UK: London Book Fair Names Its 2024 ‘Authors of the Day’

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London Book Fair announces the four author and illustrator talents chosen to be highlighted in March at the UK’s leading trade show.

At an entrance to London Book Fair 2023 on Hammersmith Road. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Rapley: ‘Enthusiasm, Talent, and Creativity’
In a first news item from the 2024 London Book Fair (March 12 to 14), we learn the lineup of the featured creative personnel planned for the fair, the expectation being that each will appear in an an onstage event as a writer-of-the-day during the course of this industry-facing trade show.

Our readers will recall that the 2023 London Book Fair staged solid comeback attendance figures this year in April, with more than 30,000 trade visitors—putting it easily on-par with its pre-pandemic levels of industry turnout. As many will recall, London’s event was the first major trade show to be scuttled by the onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Here at Sharjah Publishers Conference today, London Book Fair director Gareth Rapley tells Publishing Perspectives that sales of exhibitor space are running briskly close to completion, and that the space allocations for the event in March will be roughly the same as those of the 2023 event, amid ongoing redevelopment work at Olympia London.

The three London Book Fair honored writers named today (October 30) are:

  • Author and TV presenter Richard Osman, named Adult Author
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, is International Author
  • Waterstones’ children’s laureate Joseph Coelho as Children’s Author
  • Klaus Flugge Prize-winning artist Flavia Z. Drago as Illustrator

Reid will be attending the fair on March 12, Osman and Drago will appear at events on March 13, and Joseph Coelho will be speaking on March 14.

Gareth Rapley

In a prepared statement for the announcement of the headliner writers for the 2024 fair, Rapley is quoted, calling the author-focus selections “one of our most celebrated and popular features of the London Book Fair lineup.

“As the first major event in next year’s publishing calendar,” he says, “we’ll be bringing together a phenomenal array of publishing talent from all over the world, and Taylor, Richard, Flavia, and Joseph perfectly encapsulate the enthusiasm, talent, and creativity that make our industry so special.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming them to Olympia next March, for what we’re sure will be fascinating conversations around their careers, inspirations, and missions.”

Comments From the Featured Talents

Taylor Jenkins Reid. Image: Michael Buckner

Simon & Schuster writer Reid is quoted in today’s media messaging, saying, “I’m honored to be the International Author of the Day at London Book Fair 2024.

“I’m really excited to take part in one of the biggest events for the book industry, and to return to London, one of my favorite cities in the world. I can’t wait to connect and reconnect with authors, readers, and publishers.

Joseph Coelho. Image: David Bebber

Quarto’s Joseph Coelho says, “In my role as the current Waterstones children’s laureate I’ve traveled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, championing the vital role of public libraries, celebrating the power of poetry, and showcasing new talent to diversify bookshelves and inspire bookmakers of the future.

“I’m looking forward to sharing more about these focal points of my tenure, as well as celebrating the wonderfully vibrant world of children’s books on an international stage next March.”

Flavia Z. Drago

Penguin Random House illustrator Drago, says, “I was born in Mexico. When I was little, I was lucky enough to live in a house full of books, and usually the ones with beautiful or intriguing illustrations got my interest first.

“Pictures opened the doors of curiosity; they made me want to know more about the world where I lived, and the body in which I moved. Pictures helped me encounter stories that may or may not have happened years ago, and others that can only truly exist in the imagination.

“One of these was Two Can Toucan by David Mc Kee. I liked it so much that when I was about 9 or 10 years old, I made my own version using an old typewriter—which made me feel very professional—and coloring pencils. It was also about the same time when I wrote and drew my first original story, a tragedy about my pets.

“I’ve always loved drawing, but I didn’t know then that I’d end up making picture books and living in the UK. And now, I cannot believe that I have the honor to be named Illustrator of the Fair at London Book Fair, just like Dapo Adeola, Lauren Child, and of course David McKee.

“Like me, stories can travel far and wide across the world, and I hope that through my work, I can contribute to making this industry more inclusive and to share something from my background for others to know, hoping that, even if little, we get to know, understand, and respect each other. But especially, I’d love to open the doors of curiosity, for many more children.”

Richard Osman. Image: Conor O'LearyPenguin Random House’s Osman, an author , producer, and television presenter, reportedly has gone to million-copy bestselling status with The Thursday Murder ClubThe Man Who Died Twice, and The Bullet That Missed.

His fourth book The Last Devil to Die is said to be the fastest selling hardback novel by a British author since record-keeping began.

More details of this series and further programming of the 2024 show is anticipated within weeks.

 More on London Book Fair is here. More from Publishing Perspectives on authors is here, more on international book fairs and trade shows is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s market 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.

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