Bologna Book Plus 2023: India, Ukraine, Taiwan, and Neil Packer

In News by Porter Anderson

The Bologna Book Plus program in April is scheduled to put special focus on India, Ukraine, Taiwan, and illustrator Neil Packer.

The Greek pavilion at the 2023 Bologna Book Plus program in Italy. This year, India will be ‘In the Limelight’ as the key international market in the Bologna Book Plus program at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

‘In the Heart of Europe To Debate Current Challenges’
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Bologna Children’s Book Fair‘s (April 8 to 11) is now configured in three co-located contexts:

Today’s information has to do with the second of those three channels, the Bologna Book Plus program, which has named India as its guest of honor market—in the parlance of this trade show, “In the Limelight.”

Last year’s country of focus was Greece, and this year’s emphasis the Indian market is organized in cooperation with the National Book Trust of India in New Delhi, the organization that in February mounted the 51st New Delhi World Book Fair.

The Indian side of the Bologna Book Plus program, centered on its stand, with Yuvraj Malik, the National Book Trust director, leading the delegation of publishers from India.

Yuvraj Malik

In a prepared statement for today’s announcement, Malik is quoted, saying, “The India stand at Bologna Book Plus will showcase the vibrant Indian publishing industry at this important international book fair.

“We’ll showcase the strength of the Indian publishing industry through a wide range of books across all genres and in all Indian languages. The publishers attending in person look forward to trading with their peers from Italy and around the world.

“Additionally, through our seminar sessions we’ll explore various publishing scenarios in the Indian subcontinent, as well as translations, content, copyright exchanges and much more. We look forward to being in Bologna.”

Ukraine’s Illustration and Design

Between seminar events at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023. Image: BCBF

In addition to its lead “Limelight” emphasis on the Indian book publishing market and industry, Bologna Book Plus also is scheduled to feature an exhibition of illustration and design from Ukraine, in an awards program called “Talking Pictures.”

That element of the “BBPlus” programming is coordinated and presented by the Hamelin Association and Steven Guarnaccia on behalf Bologna Book Plus. It’s described as an initiative that investigates and honors excellence and innovation in the international production of visual books, exploring aspects of visual imagery.

The exhibition and award are devised to consider books produced from 2021 to 2024, and the show is to be complemented by two seminars: Talking Pictures: Ukraine’s Historic and Contemporary Visual Book Production and Talking Pictures: Book Design in Ukraine.

Taiwan’s Central Spot in the Translation Forum

On the exhibition floor at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition in February. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

With Bologna Book Plus’ Translation Forum returning for a third year, the centerpiece there will be Taiwan—which recently closed its own Taipei International Book Exhibition with a visit by Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan. Featured professionals from the island democracy are:

  • Catrina Liu of Books from  Taiwan
  • Shin Su, managing director of the BK Agency
  • Kim Pai, project manager from the Paisha Agency

As Publishing Perspectives readers know from our many years of coverage, Taiwan is home to a growing body of literature waiting to be discovered, and many of the programs that our publication and Frankfurter Buchmesse have produced in Taipei have emphasized outreach and international integration of the dramatic diversity and potential of Taiwanese writing.

Taiwan’s agents and publishers are gateway players for many yet-t0-be-translated books.

With a generous translation grant available for rights-buying publishers, this session will highlight how to engage with Taiwan’s industry and how to locate specific forms and types of content.

Bologna Book Plus Author Ambassador: Neil Packer

Pictured at Bologna 2023, Folio Society CEO Joanna Reynolds and illustrator and author Neil Packer, who spoke during Bologna Book Plus programming in 2023 to illustrators at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. This year, Packer returns as the Bologna Book Plus Author Ambassador. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

Many Bologna attendees ran into illustrator and author Neil Packer there last year, and will find him on hand again this year, in the role of Bologna Book Plus Author Ambassador.

A winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award in 2021, Packer has illustrated many titles for London’s Folio Society, including Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude and Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose.

Packer worked with Jim Kay on the illustrations for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Illustrated Edition and in 2023, he illustrated the new Folio edition of the complete plays of Shakespeare, produced to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first folio. This year, Packer has been named a juror in the Talking Pictures Award.

Italy and AIE as Bologna Book Plus’ Partner

As our readership knows, Bologna Book Plus has the partnership of the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE), which of course is heavily engaged in this year’s upcoming Guest of Honor Italy program at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20).

Italy, with its own now-familiar spazio (its stand) always central at Bologna, of course, is expected to welcome publishers from some 50 markets, is on track to roll out an enhanced pavilion setting for Bologna Book Plus, which will include the theater in which the program will present its series of seminars and training events including How to Sell Rights and Understand Licensing in Children’s Books; Call Your Agent: How to Become a Successful Literary Agent; Self-Publishing in Italy and Abroad; AI; The Italian Market; Direct to Consumer; and the new Audio Forum we previewed here at Publishing Perspectives on February 13.

Jacks Thomas

In a comment on today’s news about plans being developed for the program, Thomas says, “‘We look forward to an action-packed Bologna Book Plus this year. With India ‘In the Limelight,’ the literary output of this diverse market is sure to be of interest across the fair.

“From a sell-out Rights Center to the return of our rights training course; from Audio to AI; an ‘Author Ambassador’ firmly rooted in Italy; a taste of Ukraine’s illustrated books on show, this is where the international industry meets in the heart of Europe to debate current challenges, while discovering new talent and trading across geographies and languages.”

We’ll have more information on the programming to come, as it’s announced for this year’s attendees.

More from Publishing Perspectives on Bologna Book Plus is here, more on publishing and book awards in the international industry is here, more on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on children’s books is here, more on the Italian market is here, more on the Indian market is here, more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here. Our coverage of the Russian war’s impact on Ukraine’s publishing industry is here, along with international reactions. 

In reference to Taiwan, see also our reporting from the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition:

And here is more of our coverage relative to the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair:

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.