Non-fiction projects with an international reach are in high demand ahead of this year’s London Book Fair, as “brinkmanship” from agents is reported.
Meanwhile, London Book Fair has reported that the 586 tables in the International Rights Centre have already been sold, with 27 countries to be represented. The organisation expects 25,000 industry professionals between 15th–17th April, with exhibitors from 60 countries booked so far.
Agents are anticipating a full schedule, with international contacts turning out in force. Conville & Walsh’s Patrick Walsh, who has just sold world English-language rights at auction to Bloomsbury for Rogue Elephant by Simon Denyer, a book on Indian democracy, said: “I think it’s going to be incredibly crowded—our schedules for meetings with non-English language publishers filled up very quickly.”
Playing to the global market, books with “broader” appeal are on non-fiction publishers’ acquisition hit-lists, with Curtis Brown agent Karolina Sutton saying everyone is keeping “booming markets” in Asia and Brazil in mind. Quercus non-fiction publishing director Richard Milner said: “We’re absolutely looking for big international titles. Everyone has felt there has been a paucity of big non-fiction books in [recent] years . . . There’s a desire now for broader works.”
However, editors reported agents were “keeping their powder dry” on the biggest projects, with more pitches expected next week as well as at the fair. Pan Macmillan non-fiction publisher Jon Butler said: “In recent years, it has all been around the book fairs, it is just getting tighter and tighter . . . The rush clearly hasn’t started, it’s all brinkmanship I think.”
Fiction publishers have reported a high number of submissions of New Adult titles and historical novels. Clara Farmer, publishing director at Chatto & Windus and Hogarth [pictured] , said it still seemed relatively quiet, but said: “There seems to be quite a lot of these charming, quirky fables—strange and arresting novels.”