The London Book Fair 2023 Round Up

people talking at conference

Largest spring publishing event in the world closes on a high with pre-pandemic attendance figures


LONDON, Thursday 20 April 2023: The London Book Fair had its third and final day today, bringing the largest spring book trade and publishing event in the world to a close, with over 30,000 total attendance attending over the three days.


From publishers to authors, literary agents to booksellers and translators, the last three days saw representatives from the global book industry do business, share expertise, network and attend sessions covering topics on the key issues affecting the industry.


Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “What a wonderful Fair it’s been. We are delighted to see attendee figures back to pre-Covid levels, which is such a vote of confidence in the  event and a testament to the special place it holds in the publishing calendar. As my first London Book Fair, it’s been a fantastic experience and I look forward to growing this momentum in future years and solidifying The London Book Fair as the spring’s biggest book and publishing event for the whole industry.”

Highlights from Day Three of the Fair include:

The inspiring keynote address was delivered by Kate Mosse OBE, novelist and Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, chaired by Louise Minchin, author and former BBC Breakfast presenter. They discussed the importance of spotlighting women’s voices in books and the work that is still to be done in this area.

LBF’s Schools Programme 2023 in partnership with National Literacy Trust saw a number of volunteers from the publishing world (including authors, editors, illustrators, printers and booksellers) talking to 80 students from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13-16, an age where young people are starting to think about their career, about their roles and how they fit in to the journey of the book.

Author of the hit debut Morgan is My Name, Sophie Keetch was in conversation with podcaster and author Mark Stay to discuss the resurgence of retellings of myths and legends, how audiobooks can offer a different perspective on storytelling and her advice for any aspiring writers.

A conversation with Author of the Day Robin Stevens, celebrated Children’s Author offered thought-provoking perspectives from the celebrated author of the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries.


This year’s London Book Fair brought together internationally acclaimed authors, illustrators and translators from across the globe as well as exciting debut writers, including: Colson Whitehead, Kate Mosse, Robin Stevens, Ann Cleeves, Nguyn Phan Quế Mai, Louise Minchin, Leone Ross, Nikesh Shukla, Sadiq Khan, Leila Slimani, Natasha Carthew, Irenosen Okojie, Fflur Dafydd, JD Kirk, LJ Ross, Pablo Rivero, Juno Dawson, Sofia Rehman, Janice Hallett, Eve Werscoki Morris, Elle McNicoll, Katie Khan, Luan Goldie, Jasmine Richards, Tskenya-Sarah Frazer, Dr. Julie Smith, Vaseem Khan, Dr Margaret Skea, Daniel Kehlmann, Samvartha Sahil, Mark Stay, Colin Grant, Clare Lydon, So Mayer, Georgina Moore, Jeffrey Zuckermann, Jen Calleja, Jai White, Carl Reader, Preti Taneja, Xesús Fraga, Sawad Hussain, Annie McDermott, Jamie Lee Searle, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, Mark Dawson, Hannah Lynn, Nicola May, Sophie Keetch, Ioane Pezuashvili, Gordon Smith, Paul Westmoreland, Robert Tregoning, Harriet Muncaster, Laura Lee Dockrill, Harriet Evans, Rebecca Abrams, Matt Adlard, Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York and more.


The seminar programme also saw some of the biggest organisations from publishing and beyond share their expertise with attendees, including: The UN, Amazon, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Audible, Hachette, International Publishers Association, Springer Nature, Oxford University Press, Bloomsbury, Imperial College London, Kindle Direct Publishing, Nielsen BookData, PEN International, TikTok, BookMachine, Street Child, National Centre for Writing, Women’s Prize for Fiction, Society of Authors, The Booksellers Association and more.



