The London Book Fair has revealed details of its online-only event, which will now run across three weeks in June, featuring conferences, streamed programming, discussions and author appearances.
Organisers had rescheduled the fair to June in the hope of holding a physical event but were finally forced to pull the plug last month due to ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic. Its replacement, called The Online Book Fair by LBF, aims to “shine a spotlight on key areas of the fair, creating the opportunity for a larger global audience than ever before to come together in a flexible way to network, learn, and share ideas”.
The online offer will begin on 7th June with a series of conferences, before the main online fair commences with events from 21st–24th June and further programming the following week. Matt Haig has been named Author of the Fair and will take part in an exclusive “in conversation” appearance during the event.
During the week commencing 7th June, four LBF conferences will take place, beginning with “Introductions to Rights”, exploring how to sell rights for those considering a career in the sector or who have recently joined the industry.
On 8th June, publishing experts will give authors and aspiring writers advice on getting noticed during “The Writers' Summit”. The following day, “What Works? Education Conference” will provide educational publishers, EdTech organisations and others in the sector with insights into the international developments impacting their industries and markets. It promises “distinguished speakers from across the world” speaking about what they have learned from Covid-19 and what the future holds.
The “Research & Scholarly Publishing Forum” follows on 10th June, tackling Open Access, looking at issues shaping the future of academic publishing and giving an overview of new infrastructure and service developments underpinning research information.
The Online Book Fair by LBF platform opens on 21st June with a mix of talks, panels and breakout sessions. On 22nd June, there will be a full day of industry insights sessions, with opportunities to hear from thought leaders on a range of issues affecting the book industry today. “How to” masterclasses, a series of educational workshops by LBF exhibitors, will also be running.
The focus for 23rd June will be on tech, with a stream called “Digital Technology: What’s Next for Publishing?”, sharing the latest innovations and case studies for doing business in a digital world. On 24th June there will be content devoted to children’s and edutainment as well as a scholarly stream. Meanwhile “People Development: Re-Skilling Our Industry” will see a series of discussions on adapting to shifting working patterns and demographics.
The following week, on 29th June, winners of the LBF International Excellence Awards 2021 will be celebrated with “In conversation with…” sessions. There will also be a dedicated stream of content for authors.
On 30th June the focus will shift to writing, with sessions programmed in the “Literary Translation: Making Words Travel” stream, and the English PEN Literary Salon.
The final day, on 1st July, will feature “The Business of Books” sessions programmed by BIC and the Booksellers Association. A masterclass by the Association of Illustrators will offer artists the opportunity to network with leading industry art directors.
Andy Ventris, director of the London Book Fair, said: “In creating The Online Book Fair we hope to be able to offer something for everyone. Whether you are an exhibitor or visitor, bookseller or author, illustrator or technology provider, work in adult or children’s publishing, you will be able to connect with peers in the UK and abroad, and gain an insight into the key trends and discussions shaping the industry. We have content spread throughout June, with spotlights on every aspect of the fair taking place on different days, so attendees don’t feel the need to be glued to a screen from dawn till dusk. The Online Book Fair will be a chance to take stock of the challenges the industry has faced over the past year, and to celebrate the resilience, creativity and progress which the industry has shown throughout this adversity.”
Speaking of Haig's involvement, Ventris said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome such a renowned and well-loved writer as our Author of the Fair this year. Matt Haig’s event will be a highlight of the fair and I’m delighted to have Matt on board to spearhead our events programme."
Haig commented: ”It’s an honour to be involved in The London Book Fair during this testing year. Books have never been more vital and more of a comfort and so the London Book Fair feels somehow more important than ever.”
All the online fair content will also be available on demand from 2nd–16th July. For more information, visit the LBF website.