LBF 2022 kicks off

LBF returns in person for first time since 2019

Sharjah opening ceremony at the London Book Fair 2022. Photo London Book Fair

The London Book Fair (LBF) returned on 5 April as a physical event, with exhibitors and attendees descending on Olympia to hear talks and sessions with expert publishers, award-winning authors, internet sensations, and more.

Andy Ventris, director of The LBF, said, “After two years away, we are delighted to welcome the global publishing industry back to Olympia in person for The London Book Fair. It is so wonderful to see exhibitors and attendees returning and to see the warmth and connection throughout the venue.

“With a keynote by publisher Louise Moore and a talk by award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell, as well as the opening ceremony for Sharjah as this year’s Market Focus, we have certainly started the Fair with a bang. We look forward to sharing even more exciting program events over the next two days.”

LBF Day 1 highlights

Louise Moore, managing director of Penguin Michael Joseph, gave a keynote on the importance of commercial fiction for the publishing industry, exploring why the genre does not always receive the respect it deserves.

Author of the Day Maggie O’Farrell appeared in conversation with Jo Finney, Good Housekeeping Books editor, discussing her career, winning the Women’s Prize for Hamnet, and her highly anticipated upcoming novel The Marriage Portrait.

Sharjah, LBF’s 2022 Market Focus, held their opening ceremony on the Sharjah Pavillion, with speeches from Market Focus Author of the Day Afra Atiq, Keith Nichol, head of Cultural Diplomacy, DCMS, Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Bin Khalid Al Qasimi, executive chairman of the Department of Government Relations, speaking on behalf of the Ruler of Sharjah and Bodour Al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association, Stephen Lotinga, chief executive officer of The Publishers Association, and a performance by a ten-strong Emirati band. The ceremony marks the start of three days of sessions showcasing literature and culture from the region.

Monique Roffey, author of 2020 Costa Book of the Year The Mermaid of Black Conch, spoke about the intersection between the mythic and postcolonial in the English PEN Literary Salon, while European Union Prize for Literature winner Walid Nabhan did a reading of his work at Poet’s Corner.

Other authors appearing on the day’s program included bestsellers Nicola May and JD Kirk, discussing independent publishing through Kindle, writer Lizzie Damilola Blackburn on her highly anticipated debut Yinka, Where Is Your Husband?, and Eva Verde, Natasha Carthew, and Mahsuda Snaith exploring the challenges facing working-class writers.

A session on the influence of TikTok on the publishing industry saw large crowds gather to listen to an expert panel comprising of Ashley Baugh, Midas, Naomi Bacon, Tandem Collective, Sharika Teelwah, Penguin Random House, and author Fiona Lucas.

TikTok star Francis Bourgeois, whose popular trainspotting videos have secured Gucci campaigns and 2.3 million followers on the platform, visited the Fair. Bestselling Jane’s Patisserie baker and social media star Jane Dunn also appeared at LBF following the announcement of Jane’s Patisserie Celebrate!, the follow-up to her bestselling debut cookbook.

The Spotlight on Catalan program saw award-winning novelist Max Porter in conversation with Catalan author Marta Orriols, and writer Jay Griffiths discuss time, experience, and meaning with University of Barcelona professor Josep Maria Esquirol.

The Writer’s Summit saw an audience of aspiring, emerging and independent writers gather to hear publishers and authors discuss the realities of writing as a career, with speakers including debut novelist Kasim Ali, Phoebe Morgan, editorial director at HarperFiction, James Spackman of BKS Agency, and Nikesh Shukla, award-winning writer and co-founder of the Good Literary Agency.

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. The LBF is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalize on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF brings you direct access to customers, content, and emerging markets. The London Book Fair 2022 is taking place from  5 – 7 April 2022 at Olympia London.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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