Monday line-up for virtual Futurebook announced

Monday line-up for virtual Futurebook announced

FutureBook, The Bookseller's publishing conference, has announced the first speakers for its five-day virtual event. The Monday line-up themed around the topic of “change” includes Nels Abbey (pictured), writer and co-founder of the Black Writers' Guild, Hachette UK chief executive David Shelley, Lisa Milton executive publisher of HQ and Mills & Boon at HarperCollins, and the activist, writer and TED speaker Nova Reid.

The conference, which takes place from 16th November to 20th November, includes morning keynotes, four panels each day, and a daily interview with a publishing chief executive. In total, there will be more than 40 sessions featuring more than 100 speakers, with delegates able to tune in each day or have access to all videos until January. Each day will also feature a panel consisting of those shortlisted for the FutureBook Awards, allowing delegates to both examine and celebrate trade innovation in a time of Covid.

Panels scheduled for the first day are "The way back home", an exploration of how work and office-life has been changed by coronavirus, and "State of the (audio) nation", an overview of how the audiobook market has developed during the lockdown amid the challenges of remote production and the "commute-slump". Speakers include Sara Lloyd (Pan Macmillan), Anna MacLaren May (Bonnier), Rebecca Seal (author), Fionnuala Duggan (HarperCollins), Clarissa Pabi (Acast), Videl Bar-Kar (BookWire) and Miles Stevens-Hoare (W F Howes).

In the afternoon a live discussion featuring Marianne Tatepo (Ebury), Niamh Mulvey (In The History Books), Hamza Jahanzeb (Icon Books), Sarah McIntyre (illustrator) and Joy Francis (Words of Colour), will address how we make change in a sector not known for radical reinvention. The four will debate the best ways of hauling a legacy industry into the future, with delegates invited to take part in the discussion via a virtual Q&A.

A lunchtime session, sponsored by Beat Technology, will provide a detailed oversight of how subscription panels are enabling publishers to operate direct-to-consumer e-book and audiobook platforms that enable customer acquisition and reader retention.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: “This is our broadest and most ambitious programme to date with the virtual format allowing us to reach more speakers and address more topics than ever before; perhaps most importantly after a year dominated by the virus there has never been as much to talk about at a moment when everyone wants and needs to talk. The aim is to provide a beacon as the virus closes in again.”

To book your pass, or view the programme, visit