London’s Folio Society Teams With Bologna Book Plus on Illustrations

In News by Porter Anderson

England’s Folio Society has partnered this year with Bologna Book Plus on programming and an award in the trade show’s Illustrators Café.

At the BolognaFiere entrance to Bologna International Book Fair 2022. Image: BBPlus

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

Thomas: ‘An Endlessly Impressive Illustration Talent’
As the momentum increasing ahead of Bologna Children’s Book Fair (March 6 to 9), one interesting point of cooperative presentation—among so many in so many parts of this trade show—is found in Bologna Book Plus‘ new-this-year “brand partnership” with the London-based Folio Society. The arrangement has prompted a sponsorship-altered name for one annual area of the fair, now called the “Illustrators Café with the Folio Society.”

On March 6 at 1:30 p.m., that’s where the program will be announcing–you guessed it–an award. It’s logically dubbed the Folio Illustration Award, and is to be announced by Folio publisher Tom Walker with art directors Sheri Gee and Raquel Leis Allion on hand.

Gee and Allion are also expected to be doing portfolio reviews during the trade show and hosting two seminars:

  • Illustrating a Folio Edition with designer Steven Guarnaccia—about the sort of illustration gig that a great many illustrators would love to get—is on March 7 at 10:30 a.m.
  • A keynote event with illustrator Neil Packer follows, also on March 7 at 1 p.m.

Both of those events are set at the Bologna Book Plus stage.

From left, Steven Guarnaccia, Neil Packer, and Tom Walker

Walker: ‘The Great Lineup of Illustrators at Bologna’

In prepared statements for the Folio partnership and events, Bologna Book Plus guest director Jacks Thomas is quoted, saying, “With Bologna’s unrivaled track record in illustration and all things design, in this anniversary year it’s a complete pleasure to bring six decades of expertise and knowledge to the general publishing arena.

Jacks Thomas

“Illustration paradoxically crosses borders seamlessly as needed, while also showcasing individual, national style and insight. We certainly devour books with our eyes both in bookshops and online.

“Thank goodness for such an endlessly impressive supply of illustration talent that the book industry can draw upon at Bologna 2023.”

And speaking for the Folio Society, Walker says, “The Folio Society has always valued the great lineup of illustrators to be found at Bologna.

“As our 75th anniversary year draws to a close, I can think of no better way of celebrating Bologna and the importance of illustration than partnering with the iconic Illustrators Café, and taking to the stage with the masterly Neil Packer.”

‘Best of the Best’ Partners with Market of Honor Greece

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, this year’s Plus program includes its first guest of honor program—called “market of honor” at Bologna.

With Greece holding the inaugural honor, all 59 participating Greek publishers will compete for that award, which is being juried by:

  • Aida Fernandez Pena of La Petite Cabane
  • Cristiano Guerri, art director of Feltrinelli
  • Matthew Dorfman, art director of the NYT Book Review 

Another program, “Jackets Off”–which featured The Handmaid’s Tale last year—this year turns to another light and frothy work, George Orwell’s 1984, with illustrative contributions from Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, China, and Ukraine.

Those entries this year include two graphic-novel adaptations.


More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on children’s books is here, more on the Italian market is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here. More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards in the international industry 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.com, 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.