The London Book Fair 2019 to offer global insight into publishing

Events include Gandhi 150, top international authors and focus on TV and Film rights and top education publishing conference, shares Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair.


The London Book Fair (LBF) is one of the biggest global book fairs with the largest rights centre and it will return to London from March 12 – 14, 2019. Returning for its 48th year, LBF is delighted to welcome back so many Indian publishers from across the country.

Gandhi 150 @ LBF

We are particularly proud this year to host a stand dedicated to Gandhi 150, commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, displaying works that tell about this life and his message. This stand was developed in partnership with the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

There will be an opening event at Gandhi 150 stand on Tuesday afternoon and all LBF delegates will be invited to attend.

Quantum Conference: Aligned creativity, informed by insight, 11 March

Jacks Thomas
Jacks Thomas

This will be one of an enormous range of events taking place at LBF over its three days, and immediately preceding LBF on Monday 11 March will be the always illuminating Quantum Conference.

This year this standalone conference will delve into the trends in global publishing informed by exclusive analysis from data partner Nielsen, particularly focusing on the rise of nonfiction, audiobooks and the growing demand for book IP and rights across TV and film.

One of the keynotes for the Quantum Conference will be Stephen Page, Chief Executive of Faber & Faber, and the conference will hear from actor Christopher Eccleston. The afternoon will have a special session on TV and film rights including speakers from the BBC, producer of major Channel 4 TV productions and many other influential players from across the industry. It is an unmissable networking event for anyone trying to take the pulse of global trade publishing today.

In addition to Quantum, 2019 will see the return of Academic Publishing conference Research and Scholarly Publishers Forum and the seminal Education Publishing Conference What Works?.

Insights Seminar Programme @ LBF

Inside The London Book Fair 2019 the Insights Seminar Programme will include seminars, panel debates, author talks, awards, live podcasts, and much more across the three days. This year’s comprehensive programme will span audiobooks to ageism, rights to refugee education, and from feminism to fake news.

Speakers include: Dr Alaa Hamdon (University of Mosul) leading a session on the work being done to rebuild the libraries that IS destroyed; authors Clara Ng and Reda Gaudiamo who will join Judith Robinson to discuss why we emphasise morality in children’s fiction; top book cover designers providing a rare insight into book cover design; and Guzel Yakhina, Russian bestselling author, taking part in a panel discussing gender in publishing, and how stereotyping and misconceptions can impact language translation.

The Podcast Theatre

New for 2019 is The Podcast Theatre, where many books and publishing podcasts will record in front of a live audience including Penguin Random House’s Vintage podcast and publishing industry podcast This Week in Voice. They will interview key figures in publishing and some of the world’s bestselling authors, including Karin Slaughter and Ian McEwan.

LBF’s Indonesia Market Focus 2019: 17,000 Islands of imagination

Following on from The Baltics last year, Indonesia will be the Fair’s Market Focus for 2019, with sessions being held to offer the international public a window into publishing across the country’s “17,000 Islands of Imagination”. As part of this celebration, Indonesian author Seno Gumira Ajidarma will be joining Caryl Phillips and Holly Bourne as an LBF Author of the Day, and many cultural events will be held with other writers from the country, including Intan Paramaditha and Nirwan Dewanto. As well as cultural and professional programme events across the Fair, Indonesia will be hosting a Spice Café with cultural and cookery events to showcase a wide range of Indonesian culture.

Illustration, Poetry and Translation

Illustration and Poetry continue to be at the heart of The London Book Fair, with Raymond Antrobus being named as Poet of the Fair, and David McKee attending as Illustrator of the Fair, marking the 30-year anniversary of his Elmer the Elephant series. There will be an Illustrator’s Gallery where illustrators can exhibit and display their artwork as part of a collective gallery space.

The Literary Translation Centre recognises the significance of translators in an increasingly global marketplace, exploring how translation can help to produce a more culturally rich and diverse publishing landscape. Sessions will explore the impact of gender stereotypes on translating, the booming Maltese literature scene and the challenges of translation in a digital world. Speakers include translators working in Indonesian, Russian, Arabic, Catalan, Welsh and Kazakh. This year, for the first time, LBF will recognise a Translator of the Fair, Jeremy Tian, a Singaporean writer and translator of great repute.

Authors at LBF

In its eighth year, the Author HQ programme will provide writers with the knowledge, tools and insight they need to make informed decisions about getting their work published. As well as talks from experts, writers will have the opportunity to sit down one on one with agents from leading literary agencies, allowing them to get advice on their specific work. It will host the popular panel event The Write Stuff, in which authors pitch their books to panel of literary agents in front of a live audience.


LBF also marks an opportunity to recognise the talent and hard work found in the publishing industry. The International Excellence Awards, held on Tuesday 12th March, returns to celebrate those working in every aspect of publishing across the world. Prizes are given across more than fifteen categories, including Audiobook Publisher of the Year, Bookshop of the Year, Library of the Year Award and Literary Festival Award. There are also two additional categories – Adult Trade Award and Children’s, Young Adult and Education Award – which are specifically for those publishers working in Indonesia, as part of this year’s Market Focus celebrations.

On Thursday 14th March, the UK Book Blog Awards will acknowledge the work done by social media influencers within the publishing community, with prizes awarded to Booktuber of the Year, Bookstagrammer of the Year and Book blogger of the Year. For the first time, a Book Podcaster of the Year category has also been added to the awards, recognising the increasing importance of the medium to publishers and writers alike.

Indeed, there is so much going on within and around The London Book Fair this year that this broad range of activity I mention above by no means covers everything going on. I do hope that more Indian publishers than ever visit London, a cultural capital of the world, and do business with global publishing at LBF. There will be insight on offer from every corner of the globe and every facet of the publishing process, bringing together publishers from around the world to celebrate the industry and of course to do the important deals that are the lifeblood of our global industry.

We look forward to welcoming you this month!

You might also like More from author

Comments are closed.