At London Book Fair: Rob Biddulph is Illustrator of the Fair 2020

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For a third year, London Book Fair includes an accomplished illustrator among its highlighted industry professionals and offers a series of illustration-related events.

Rob Biddulph. Image: Toby Madden

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

‘Meeting Lots of Booky People’
As Each year, London Book Fair names an official translator, poet, and illustrator “of the fair.” The lucky designees are featured in the trade show’s programming and can expect some strong industry attention in the process.

This year’s designated illustrator of the year is Rob Biddulph, a native of London who says he’s “really looking forward to meeting lots of booky people–the best kind” at the fair, which runs March 10 to 12. (Fair organizers stress that they are going ahead on schedule with the fair, and monitoring carefully any developments in the COVID-19 situation. Our coverage of that is here and the fair’s statement on the coronavirus is here.)

On LBF Tuesday (March 10), Biddulph will speak “in conversation” with Ren Renwick, part of the “Fireside Chats” program set in the fair’s Podcast Theater.

Biddulph—both author and illustrator—also is to take part in a “Big Draw” event, a part of the Illustrate Your Point program.

Biddulph’s first picture book, Blown Away from HarperCollins Childrens’ Books (2015) is the second illustrated book to have won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Odd Dog Out (2019) was nominated for eight literary prizes, winning the BSC Festival of Literature Picture Book Award and the UKLA Student Shadower’s Vote Book Award.

His other works include:

  • GRRRRR!, Sunk!
  • Kevin
  • Give Peas a Chance

Those three were nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. Biddulph is also the official World Book Day Illustrator for 2019 and 2020.

In a prepared statement, London Book Fair director Jacks Thomas is quoted, saying, ““It’s brilliant to be hosting award-winning Rob Biddulph as illustrator of the fair, as part of the Illustrate Your Point program.

Jacks Thomas

“Watching the program blossom in its third year with so many fab events and illustrators is a joy, and we are absolutely thrilled that the book fair is hosting a brand-new event from the book designers behind the sellout “Killed Covers” events, as well as welcoming some of the best creative directors in the business for the Illustrators’ Afternoon.’’

During that Illustrators Afternoon event, art and creative directors including Donna Payne (Faber & Faber), Strawberrie Donnelly (Bloomsbury), Lucie Stericker (Orion), Sophie Stericker (Hachette Children’s), Rebecca Garrill (Andersen Press), Nghiem Ta (Walker Books), and Josie Jo (freelance), will meet illustrators for brief appointments to give advice and feedback on their portfolios.

And the  Association of Illustrators’ Illustrators’ Masterclass event returns this year. The hourlong event is described as a “comprehensive mini” business masterclass covering all the essential areas for a successful career in illustration, while a panel of experts debates how picture books are reflecting our diverse world.

London Book Fair 2020 ‘Illustrate Your Point’ Events
  • Pathways: Bridging sectors to diversify children’s illustration, March 10, 10 to 11 a.m., Olympia Room Grand Hall
  • Illustrators’ Masterclass, March 10, 11.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., Children’s Hub
  • In Conversation with Rob Biddulph, Illustrator of the Fair, March 10, 12.15 to 12.45 p.m., Fireside Chat Theater
  • Illustrators’ Afternoon, March 10, 2.30 to 5:30, Club Room, National Hall Gallery
  • European Picture Books in Translation, March 11, 10 to 11 a.m., Children’s Hub
  • Translating Children’s Picture Books, March 11, 2:15 to 3:15, Literary Translation Centre
  • The Cover Design Wheel of Fortune, March 11, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Olympia Room Grand Hall
  • Julian is a Mermaid: How Picture Books and Picture Book Illustration are Broadening Horizons, March 11, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Children’s Hub
  • New Formats in Children’s Literature and Picture Books, March 12, 10 to 11 a.m., Children’s Hub
  • ‘He’ is not the only protagonist: Canadian and British publishers talk about how to–and who can–represent every child in illustrated books, March 12, 10 to 11 a.m., Cross-Cultural Hub

More from Publishing Perspectives on the London Book Fair is here, and more from us on illustration and illustrators is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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