out on a limb, one would anticipate the answer to the question asked of the panelists will be a resounding “yes”. However, this seminar will focus on the difficulties of increasing education book sales in the developing world. Should Open Access models be encouraged in schools as opposed to physical textbooks? How can governments be persuaded to make book purchasing a priority? Speakers addressing these difficult issues include Pearson’s social impact partnerships manager Luisa Gockel and Book Aid International’s head of programmes Samantha Thomas-Chuula.


    You might also like: Copyright—Still Encouraging Learning (14th March, 10.00, The Faculty). Cambridge University Press’ general counsel, William Bowes, and managing director of academic, Mandy Hill, will look at whether current copyright law is flexible and adaptable enough for the 21st century.

  8. 8

    A Career in Publishing: How to Achieve Success

    14th March, 16.00
    Olympia Room, Grand Hall
    Part of LBF’s commendable Pride, Not Prejudice stream of diversity events, this seminar features a group of former Kim Scott Walwyn Prize winners looking at gender issues, which is particularly pertinent in time when there has been a reduction in the number of women occupying the very top jobs in the industry. The discussion will be led by Kim Scott Walwyn co-chairs, Felicity Bryan m.d. Catherine Clarke and Walker Books publisher Denise Johnson-Burt, who will also talk about the award’s 2017 shortlist.


    You might also like: Megaphone: Introducing New Voices of Colour in Children’s and Teen Literature (14th March, 11.30, Children’s Hub). Four people on the mentoring scheme for writers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds reflect on the programme’s inaugural year.

  9. 9

    How to Publish a Vlogstar

    16th March, 14.30
    Cross Media Collection
    After the first rush of the eye-popping sales from the likes of Zoe “Zoella” Sugg [pictured] and Alfie Deyes, we are arguably entering a second, more mature phase of YouTuber publishing. How can publishers continue to harness vloggers’ rabid fanbases? Agents, publishers and “sex-positive” YouTuber Hannah Witton—whose book Doing It (Wren & Rook) is out next month—share their thoughts. The event will be chaired by Curtis Brown agent Gordon Wise, who has vlogger KSI and YouTube collective The Sidemen on his client roster.


    You might also like: East Meets West on Mobile Storytelling Platforms (16th March, 10.00, Cross Media Collection). Seralised mobile e-books are a Chinese phenomenon. Can the model be transferred to the West?

  10. 10

    Creating an Inclusive Bookshop

    15th March, 10.00
    High Street Theatre
    Expanding readership and promoting reading for pleasure is the holy grail of the trade. Two booksellers doing just that will share their experiences: Tamara MacFarlane of Tales on Moon Lane, who has had success outside her shop’s confines with a pop-up bookshop business; and John Newman of east London’s Newham Bookshop. Author Nikesh Shukla, meanwhile, will argue how writers can be key in promoting inclusivity.


    You might also like: Using Social Media to Build Community and Maximise Sales (15th March, 11.30, High Street Theatre). Katie Clapham of Lancashire indie bookshop Storytellers, Inc. will be among the speakers revealing how Twitter and Facebook can be valuable tools in driving customers to the tills.

  11. 11

    British Book Awards Shortlist Announcement and Party

    15th March, 16.00
    International Business Lounge
    Last but not certainly not least . . . the full shortlists for The Bookseller’s trade and books of the year Nibbies are revealed.