A series of six-figure deals and celebrity biographies have been announced at this year’s London Book Fair. Rights highlights include:


  • Headline has acquired a biography of Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen by author and motor sport insider Mark Hughes.
  • Canongate has acquired a collection of short stories by International Booker Prize winner Lydia Davis and the book will be blocked from sale through Amazon – a first for the UK market – at the author’s request. Our Strangers will be made available for sale in physical bookshops, via Bookshop.org and other selected online independent retailers.
  • Fourth Estate has triumphed in a six-publisher auction for the new novel Portraits of Small Deaths by Maaza Mengiste, the Booker-shortlisted author of The Shadow King and Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.
  • Orion has acquired Aisha Hassan’s debut novel The Boy Who Built Lahore and one other title in a six-figure deal.
  • HarperCollins has landed a historical novel and a fantasy from Rebecca F Kuang, author of Babel and forthcoming
  • HarperCollins acquired the first book from Sarina Wiegman, head coach of England women’s national football team, about her journey to becoming an inspirational figure in sport.
  • Faber confirmed to publish the first graphic novel adaptation of William Golding’s 1954 classic, Lord of the Flies, illustrated by Dutch artist Aimée de Jongh.
  • Headline scooped debut novel from comedy writer Sara Gibbs, Eight Bright Lights, set in Tel Aviv about three young women looking for their happily ever after during the eight days of Hanukkah.
  • Bloomsbury scooped up Harriet Constable’s The Instrumentalist, inspired by the true story of Anna Maria della Pietà, orphan and student of Antonio Vivaldi, and a second book in major deal.


Please find more details and a breakdown of key deals by genre in the Notes to Editors*



Kicking off with a Welcome Address with Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Minister of Culture, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, this year’s Guest Spotlight on Ukraine featured a series of events bringing Ukrainian literature and culture to the fore. Created in partnership with the Ukrainian Book Institute, English PEN, the Publishers Association (PA), International Publishers Association (IPA) and the British Council, a number of sessions of the Seminar Programme considered how Ukrainian writers have responded to the war, the role that books play in the fight against disinformation and for democracy, the role of women’s voices in these discussions, and writing from the front line. Participating authors included Olesia Khromechuk, Mariana Savka, Luke Harding, Victoria Amelina, Oleksandr Mykhed, Iaryna Chorhohus, Orysia Lutsevych, Kateryna Babkina, Tetyana Teren, Nina Murray, Tanja Tuma, Iva Pezuashvili, Paul Robert Magocsi, Vladislav Davidzon among others. At the Ukrainian Stand (2B01), visitors could explore the rich variety of new books from Ukraine, as well as see samples of furniture from Ukrainian libraries destroyed by Russian shelling, poignantly covered in white paint.



In the newly launched Sustainability Lounge, which opened on Tuesday with Sherri Aldis, Director of the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe, issues around sustainability and the publishing industry took centre stage – from getting SDG on track to the sustainability of book fairs, and from early-stage ideas to transform publishing from within to the Publishers Association carbon calculator. Speakers included Karina Pansa, President of the International Publishers Association; Daniel Martin Brennan, Policy Advisor of European Book Sellers; Jude Drake, head of sustainability at Bloomsbury; Courtney Ward-Hunting, Senior Sustainability Production Manager at Penguin Random House UK; Nicola Jones, Director of Springer Nature SDG Programme.



Nielsen BookData shared the latest trends in book sales across the world in a session on the Main Stage today. Sales in Brazil and India were led by Non-Fiction, while Australia and New Zealand sales were driven by Children’s books, and Fiction was most pronounced in Italy and Spain’s bestsellers. Fiction also brings the most similarities across number one titles, with Colleen Hoover topping best-selling charts across the UK, Australia, Brazil, India, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa. The talk reported that graphic novels have more than doubled since 2019, with 26m in sale volumes, while romance, crime, fantasy and manga top the fiction charts globally. More info here.



The ever-popular Author HQ stage returned to The London Book Fair this year, with sessions tackling many of the key topics for aspiring, emerging and independent authors, including: TikTok and social media, sensitivity reading and copyright, AI tools for writing and marketing books, children’s books, preparing for publication, writing and resilience, how to design a top-notch cover, and more.

LBF TOP DEALS 2023 (Notes to Editors)

