London Book Fair 2024: Main Stage Keynote Sessions

In News by Porter Anderson

Speakers announced for the March 12 to 14 London Book Fair include Jonathan Karp, Dan Conway, Karine Pansa, Maria Pallante, and more.

At the 2023 London Book Fair, Olympia London. Image: LBF

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

A Second Year Under Gareth Rapley’s Direction

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

In its announcement today (November 22), London Book Fair‘s administration has released some of its top-line speaker information for the trade show’s March 12 to 14 run, a look at some of the most prominent programming being prepared by the event’s director Gareth Rapley, now in his second year in the position, with Mariana Barrios, who works closely on the staged content of the fair.

Our readers will remember that the 2023 London event—an industry-facing trade fair, not a public-facing fair—drew more than 30,000 industry attendees, a return to pre-COVID-era numbers, having been the first of the major international fairs to be canceled in the early weeks of the pathogen’s advance in 2020. The International Rights Centre at London Book Fair in April of this year had at least 500 of its tables sold.

In a recent conversation with Rapley, Publishing Perspectives understands that exhibitor sales for the 2024 London show are going extremely well. The rights center is to be returned to its ground-floor position this year as the Olympia London complex on Hammersmith continues its extensive £1.3 billion redevelopment (US$1.6 billion).

Completion of that project is at least two years away, meaning that the London show is constrained in its space allocations. Most regular traveling publishing professionals we’ve talked to have said they found little problem in the reconfiguration of space for the show. Many have spoken of finding it helpful, in fact, to have the rights center on ground floor and thus more a part of the show than in its prior arrangement in an adjacent building.

Gareth Rapley

In a comment issued with today’s announcement, Rapley is quoted, saying, “Following the success of last year’s main stage, we’re delighted to unveil another brilliant lineup of speakers and organizations for one of the most popular stages of the fair.

“We’re thrilled to have such a wide range of heavyweight panelists, spanning international publishers, best-selling authors, AI experts, media executives, and charity CEOs. Visitors to London Book Fair 2024 can expect engaging debates and eye-opening conversations on the key themes that affect the publishing world.”

The headliner being announced today is Simon & Schuster president and CEO Jonathan Karp, whose tenure since the death of Carolyn Reidy has seen enormous success for the company. S&S has become established as a leader among the Big Five in political nonfiction among other things in the United States’ market, and the publishing house has been bought by the investment firm KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) in an agreement with Paramount Global for US$1.62 billion in an all-cash transaction.

In a comment on the news that he’ll be speaking, Karp is quoted today, saying, “I’m excited to be attending and speaking at London Book Fair 2024.

“Through the years, the fair has proven to be a vital gathering for the international publishing community, and I look forward to joining with industry colleagues from around the world for a few days of productive and meaningful exchange.”

Trade visitor registration is now available for the 2024 London Book Fair here.

Main Stage Programming: March 12

Jonathan Karp

10.30 to 11 a.m.
Opening Keynote: A Conversation with Jonathan Karp, president and CEO, Simon & Schuster

Publishing Perspectives will be speaking with Jonathan Karp on the Main Stage in this opening keynote session at London Book Fair. Karp recently named the Big Five company’s first board of directors as Simon & Schuster “embarks on its journey as an independent, standalone publishing company” under the new ownership of S&S, which will observe its 100th anniversary this year.

11.15 a.m. to 12.00 p.m.
Exploring the Ever-Evolving World of Publishing: Global Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

Lawrence Njagi

  • Karine Gonçalves Pansa, president, International Publishers Association (IPA)
  • Ricardo Franco Levi, president, Federation of European Publishers (FEP)
  • Lawrence Njagi, president, African Publishers Network (APNET)
  • Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi, vice-chairman, Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Elsevier, director of corporate affairs & strategy, RELX Group
  • Chaired by Edward Nawotka, Publishers Weekly

12.15 to 1 p.m.
International Author of the Day: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rachel Martin

1:15 to 2 p.m.
Beyond The Pages: Publishing in 2030

This session looks at green skills across the sector and associated technologies.

