London Book Fair Names Its 2024 Charities of the Year

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

London Book Fair this year has chosen two charities: Book Aid International and the home market’s National Literacy Trust.

On the exhibition floor at Olympia London, the 2023 London Book Fair. Image: LBF

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

Key Anniversaries for Both Charities
Today (January 17), London Book Fair has announced its designated charities for this year’s March 12 to 14 trade show.

Book Aid International is very well known to our regular readers at Publishing Perspectives and it provides 1 million or more new, unused books primarily to economically and socially challenged education communities. Most recently, this program, headed by Alison Tweed, coordinated a complex shipment of 25,000 books from UK publishers—happily not just for children, but also for adults—to PEN Ukraine‘s “Unbreakable Libraries” initiative.

Book Aid International is in its 70th year of operation and has the support of more than 100 publishers in the United Kingdom and in other parts of the world. In 2023, the program reports it put as many as 1,235,900 books into 22 countries.

And the National Literacy Trust, a UK-facing program, avidly supported by the population and the publishing business, and reaching in 2022, what it reports as more than 1.3 million children and young people through school settings and in other community venues. Some 9,000 parents were reached in 2022, the charity says, as were more than 8,000 schools.

And this is National Literacy Trust’s 30th year—a youngster by comparison to Book Aid.

Alison Tweed

In response to the news of the selections as official charities of this year’s fair, Tweed, CEO of Book Aid International says, “We want to say a huge thank you to UK publishers, with whose support we’re able to send more than 1 million books every year to people who would otherwise have nothing to read.

“Our new ‘Generation Reader’ campaign aims to build on this work, giving 10 million young people across Africa access to life-transforming books. We look forward to meeting with publishers at London Book Fair this year, to explore how we can do even more to share the power of books around the world.”

Nigel Newton

Nigel Newton, CEO of Bloomsbury and president of Book Aid, says, “It is very good to see Book Aid International chosen as LBF’s joint charity of the year, in their 70th anniversary year.

“The work they do with the books donated by UK publishers, getting books to the remotest and most marginalized communities around the world, is transformational.

“I hope that even more publishers will partner with Book Aid International this year and invite anyone interested in doing so to come and meet them at this year’s London Book Fair.

“LBF represents a great opportunity for connections and it was at last year’s fair that I introduced Daniel Gorman of English PEN to Alison Tweed of Book Aid International, which led to the supply of thousands of books to PEN Ukraine for their ‘Unbreakable Libraries’ project.”

Jonathan Douglas

And Jonathan Douglas, CEO of the National Literacy Trust, says, “Both organisations [his and Book Aid International] are driven by an understanding of the power of books and reading, and the vital role they have in inspiring children and young people and supporting their lifelong literacy skills.

“We look forward to working together to showcase the incredible work of the National Literacy Trust, as we support and empower communities across the UK facing the biggest challenges with literacy. Together we can help people change their stories.”

Gareth Rapley

And Gareth Rapley, London Book Fair’s director—working toward the execution of his second fair in that assignment—is quoted today, saying, “The submissions for charity of the year were extremely strong this year, and we simply could not separate the National Literacy Trust and Book Aid International, whose UK and international focuses respectively align so closely with LBF’s national and international outlook.

“We look forward to marking their respective anniversaries, while amplifying the crucial work that these two brilliant charities are doing to improve literacy and access to books domestically and around the world.”

With keynote Main Stage events having been highlighted, more of this year’s fairs seminar program is being released, and Publishing Perspectives will bring you more details of that information shortly.

Programming Notes

In terms of those 22 Main Stage programs announced for the 2024 London Book Fair, we draw several points of programming to your attention.

Jonathan Karp

At 10:30 a.m. GMT on March 12, London Book Fair’s opening Tuesday, Publishing Perspectives will be in conversation with Jonathan Karp, CEO of the newly independent Simon & Schuster—reaching its 100th anniversary this year—as he looks at the issues, challenges, and strengths of world publishing.

In such a pivotal season for such a prominent house entering its newly reconfigured stance with its first board of directors, the company and its extensive international operations that include Simon & Schuster UK is singularly positioned for a new era. Karp’s insights, candor, and focus will inform some of the most important commentary of this year’s fair.

Dan Conway

At  2:15 p.m. GMT, on March 12, four key players will join us when Publishing Perspectives moderates a Main Stage discussion, Copyright and AI: A Global Discussion of Machines, Humans, and the Law, an advanced-level conversation exploring the risks and opportunities within the rapidly evolving ecosystem in an era of artificial intelligence.

The session will feature:

Diana Broccardo

At 3:15 p.m. GMT on March 13, London Book Fair’s Wednesday, Publishing Perspectives moderates a panel titled Voices Unheard: Addressing Inclusivity and Representation in the Publishing World, a discussion created to recognize and embrace the importance of “narratives that have long been sidelined … from shedding light on diverse perspectives and the deepening crises for boys and men in publishing’s opportunities, to celebrating the remarkable progress achieved in some quarters.

The session will feature:

  • Nelson (Nels) Abbey, co-founding author of the Black Writers Guild
  • Diana Broccardo, managing director, Swift Press
  • Natasha Carthew, writer and founding artistic director of the Working Class Writers Festival
  • Julie Farrell, author, poet, and the co-founding director of the Inklusion Guide

 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.

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.