The countdown has begun for the London Book Fair, to be organised from March 14-16, 2017. This will be part of the seven day programme – London Book & Screen Week. Here, Jacks Thomas, director, London Book Fair, shares more about the fair, on her recent visit to India. The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Taking place every spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF 2017, the 46th Fair, will take place from March 14 – 16, 2017 at Olympia London. LBF’s London Book and Screen Week will run for the third year, with the book fair as the pivotal three day event within a seven day programme. London Book and Screen Week will begin on Monday 13 March.

Jacks Thomas of Reed Exhibitions is the director of The London Book Fair since 2013. Her role includes the ongoing development of the fair as the leading marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content for one of the world’s most creative industries, at a time of transition and transformation across the sector. Jacks was recently in India, for the third time exactly, and shared more about the upcoming London Book Fair 2017 in an exclusive interview with All About Book Publishing. Excerpts.

Market Focus Country…

This time, Poland is the Market focus country, which has the largest non-English speaking community. “It is really very interesting on two levels. First, it has a very amazing history of literature and second, the current literacy is very buoyant. But, they do not translate that many titles. In fact, Germany is the biggest translation market,’ tells Jacks.

Author of the Day…

“The London Book Fair welcomes delegates from across the global publishing industry and the Author of the Day slot provides a great opportunity to celebrate some of the most successful contemporary writers within our international community,” tells Jacks. This year’s line-up is bestselling author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo, Man Booker prize winning novelist Roddy Doyle and eminent Polish author Olga Tokarczuk, the country’s most widely translated female writer. This year, the line-up will also include popular Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski. As author of cult classic The Witcher series, he will headline The London Book Fair Cross Media Author of the Day. Jacks shares, “We are delighted to welcome such a fantastic lineup of authors to this year’s London Book Fair. As ever, their work reminds us of the timelessness of great storytelling, which has the power to cross generational and cultural barriers, and be reimagined for new audiences through audio, stage and screen.”

Spotlight on India…

“Another important highlight is the spotlight on India - year of UK India culture – which is very exciting. We are doing three pavilions in three different zones – children’s, academic zone and publishing solution and technology zones. We are co-creating catalogues of Indian literature with FICCI, which will emphasise on novels and other literature. We did a similar activity last year as well to encourage Indian authors and translations. Additionally, we are bringing Indian authors to participate in the cultural events. We are working with the Indian High Commission on that. A big India Lounge will be a major spotlight. Another highlight is “Poetic licence,” wherein we will have performances in Hindi as well. Poetry is very much in vogue and is very intriguing. We will also be looking at Bob Dylan’s work, which will be recited there,” tells Jacks.

What’s more?

“We have two anniversaries- one is Jane Austen, 200 years of her death and as a part of London Book and Screen Week, we’re looking at performances and interviews with some of the authors who have rewritten – novels as part of the Austen project. London Book & Screen Week is the capital’s seven-day, city-wide celebration of books and the films, TV programs and virtual worlds they inspire,” shares Jacks.

“Besides, it is also St Patricks Day – the week of the book fair. We have teamed up with the Irish Society and doing a big evening on satire,” she adds.

Quantum Conference

Quantum: Consumer Insight & So Much More, held in collaboration with Nielsen Book, will inform attendees about how different audiences discover, purchase and interact with content and give innovative ideas which they can put into practice. There’s a knowledgable line-up of speakers, including Louise Vinter, consumer insight director at Penguin Random House UK; Tom Williams, head of marketing at Peak Labs and Flemming Madsen of Influmetrics.

“I think Quantum is very important. It informs about reaching consumers changes, how to reach them directly, how to understand and use the data that we have, etc. The Quantum conference will be underpinned from Nielsen data from around the world. That is the added value and it will be looking at consumers from all parts of the world. And then the other thing about the Quantum conference is the virtual goody bag, a market research report from Nielsen, which is very significant,” shares Jacks.

International Excellence Awards

Held in partnership with The Publishers Association, The International Excellence Awards are a grand celebration of publishing and related activities outside the UK. “My message is for all publishers to participate here. We started this 3 years ago. Even though, there are lot of very good awards for publishing in the UK, we wanted an award which takes a global view and let the people in UK know that there are very interesting things happening around the world,” shares Jacks.

Faculty @ LBF

“The whole academic and STM publishing has gained momentum. We introduced Faculty@LBF 4 years ago. We are very lucky to partner with Copyright Clearance Centre (CCC). This research and scholarly conference is a half day conference,” she shares.

The Cross-Media Collection

The Cross-Media Collection was born out of publishing's desire to understand and better engage with the video game, app, graphic novel, comic and creative industries. This dedicated space within the Fair is designed to allow new connections and partnerships to be formed. This area features a pavilion and theatre, where a variety of insightful events will take place, focussing on the possibilities for collaboration with the publishing industry.

“It will be featured second time. Cross Media Collection is very interesting. Basically, we are very used to selling our books and translation rights across geographies. We also export books but in this digital age, opportunities are much greater and we can sell books in cross formats. We do matchmaking between television, film and gaming producers to meet publishers,” shares Jacks.

Awards @ London Book and Screen Week

“This year we are launching the Creativity Across Media: Entertainment & Originality Awards (CAMEO) as collaboration between London Book & Screen Week (LBSW), and the Publishers Association. These awards are designed to recognise the relationship between content across a variety of media and, crucially, the central role of the book. In a world where storytelling is consumed in so many media forms, the CAMEOs will honour the works which have made the most impact during the last calendar year, across each of the major aligned creative industries: Film, TV, Gaming (inclusive of apps and entertainment), and theatre,” tells Jacks. The inaugural awards will be presented at Soho House, London on Monday March 13.

Building Inclusivity in Publishing

This day-long conference was organized and run by LBF with The Publishers Association in November 2016. “Attendees were encouraged to consider how they interact with every point of the publishing ecosystem to ensure equal representation in our industry, from authors right through to the consumer. The day challenged ideas about who our audience is, and how we speak to them, asking attendees what they can be doing better by providing positive examples and personal experiences,” she shares.

“There were very informative sessions on disability and autism. For example, UK libraries are now getting involved in a project backed by the Arts Council to become more welcoming for people with autism, by creating sensory spaces with low lighting, interesting textures are calming music. Even supermarkets are following suit. At the conference, Philippa Vickers of AMV BBDO - one of the creative minds behind a powerful UK advertising campaign that ran during the Rio Paralympics - also gave a fascinating presentation about championing disability and diversity in mainstream media. We will be keeping up the momentum at the Fair, where we will have a whole a stream of seminars called Pride not Prejudice,” add Jacks.

Benefits to Indian publishers

“The show offers Indian publishers and technology and service providers to showcase their offerings to the world at the London Book Fair. I would take advice from India, as some fantastic innovative things are happening here,” tells Jacks.

“Since 2007 market focus as India, we are hoping for more participation. Equally, we are trying our best to ensure that Indian exhibitors get the share they deserve. The FICCI catalogues for example, is very crucial and given the huge Diaspora in the UK, with people whose ancestry is from India, it’s a great opportunity for cultural programmes as well as the business aspect of the fair. Indian Diaspora will be very pleased to have access to writers from India,” she adds.

“India’s publishing industry is very interesting, innovative, diverse, and as with all publishing industries, it’s not an easy job, there are challenges and with India being such a huge country, what really intrigues is publishing from different regions. I am truly fascinated by the other languages. I would want to motivate them to come and participate and sell the translation rights. Publishers do not know what gold is in regional publishing,” concludes Jacks.



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