Bologna 2017: dates for the diary

Bologna 2017: dates for the diary

With a busy schedule of events primed to take place during this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the sheer range of seminars, talks and panels can be overwhelming for first-time visitors—and some more seasoned attendees, too. Tom Tivnan picks out 10 agenda-setting events from this year’s fair that are not to be missed.

  1. 1

    Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

    4th April, 13.00
    Illustrators’ Café, Centro Servizi
    While it is probably the second most prestigious children’s literary gong in the world (after the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award), the Swedish government-backed Astrid Lindgren prize is certainly the richest, with SEK5m (£460,000) given to the winner. Presented annually at Bologna (with a simultaneous announce- ment in Stockholm), the prize can be awarded to individual creators or organisations that promote children’s literature. Boston, Massachusetts-born, long-time UK resident Meg Rosoff [pictured] won last year’s award, while Philip Pullman was the 2005 recipient.

    You might also like: The Premio Strega Regazze e Regazzi Award (5th April, 14.30, Illustrators’ Cafe) is an offshoot of the Strega, Italy’s equivalent to the Man Booker Prize. This junior edition of the Strega is truly a children’s prize: the judging panel is made up of a group of six to 11-year-olds.

  2. 2

    BOP: Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year

    3rd April, 19.00
    Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio
    The prize that inevitably brings to mind that superb slice of 1990s pop confectionery, “MMMBop” by Hanson, is now in its fifth year of awarding publishers in six regions across the globe for their “courage, creativity and high standard of publishing”. Lantana Publishing, founded just two years ago with a focus on promoting diversity, is the UK contender for the European arm of the prize, which was won in 2016 by Andersen Press.

    You might also like: The Bologna Ragazzi Awards. Bologna, you’ll gather, dispenses a lot of gongs. These book prizes were announced in February but will be exhibited over the course of the fair. The UK fared well this year, grabbing three of the four major awards: Oliver Jeffers [pictured] and Sam Winton’s A Child of Books (Walker) claimed the fiction gong; William Grill’s The Wolves of Currumpaw (Flying Eye) took home its non-fiction sibling; and Emma Lewis' The Museum of Me (Tate Publishing) won the Opera Prima for début picture book. 

  3. 3

    Inspire Learning and Creativity with VR and AR

    3rd April, 12.00
    Digital Café, Hall 32
    Virtual reality and augmented reality books and apps have been knocking about Bologna and the wider industry for more than five years now, but it is fair to say that the technology hasn’t quite caught fire with consumers, barring a few exceptions (Carlton, in particular, has had some notable successes). But 2017 might just be the year AR and VR truly comes of age, given the plethora of seminars devoted to the subject. And it is not just the number of talks, but the big players that are coming: the speaker in this session is Shazia Makhdumi, Google Play’s worldwide head of business development for games and apps.

    You might also like: AR/VR: Disruptive Technology in Kids’ E-books and Education Content (3rd April, 11.00, Digital Café) looks at how the technology may affect the schools market.

  4. 4

    Dust or Magic Masterclass

    2nd April, 15.00
    Block B, Sala Bolero
    The half-day conference and fair opener—run by Warren Buckleitner of Children’s Technology Review—makes its fifth Bologna outing. That it is called a “masterclass” gives a clue to the tone—lots of hands-on, practical solutions and “deep conversations” about the digital side of the children’s sector. Neal Hoskins, founder of cultural agency Winged Chariot, and Google Daydream Labs creative technologist Luca Prasso are among the presenters who will discuss AR/VR and the state of the book app.

    You might also like: The Bookpad and the NotePad (5th April, 13.30, Digital Café) will explore how physical and digital are coming together in books and stationery.

  5. 5

    Babelcube, Crowdfunding and Self-publishing: New Scenarios for Translation

    5th April, 14.00
    Translators’ Café, Hall 30
    Until very recently, the funding of children’s books in translation was done in a very traditional manner—through publishers and/or governmental arts bodies. But more and more authors and publishers are exploring online alternatives: crowdfunding has become an option for raising funds, particularly for smaller presses, while online translator-matching service Babelcube is proving a popular low-cost alternative. But these new models have their own challenges—not least quality control. A trio of translators discuss the pros and cons.

    You might also like: A Walk with Elves: The Intricacies of Translating Tolkien (4th April, 15.30, Translators’ Café). What is “hobbit”, or “orc”, in Italian? Italian translators talk about the challenges of bringing the fantasy master to their country.

  6. 6

    Ideas and Innovation in Illustration Today: Bringing Digital and Paper Books Alive

    3rd April, 14.00
    Digital Café, Hall 32
    Templar publishing director Lisa Edwards [pictured] and Lost My Name’s books art director Giorgia Chiarion lead a panel about the challenges of crossing formats with illustrated books. They will look at the best examples of titles that work well in print and digital. But deeper issues will also be discussed: what is the role of wordless picture books? Should e-books and print follow the same storyline or should they be altogether different? The session is chaired by Byte the Book’s Justine Solomons.

    You might also like: Kids App Collective Presents Making Great Kids Apps (4th April, 12.30, Digital Café). A group of developers share tips and tricks.

  7. 7

    Hay Festival’s Aarhus39

    4th April, 11.30
    Authors’ Café, Collegamento 29/30
    The Hay-backed Aarhus39 is a line-up of children’s and Young Adult authors, all under the age of 40, who will participate in anthologies and a new festival to coincide with the Danish city of Aarhus being named the European Capital of Culture 2017. Hay’s children’s festival director Julia Eccleshare [pictured], Aarhus anthologies editor Daniel Hahn and a selection of the project’s authors will discuss writing for children and the benefits of kids reading stories from other countries.

    You might also like: Vampires and Apocalypse: Is That All Adolescents Want? (4th April, 15.00, Authors’ Café). By far the best-titled seminar of Bologna 2017, this will look into current trends in YA.

  8. 8

    BookTrust’s In Other Words

    4th April, 17.30
    Illustrators’ Café, Centro Servizi
    UK children’s laureate Chris Riddell [pictured] and Carnegie Medal-winner Kevin Brooks will help present the four “honour titles” from the inaugural eight-strong shortlist of BookTrust’s In Other Words scheme. The laudable project is designed to highlight children’s writing from overseas and to help UK publishers acquire children’s books in translation. Each shortlisted title is given funding for a partial translation, and a £1,500 marketing budget is available if it goes on to be issued in the UK.

    You might also like: the announcement of the fair’s International Award for Illustration (5th April, 12.30, Illustrators’ Café).

  9. 9

    Children’s Laureates

    5th April, 10.00
    Illustrators’ Café, Centro Servizi
    The state of kids’ publishing across the globe will be discussed among the children’s laureates from the UK (Riddell), Australia (Leigh Hobbs), Ireland (P J Lynch), Sweden (Anne-Marie Körling, pictured), The Netherlands (Jan Paul Schutten) and Mexico (María Baranda).

    You might also like: International Board of Books for Young People Press Conference (3rd April, 14.30, Illustrators Café). IBBY announces its main projects for 2017 and beyond.

  10. 10

    Catalonia and Belearic Islands Guest of Honour Opening Ceremony

    3rd April, 19.30
    Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio
    If we’re honest, we go to Bologna for the parties. The Guest of Honour territory kicks off a week of downing prosecco and gorging on food in jaw-dropping surroundings with this do in Bologna’s impressive central library, built in the 1500s by Pope Pius IV.

    You might also like: the stand parties, which are pretty good too. Pop by the OUP stand on 3rd April at 17.30, and you can meet Nottingham-born, New York-based illustrator extraordinaire Jon Burgerman [pictured].