London Book Fair Announces Three-Week Format in June

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Today naming themes set for six days in the latter part of June, London Book Fair also announces four conferences for the week of June 7 before Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

In Piccadilly Circus, April 17. Image – iStockphoto: Paula French

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

‘Something for Everyone’
In announcing some details of  London Book Fair‘s upcoming digital edition, the trade show’s organizers are stressing something they’d already announced in mid-April, the fact that their programming will be active not just on the originally announced June 29 to July 1 dates but for “a series of events over three weeks in June (emphasis ours), offering varied content for different audiences throughout the month.”

Needless to say, world publishing professionals who are engaged with the digital Bologna Children’s Book Fair, June 14 to 17, will be looking for how all this might go.

But as it appears from today’s helpful announcement, this may not be quite the war of the trade shows that it could be. The general outline for London appears to place its programming in the week before Bologna and in the week-and-a-half after it.

London’s registration is open now, here.

The Pre-Bologna Week

Ahead of Bologna’s offer of its new Bologna Book Plus conference in its inaugural iteration, London will have four of its annual conferences in the week of June 7. Those London conferences:

  • “Introduction to Rights,” June 7
  • “The Writers’ Summit,” June 8
  • The “What Works?” education conference, June 9
  • The “Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum,” June 10

Matt Haig

Following that week of London conferences—at least as today’s information has it—the week of June 14 appears to be relatively quiet for London, perhaps making it possible for Bologna to play through before London then ramps up again into its flagship events in the week of June 21.

Today’s news includes the announcement of Canongate author Matt Haig as the designated “author of the fair.” (Regular London-goers will recall that there are annually designated talents and professionals in several classes, with the most recent addition to that line of programming being translators.)

Haig’s forthcoming nonfiction work, The Comfort Book, is set for a release on July 1.

The Post-Bologna Program

Using the branding “The Online Book Fair by LBF,” the company expects to open its digital platform on June 21 “with a mix of panels and breakout sessions.”

Outlining the ensuing programming, the fair highlights:

  • June 22: A full day of “Industry Insights” as well as “How-To Masterclasses,” that second category being a series of educational workshops led by exhibitors
  • June 23: A focus on ed-tech with “Digital Technology: What’s Next for Publishing” as a stream of programming on the topic
  • June 24: A focus on children’s content and “edutainment,” plus a stream of programming on scholarly publishing as well as discussions on workforce issues and staff development, presumably around questions in late-pandemic thinking on workplace matters
  • June 29: Interviews with winners of the show’s International Excellence Awards, as well as a digital edition of the “Author HQ” that traditionally is held at London Olympia during the fair and normally is focused primarily on sessions for self-publishing writers
  • June 30: A focus on writing with sessions under the banner “Literary Translation: Making Words Travel” and the customary “English PEN Literary Salon:
  • July 1: “The Business of Books” is presented by the United Kingdom’s BIC organization and the Booksellers Association

Afterward, the fair’s spokespeople say, all of the London Book Fair content will be available to review on-demand, from June 2 to 16—a thoughtful and sensible move, after some programs have frustrated busy attendees by hiding programming once it had run.

Andy Ventris

In a prepared quote from Andy Ventris, the show’s director—and what a start to his tenure in the role—we read, “In creating the online book fair we hope to be able to offer something for everyone.

“Whether you’re an exhibitor or visitor, bookseller or author, illustrator or technology provider, work in adult or children’s publishing, you’ll be able to connect with peers in the United Kingdom and abroad, and gain insight into 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.

Perhaps what everyone will find the most satisfying line in today’s announcements is: “London Book Fair will return to its usual spring dates, April 5 to 7, 2022.

More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here, more from us on book fairs is here, more on the UK market is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic 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 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.