Booker director Gaby Wood, Faber chief Stephen Page, Dialogue publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove and Bluebird founder Carole Tonkinson are the latest speakers to be announced for FutureBook Live, The Bookseller’s publishing conference, to be held on 25th November.
The four will discuss how the industry can get books back to the top of the cultural agenda, on a panel chaired by journalist Anita Sethi. The session will look at how books rise up the nation's consciousness, whether through prizes, such as the Booker, or media attention from the likes of the BBC, whose year-long celebration of literature kicked off this week with the launch of 100 novels that shaped the world.
The panel will also discuss successes such as event books from The Testaments to The Secret Commonwealth, to social media driven titles like Pinch of Nom and Mrs Hinch, how to achieve such levels of attention, and whether this kind of focus is sustainable. It will warn that the import of books risks being sidelined as an old-fashioned medium, slow to produce, and lacking the financial backing of other media products.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: "The book business has long punched above its weight in terms of media attention, but with the news agenda bristling, and other entertainment sectors, led by Netflix and Spotify, burgeoning, books—as the original creative industry—need to work harder and harder to maintain their cultural cachet. This high-powered panel will tell us how."
The speakers are the latest to add to the impressive line-up for the FutureBook Conference, with the four joining previously announced panellists such as HarperCollins executive publisher Kate Elton, Profile founder Andrew Franklin, agent Molly Ker Hawn, Baroness Gail Rebuck, and Knights Of founder Aimée Felone. Keynote speakers include James Daunt, m.d. of Waterstones, and Katie Espiner, m.d. of Orion.
The full FutureBook Live programme is now available; to secure your ticket visit thebookseller.com/futurebook-conference. A series of masterclasses were also announced this week, including sessions on audio publishing, effective innovation, using consumer data, and digital marketing. Once booked delegates will be emailed a range of options including the masterclasses, the Day of Code, and the opportunity to set up one-to-one meeting with a range of speakers and sponsors, including keynote speaker Paul Abbassi.