Twelve Highlights From London Book Fair’s Upcoming Seminar Program

In News by Porter Anderson

The London Book Fair’s annual Insights Seminar Program is addressing a number of publishing industry topics including children’s books, translation, and Brexit.

London Book Fair director Jacks Thomas waits to speak in a session at the 2017 fair. Image: Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

More than 200 Sessions in Three Days

It’s the time of year when traveling publishing people—those of us who journey to trade shows and conferences—begin sifting through programming, sorting out which sessions they can fit between meetings on their calendars.

At the London Book Fair, the Insights Seminar Program, directed by Orna O’Brien, puts together more than 200 events for the trade show’s three days, April 10-12. Running in the background, behind the publishers’ stands and “around the edges” of the Olympia complex, as one veteran fairgoer puts it, the seminar sessions this year have been parsed by theme to make it easier to find what you’re looking for and discover what you hadn’t considered.

Here are 12 sessions you’ll see in London this year, each with a different kind of appeal and focus.

1. Copyright: Aspirations and Anxieties: How Authors See Copyright Today looks at how “in 2018, copyright laws and general respect for intellectual property face tremendous public and policy pressures in the UK, across the EU and around the world. Join author Daniel Hahn and lawyer Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the UK Society of Authors, as they discuss the authors’ perspective, in conversation with the Copyright Clearance Center’s Christopher Kenneally.”

2. The Business Forum: A ‘Bookish Brexit’ with the Publishers Association’s William Bowes: “What does the UK Publishing community need from the political and legal process to ensure that it remains at the heart of the global trade in content and rights exchange? What can the international publishing community expect from a post-Brexit UK publishing industry and what policy positions will the UK need to adopt to support the creative and educational goals of the global publishing community?”

3. Children’s ‘Edutainment’: The Power of Brand Partnerships with Made in Me’s Eric Huang moderating, looks at something Sourcebooks’ Dominique Raccah knows well from her experience in brand partnerships for her “Put Me in the Story” series: “Building brand partnerships leverages brand exposure to mutual benefit. Sometimes it’s about money, but often it’s about the power of partnership to extend the reach of the brand. How do you make your brand appealing for partners? What are the touch points? And how can you think outside the box to generate indirect revenue as well as beneficial exposure. With: Rosalyn Carmoody, Daryl Shute, Julia Posen, Paul Denton.

4. Content Across All Platforms: How Can Publishers Find New Ways of Monetizing IP? China Literature and Wattpad Show the Way looks at “the opportunities and challenges for publishers around the world in adopting the same model as those used by Canada’s Wattpad and China Literature.” With Alicia Liu, Ashleigh Gardner, Aaron Huang, Sophie Rochester, and Weichang Li.

5. Literary Translation: Bridging Language Divides: The Role of Translators in Supporting Diverse Acquisitions: “How does the translator advise and influence the editor in the acquisition process? Translators Nicky Harman (Chinese to English), Sawad Hussain (Arabic to English), Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Polish to English) and AmazonCrossing translation program manager Lauren Edwards will discuss how editors and translators can collaborate through sample translations, targeted pitching, and mentorships to help ensure more diverse global voices are carried into English translation.”

6. The Baltics Market Forum: Translating Illustrated Children’s Books: The Challenges of Text and Image looks at challenges that occur for illustration when translation changes certain characteristics of the text. “What to do if the English text doesn’t fit around the images as neatly as the source language? When the work uses rhyme and rhythm, how can these be carried over to a new context without the words losing touch with what the images depict? And what are the challenges of selling and buying rights, especially those particular to illustrated children’s books?” with Alise Nigale, Emma Wright, Greet Pauweljin, and Lawrence Schimel.

7. Authors: Key Points To Watch Out for in Contracts, and Why features writer and critic Mary Hoffman and the Society of Authors’ deputy chief Kate Pool. “Between them they’ve too often heard reports from writers about what can go wrong if you’re not careful.  They will explore common contract pitfalls and to give top tips on what should be in your contract, and what you must make sure to avoid to secure your rights.”

8. Technology: Language Matters: Leveraging Global Dictionary Content on Digital Platforms with Zachary Haynes of Oxford Dictionaries. “This Oxford University funded mission will create new revenue streams by powering an API ecosystem of digitally under-represented languages, enabling more platforms and technologies to speak more languages, and empowering more cultures and communities to educate and innovate across the digital divide.”

9. Diversity: The Inclusivity Toolbox: Practical Tips for Understanding Inclusion with IBBY UK and Inclusive Minds “will explore the need for more inclusive books, looking at examples of books that are doing it well as well as the gaps that still exist.” With Sarah Crossan, Peter Kalu, and Emily Davidson.

10. International: Jolabokaflod: Iceland’s Christmas Gift to the World on “how the 74-year-old Icelandic ‘Christmas Book Flood’ literary tradition can be applied to the way the book trade celebrates the festive season. Find out how Jolabokaflod encourages people to buy books as Christmas gifts for their loved ones to read during the holiday period. Discover how the Jolabokaflod Book Campaign can increase your company’s book sales and grow the market of regular and avid readers in national and international territories.”

11. People Development: Bookcareers.com clinic supported by The Publishers Association offers “a room full of industry specialists waiting to answer your questions.  You will be seen on a first come, first served basis and this year we’ll be trialling a buzzer system so you get to talk to as many people as possible as it does get very busy.”

12. Retail and E-tail: Community Engagement and Social Enterprise “will explore community engagement, creating new readers and writers, reaching new audiences, and aims to inspire booksellers to create their own inclusive projects, and to partner with other new initiatives in the market.”

Keep an eye on the categories you’re interested in—in some cases, more content will be added as programming is firmed up.

Those topics addressed in this year’s Insights Seminar Program are:

The floor of London Book Fair at the Olympia complex, 2017. Image: Porter Anderson


More of Publishing Perspectives’ London Book Fair coverage is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.