Adult Fiction

  • Hodder & Stoughton has acquired two thrillers by Sarah Hornsley, literary agent at PFD – in a significant six-figure deal, described as a “whirlwind, 48-hour pre-empt”.
  • Quercus has signed four books by bestselling author Elly Griffiths, including two mysteries in a new series.
  • Cathy Kelly is returning to HarperFiction in a three-book deal negotiated by Lynne Drew, publisher for general fiction, with Jonathan Lloyd at Curtis Brown, for UK and Commonwealth rights. Sisterhood, the first book, will publish in February 2024 in the UK, Ireland, and Australia.
  • Phoenix triumphantly acquired Kate Kemp’s first novel The Secrets of Warrah, about a crime that rocks a quiet and claustrophobic cul-de-sac in 1970s Canberra, in seven-way auction.
  • How it Works Out, the “whipsmart, fantastical, and deliriously funny” debut novel by Myriam Lacroix, has gone to Jonathan Cape following a six-way auction.
  • HQ has acquired the first two adult novels, including first book I Love You, I Love You from children’s author Laura Dockrill.
  • Working Title has secured a six-against seven-figure deal for People Hacker by Jenny Radcliffe (Simon & Schuster U.K.).
  • Serpent’s Tail has snapped up three debut novels, acquiring world all-language rights to Night Swimmers by Roisin Maguire, world English-language rights to Wild Ground by Emily Usher as part of a two-novel deal from Millie Hoskins at United Agents, and UK and Commonwealth rights to No Small Thing by Orlaine McDonald from Kirsty McLachlan at Morgan Green Creatives.
  • Canongate has secured U.K. and Commonwealth rights to International Booker winner Lydia Davis’ short fiction collection Our Strangers from Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton.
  • Atlantic Books has scooped Kerry Andrew’s We Are Together Because, “a gripping, moving novel about siblings, sex and the end of the world”.
  • Fourth Estate has signed Teddy by debut novelist Emily Dunlay in a “significant” two-book deal.
  • Oneworld has acquired an AI-inspired adult debut from the author of the Mr Gum series (illustrated by David Tazzyman), Andy Stanton, entitled Benny the Blue Whale: A ChatGPT Fantasy in Chaos.
  • HarperFiction snapped up two further books by Abigail Dean, author of crime debut Girl A.
  • Sphere acquired two-book deal with Sarah Pearse, the first un-titled book to be the third standalone in the Detective Elin Warner series and the second to be her first standalone.


Adult Non-Fiction

  • Hutchinson Heinemann has beaten 10 other suitors for two non-fiction books by historian and Warrior of Rome series novelist Harry Sidebottom, including Those Who Are About to Die and one as-yet-untitled.
  • Bluebird to publish How to Raise a Healthy Gamer, a “definitive” guide to parenting healthy gamers by Dr Alok Kanojia, who streams advice on gaming platform Twitch.
  • Laurence King has seized the definitive illustrated biography of performance artist Marina Ambramovic by fellow artist and author Katya Tylevich. Managing editor Laurence King acquired world rights to Marina Abramovic: A Visual Biography from Rory Scarfe at The Blair Partnership.
  • DK has snapped up Have You Eaten? Deliciously Simple Asian Cooking for Every Mood, content creator and influencer Verna Gao’s debut cookbook after a five-way auction.
  • Bluebird has scooped up the The Greatest Manifestation Journal by married couple, “mind coach” Vex King and beauty and lifestyle influencer Kaushal Modha.
  • Dr Lani’s Watson’s first trade book, Q: The Hidden Power of Questions in a World That Wants Answers was won by The Bodley Head in seven-way auction.
  • Hamish Hamilton acquired Shattered, Hanif Kureishi’s memoir chronicling his accident in Rome that left him paralysed last year.
  • Penguin Michael Joseph signed a two-book deal with TikTok Star and psychologist, Dr Julie Smith, following her breakout non-fiction hit last year.


Children’s And YA

  • Puffin has acquired three books in a “magical” young fiction series, Aniyah and the Dragon, as well as two picture books, from Dapo Adeola – Illustrator of the Fair at LBF – in a six-figure deal.
  • Hot Key Books acquired YA duology, I Feed Her To The Beast and The Beast Is Me, exploring the cut throat world of Parisian ballet, and I am the Dark That Answers When You Call from debut author Jamison Shea.
  • Piccadilly Press has acquired Agent 9, a “hilarious and action-packed” graphic novel series by movie and TV show animator and author James Burks.
  • HarperVoyager has acquired Faebound, the first book in a new fantasy trilogy by bestselling author Saara El-Arifi.
  • Walker Books has won two “super-slick, compelling” dark academic thrillers from Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-shortlisted Rachael Davis-Featherstone in a five-way auction in a six-figure deal.



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 London Book Fair is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise 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 2023 will take place 18-20 April 2023 at Olympia London. Find out more at www.londonbookfair.co.uk


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