  • Rachel Martin, global sustainability director, Elsevier
  • Piers Torday, award-winning and bestselling children’s author and sustainability and climate change campaigner

Maria A. Pallante

2:15 to 3 p.m.
Copyright and AI: A Global Discussion of Machines, Humans, and the Law
As AI technologies become more widespread across the publishing world, this session will explore the implications of AI for copyright law and policy. The speakers will delve into the legal and ethical dimensions across different continents, while also navigating the inherent complexities of regulating this new technology.

  • Sylvie Forbin, deputy director general, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
  • Maria A. Pallante, president and CEO, Association of American Publishers (AAP)
  • Glenn Rollans, former president, Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) and president and publisher of Brush Education
  • Nicola Solomon, CEO, Society of Authors (SoA)
  • Chaired by Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives

Hugo Setzer

3:15 to 4 p.m.
The Marrakesh Treaty and Global Accessibility in Publishing
This session looks at progress and industry initiatives in accessibility, diversity, and inclusion along with practical steps that the industry can take to contribute to this significant milestone.

  • Hugo Setzer, president of the Cámara Nacional de la Industria Editorial Mexicana (CANIEM)
  • Anne Bergman-Tahon, director, Federation European Publishers (FEP)
  • Selina Mills, a legally blind award-winning writer, broadcaster, and activist
  • Claire Wade, author, disability activist, founder of Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses (ADCI)
  • Chaired by Jose Borghino, Secretary General, International Publishers Association (IPA)
Main Stage Programming: March 13

Dan Conway

11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Transforming the Future of the Written Word with AI

  • Dan Conway, CEO, Publishers Association UK (PA)
  • Dr Kate Devlin, reader in artificial intelligence and society in the department of digital humanities, King’s College London
  • Katie King, author on AI
  • Bill Thompson, principal research engineer in the advisory team at BBC Research & Development
  • Rebecka Isaksson, KM strategist

12:15 to 1 p.m
Author of the Day: Richard Osman

1:15 to 2 p.m.
The Future of Audio in Publishing: Global Trends and the Impact of AI

  • Michele Cobb, executive director, Audio Publishers Association
  • Amanda D’Acierno, president and publisher, Penguin Random House audio publishing group
  • Helena Gustafsson, chief content strategy officer, Storytel
  • Chaired by Videl Bar-Kar, vice-president of audio, Bookwire

2:15 to 3 p.m.
Global Academic Panel: The Academic Publishing Landscape in 2030 and Beyond

  • Antonia Seymour, CEO, IOP Publishing
  • Harsh Jegadeesan, chief publishing officer, Springer Nature
  • Chaired by Richard Fisher, Independent Publishers Guild (IPG)

3:15 to 4 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Voices Unheard: Addressing Inclusivity and Representation in the Publishing World
Speakers in this session will investigate the importance of accurate representation, authentic storytelling, and the positive impact they have on readers of all backgrounds.

  • Julie Farrell, author and co-founder of Inklusion Guide
  • Natasha Carthew, author and director of the Festival for Working Class Writers
  • Nelson (Nels) Abbey, author and co-founder of the Black Writers Guild
  • Stacy Scott, head of accessibility at Taylor & Francis and chair of the accessibility action group, Publishers Association (PA)
  • Chaired by Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives
Main Stage Programming: March 14

11.15 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Children’s Author of the Day: Joseph Coelho

Nicola Usborne

12.15  to 1:15 p.m.
Panel: Creating a Culture of Reading for Pleasure

  • Helenor Gilmour, director of insight and strategy, Beano Studios
  • Jonathan Douglas CBE Hon FRSL, CEO, National Literacy Trust
  • Nicola Usborne, CEO, Usborne Publishing
  • Helen Freeman, director, Oxford Childrens (OUP)
  • Cassie Chadderton, CEO, World Book Day

 More from Publishing Perspectives on London Book Fair is here, more from us on trade shows and book fairs in world publishing is here, more on charity work in publishing is here, and more on the United Kingdom’s book market is here.

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

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.