Rights Edition: Bologna Book Plus’ Rights Programming

In News by Porter Anderson

Several parts of the 2023 Bologna Book Plus programming touch directly on international translation and publication book rights.

At the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a Bologna Book Plus program, ‘How To Sell Rights.’ Image: BBP

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

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Training in Rights, Agenting, and Translation Development
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Bologna Book Plus is the co-located “general publishing brand” of Bologna Children’s Book Fair (March 6 to 9).

That “general publishing brand” means that it’s a suite of programming that deals with issues, trends, and training that can be applied to work in the world publishing industry beyond the children’s book sector that’s the focus, of course, of the Bologna trade show, now in its 60th year.

Bologna Book Plus is organized in association with the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) and is a considerably younger sister of the main fair, having had its inception in 2021.

Elena Pasoli

Elena Pasoli and her team continuing the direct the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, itself.

Now in its third year, and being handled by Jacks Thomas, Orna O’Brien, and Sheerin Aswat, the Plus initiative has this week announced its events and services for the international rights community.

The Core Training Session

As is done in many international trade show settings, the basic training course for publishing professionals who want to develop more acuity in right rights-trading sector is set on the day before the official opening of the fair.

Tracy Phillips

On March 5, How To Sell Rights and Understand Licensing in Children’s Books from Bologna Book Plus is a half-day training event expected to be scheduled this way:

  • 13:30  Welcome coffee
  • 13:45  Introduction from chair Tracy Phillips, Hachette
  • 14:00  Copyright: where it all starts – Sara Lewis, HarperCollins
  • 14:30  The range of rights and co-editions categories and which are right for your titles – Sara Lewis, HarperCollins
  • 15:10  Contracts: what should be included and how to negotiate – Debbie Bibo, Debbie Bibo Agency
  • 16:00  Break
  • 16:15  The Selling Process – Valentina Columbo, Phileas Fogg Agency
  • 17:00  Licensing and merchandising essentials – Helen McAleer, children’s media  consultant
  • 17.45  Training concludes followed by networking session

Tickets, at €99 each (US$105) and more information is here.

‘Call Your Agent’

Jamie Hodder

Two days later, the program Call Your Agent: How to Become a Successful Literary Agent is set for March 7. This

This is a newly installed half-day program opening at 10 a.m. with the following agenda:

  • 10:00   Introduction Jamie Hodder Williams, chair
  • 10:05   Keynote: Loyd Grossman, Historian and Author
  • 10:15   The publishing ecosystem
  • Understanding how publishing works, Seonaid Macleod, Hachette
  • 10:45   The role of the literary agent, Maria Cardona Serra, Aevitas Creative
    • Qualifications, skills and experience
    • How a literary agent differs from a publisher or rights professional
    • Why a writers need literary agents
    • Editing/ shaping original work
  • 11:10  Scouts: their place and role, Ros Ramsay, Scout
  • 11:30  Break
  • 11:40  In Conversation: making the relationships work, from an agent’s perspective
    • Luigi Bonomi, LBA Agency with Richard Charkin, Mensch Publishing
  • 12:10   Panel Discussion: Around the world with – or without – Agents
    • Chair Jamie Hodder-Williams; Lora Fountain, Lora Fountain Agency, France; Beretta Mazzotta, Agenzia Editoriale, Italy; Urpu Strellman, Helsinki Literary Agency, Finland; Sorche Fairbank, Fairbank Literary Agency, USA.
  • 12:50 End

Tickets, at €50 (US$53.47) and further information are here.

AIE, the Association of Italian Publishers is organizing one-on-one meetings with Italian publishers to help facilitate training.

Literary Translation Forum

Bologna Book Plus organizers are, from left, Jacks Thomas, Orna O’Brien, and Sheerin Aswat

This year’s Literary Translation Program from Bologna Book Plus is set out in two parts, both on March 8.

The first sequence, The Literary Translation Forum part 1: The Power of Prizes and Grants, is set for 10 to 10:50 that morning, and will look at the impact that the world’s myriad awards programs are believed by many to have on careers and sales, but most particularly in translation. Because of the resistance to translated content that’s understood to be present in many publishing markets, awards and prizes are thought to be an especially effective way to move consumers closer to a consideration of translated titles.

In that session, attendees will hear from Will Forrester, who is English PEN’s international manager, and Tom Walker, publishing director at the Folio Society.

The second hour, The Literary Translation Forum part 2: Scouting for Books in Translation, focuses on one of the most intriguing relationships in international publishing—that of publishers and translators, the latter frequently becoming a potentially translated property’s primary advocate. Questions being asked here are, “What do publishers want from translators who have spotted a masterpiece in another language?” and “How can translators and publishers work closely together to bring bestselling books to the attention of readers around the world?”

Gvantsa Jobava

This hour will be moderated by Publishing Perspectives with a fine quartet of speakers along:

  • Translator Serena Daniele, the founder and manager of NN Editore
  • Translator Lawrence Schimel
  • Publisher Gvantsa Jobava, of Tbilisi’s Intelekti Publishing and vice-president of the International Publishers Association (IPA)
  • Nikos Argiris publisher of the Athens-based house Ikaros
Market of Honor Greece

Speaking of the gorgeous city of Athens, Bologna Book Plus in its third year has its first “guest of honor” country designated, and its “market of honor” is Greece. We’ll have more details for you as they develop on this front, with the Greek pavilion scheduled to be set in BolognaFiere’s Hall 29 and a strong presence of Greek literature and trading opportunities anticipated in the Bologna Rights Centre.

In addition, Bologna Book Plus has selected Sorche Fairbank of Fairbank Literary Representation to be its hosted agent this year–a traditional program that Plus offers in coordination with the Association of Authors’ Agents. Chosen in an annual raffle, Fairbank will be set up with a table in the rights center, a speaking opportunity, inclusion at all networking events, and a full round of meetings.

More on speakers across the three-year-old Bologna Book Plus program is here,

A Bologna Book Plus program onstage in the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: BBP


More from Publishing Perspectives on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on Bologna Book Plus is here, more on rights trading in the international book publishing industry is here, our Rights Roundup series 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.

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.