International Women’s Day: PublisHer’s Bologna Stand

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The new PublisHer pavilion at Bologna International Book Fair co-hosts an International Women’s Day breakfast with Kids Can Press.

On the PublisHer stand being inaugurated at Bologna Children’s Book Fair this week. In this image, Weam Ibrahim, whose Dubai-based Q7 Exhibition and Event Management developed PublisHer’s roomy exhibition-and-presentation space, stands near the center of the picture. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

‘Women Helping Women’
As the inaugural PublisHer stand has been put into service this week here at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the cleanly designed, white-and-magenta design has been packed with a steady rotation of trade visitors, dropping in to listen to programming between their meetings.

Today (March 8), the stand hosts an International Women’s Day breakfast sponsored by Canada’s Kids Can Press and hosted by that publishing house’s president and publisher, Lisa Lyons Johnston.

At 9 a.m. this morning, PublisHer founder Bodour Al Qasimi will welcome stand attendees, handing off to Johnston, who will moderate a session called The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: Empowering the Next Generation of Girls and Youth Through Books.

Joining Johnston in that breakfast panel are:

Kids Can Press then follows the speakers’ program with a networking breakfast on the big stand from 9:50 to 10:30 a.m.

Speaking in the March 8 International Women’s Day panel at the PublisHer pavilion in Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Hall 29, 3A (next to Spotlight on Africa). From left: Lisa Lyons Johnston, Perminder Mann, Karine Pansa, and Gvantsa Jobava

More about the new stand and its programming can be found in our preview here. To join the PublisHer community of publishers, businesses, donors, and nonprofits, see the site’s information here.

Onstage at the New Stand

PublisHer founder Bodour Al Qasimi opens the new pavilion in its inaugural appearance at Bologna Children’s Book Fair on March 7. Image: PublisHer, Nabs Ahmedi

In her welcoming comments to trade show visitors and many longtime supporters of PublisHer, Al Qasimi said, in part, “Women … still face many obstacles, from gender bias and discrimination to a lack of representation in leadership positions.

“That’s why as publishers we have a responsibility to create platforms and opportunities to amplify women’s voices, to make them heard, and most importantly to make them understood.”

During a panel discussion called The Role of Women in Challenging the Status Quo in Children’s Books on the PublisHer stand on Tuesday (March 7), an audience member spoke to moderator Emma House, of the PublisHer advisory board.

“It’s not the issue that the authors or the illustrators are actually female, but it’s actually how girls are portrayed within the books: they’re often portrayed as more emotional, more erotic, you know, and that also applies when the characters are animals or aliens or whatever, and yet with female characteristics.

“So is that something at trends you’re seeing that’s changing or not?”

These are the sorts of issues that House and other speakers were working with all morning during a roughly three-hour mini-conference. House was joined by Giunti/Bompiani’s Beatrice Masini, GEMs’/Magazzini Salani’s Mariagrazia Massitelli, and Settenove Edizioni’s Monica Martinelli.

Nopi Chatzigeorgiou, the Thessaloniki Book Fair coordinator from the Hellenic Foundation for Culture in the Bologna Book Plus Market of Honor Greece, moderated another panel on mentorship, with Wickwick’s Tuula Père, Arab Scientific Publishers’ Lina Chabaro, and Ameli’s Amélia Jannarelli.

An Exhibition of Books Celebrating Women

In the exhibition area of the new PublisHer stand at the 60th Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a display of books celebrating women. Image: PublisHer, Nabs Ahmedi

The PublisHer stand has an extensive exhibition of 115 books celebrating women from publishers’ catalogues in many parts of the world. This is a project produced with Accademia Drosselmeier / Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani.

The spacious stand’s design is easily recognized by those familiar with Weam Ibrahim‘s work at his Dubai-based Q7 Exhibition and Event Management. This is the company and its managing director behind the signature guest-of-honor stands fielded by Ahmed Al Ameri‘s Sharjah Book Authority.

As in those cases, a watchful Ibrahim is on the stand here in Bologna, studying the new design his team has created—how its divisions of space and function work. Sturdy light-wood cases of book displays are played off comfortable conversation seating and a stand-long presentation theater.

These spaces all are interacting as equally practical and enticing activity spaces but without hard divisions, with sight lines left open across the length and breadth of the pavilion.

An audience question during a session at the March 7 program on the PublisHer stand at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson


More from Publishing Perspectives on the PublisHer program is here, more on women in publishing is here, and more on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is hereMore on International Women’s Day is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.

More of our coverage of the 60th anniversary edition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair:

Bologna’s 60th Edition Draws 28,894 Visitors
Hometown Hero: Bologna Illustrator Andrea Antinori Wins Big
International Women’s Day: PublisHer’s Bologna Stand
The Best Children’s Publishers Prizes of the Year at Bologna
At Bologna: Abu Dhabi International Translation Conference
Elena Pasoli and Jacks Thomas on the 60th Bologna Book Fair Opening
At Bologna: Spain’s Publishers Report Growing Children’s Exports
Nicholas Yatromanolakis on Bologna’s Market of Honor: ‘The Modern Face of Greece’
IPA’s Events Lineup at Bologna Children’s Book Fair
‘AI’ at Bologna: The Hair-Raising Topic of 2023?
At Bologna: PublisHer Will Have Its First Trade Show Stand
At Bologna: The ‘Taiwan Stories Market’ Program
Pre-Bologna Rights Roundup: ‘Buy Ukrainian Book Rights’
Children’s Rights Edition: A 16th Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids
Bologna Book Fair Names Cross Media Award Winners
Bologna Focus: Italy’s €283 Million Children’s Book Market
Rights Edition: Bologna Book Plus’ Rights Programming
Bologna Book Fair: 2023 Ragazzi Awards
Bologna’s 60th Book Fair: Illustrators Exhibition Winners
Greece Is Bologna Book Plus’ First Market of Honor

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.