The London Book Fair (LBF) has announced it is running a series of seminars on poetry at this year's event and its first ever “Poet of the Fair” will be Imtiaz Dharker.
The Pakistan-born British poet, artist and documentary filmmaker will lead LBF‘s "Poetry in Motion" programme of events about the market. She features in conversation about her work on Wednesday 11th April in LBF’s “Poet’s Corner” (stand 5C150, Olympia). Her latest collection is Luck Is the Hook (Bloodaxe), which publishes next week, exploring themes including displacement and love and loss.
Curated in partnership with National Poetry Day, the Poetry Book Society and sponsored by the National Book Council of Malta, LBF's new seminar stream will comprise poetry readings but also discussion and debate, providing a forum for the trade to share knowledge on how to best connect with a growing audience. The introduction of the stream comes at a time poetry books as a category has seen its best sales on record, both in volume and value.
“I am delighted that The London Book Fair has chosen to shine a light on poetry with Poet of the Fair,” said Dharker. “It is a recognition of the power of poetry, the fact that it cannot be contained and will always find a way to say the unsayable across seemingly impossible barriers.”
With a range of speakers from across the industry, the steam will include new sales analysis and insight into the poetry market and predictions for poetry in the years ahead, as well as sessions on how to engage children and young people. Seminars will also feature “Diversity and Inclusivity: Poetry and the Small Press”and a seminar that looks at the benefits of poetry for mental wellbeing with panellists Dr Jane Davis, founder and director of The Reader and William Sieghart, the founder of both National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry. LBF’s Market Focus will also be represented in seminars with poets, writers and translators from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, with an additional focus on poetry from Malta.
Susannah Herbert, executive director for National Poetry Day, hailed poetry “the medium of the moment”, predicting exciting times for the poetry world ahead.
“Last year saw National Poetry Day co-ordinate its first ever trade campaign, designed to encourage more people to read, share and experience poetry, and we have ambitious plans for our 2018 Poetry for a Change campaign. We are delighted that The London Book Fair is giving this special emphasis to poetry and that there is for the first time a Poet of the Fair."
Jacks Thomas, director, The London Book Fair, commented: “Poetry is universally acknowledged as one of the most enduring media, inspiring cross-cultural meetings of minds. In a time of social media and online sharing, it is more accessible than ever. How lucky we are to have such a stellar line-up at The London Book Fair, led by Imtiaz Dharker who will certainly put our poetry programme in motion.”
LBF's full poetry line-up can be explored on LBF's website.