The week that was…The London Book Fair 2017

Landmark Launches – Ruby Wax, Michael Morpurgo, Stanley Johnson & More

Six-Figure Deals & Book Boom, with Market up 6%

SAVE THE DATE: 10 – 12 April 2018

The London Book Fair closed the 2017 Fair on a high today, with a raft of six-figure deals across the week, a buoyant atmosphere, and attendees describing the Fair as “upbeat” and “positive”.

Over 130 countries were represented at the 46th Fair, with this year’s international VIP line-up including: David Nicholls, Michael Morpurgo, Olga Tokarczuk, Ruby Wax, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Stanley Johnson, Louise Doughty, Gurinder Chadha, Andrzej Sapkowski, Jacek Dehnel, Bernard Cornwell, Val McDermid, Rachel Abbott, Elif Shafak, Amit Chaudhuri, Ayobami Adebayo, Anita Anand, Rosanna Ley, C.L. Taylor and LBF founder, Lionel Leventhal, who celebrated his 80th birthday at the Fair today.


There were a number of major author and publisher announcements at this year’s Fair, including:

  • Ruby Wax announced her partnership with Marks & Spencer to launch Frazzled Café at M&S stores across the country where people feeling ‘frazzled’ can drop in for fortnightly talk-in sessions
  • HarperCollins Children’s Books announced a new collaboration from LBF Author of the Day Michael Morpurgo and critically acclaimed illustrator Emma Chichester Clark to create TOTO: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz, out in September
  • Stanley Johnson gave Fair-goers a sneak peek of his upcoming Brexit thriller, Kompromat, published by Oneworld Publications in September


Brexit and its potential impact on the publishing and wider creative industries was one of the most talked about topics at the Fair. A weaker pound also saw more American and European publishers scouting for UK content.


Big name deals, six-figure sums, and cross-media rights sales were the order of the day at LBF 2017, with highlights including:

  • Ex-Pulp frontman, Jarvis’s book on creativity was snapped up by Jonathan Cape in a six-figure deal
  • Faber bought 90s drum and base legend and cultural icon, Goldie’s memoir
  • Little, Brown signed Suede Frontman Brett Anderson’s memoir
  • Obama’s right-hand man, Alan Krueger’s title using the music industry to shine a light on economics, was snapped up by John Murray
  • Benedict Cumberbatch’s production company, SunnyMarch, bought the film rights to Matt Haig’s upcoming How to Stop Time with
  • Orion imprint Trapeze announced it will be publishing a YA novel by Cara Delevingne in October
  • HarperCollins signed a six-figure deal with Lionel Shriver for her short story collection, Property
  • UK rights for the book behind Oscar-nominated French film, Elle, were bought by Oneworld
  • In a ‘post-truth’ era, Quercus signed A Short History of Truth by Julian Baggini
  • Scholastic signed Alesha Dixon’s series about a girl who is a super hero
  • Quercus bought Greg Wise and his late sister, Clare’s, account of her battle with cancer, Not that kind of Love
  • Orion Fiction snapped up Libby Page’s The Lido for a six-figure sum
  • Top Gear featured heavily with Harper Non-Fiction acquiring three Top Gear titles and Piccadilly (Bonnier Zaffre) picking up The Stig inspired children’s fiction series
  • Harper Non-Fiction also snapped up NHS GP, Dr Rupy Aujla’s debut cookbook, The Doctor’s Kitchen
  • Bloomsbury signed ‘first of its kind’ dementia memoir, Somebody that I used to Know, by NHS worker, Wendy Mitchell, who has Young-Onset-Dementia

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


Polish writing was at the heart of The London Book Fair this year. With Poland featured as the Market Focus country, 12 of Poland’s most prominent and talented contemporary writers – including the Market Focus Author of the Day, Olga Tokarczuk, Cross Media Author of the Day, Andrzej Sapkowski, and powerhouses Zygmunt Miłoszewski and Jacek Dehnel – discussed themes such as crime writing in Poland, poetry in translation, equal opportunities in writing and reportage. Meanwhile the Professional Programme presented a series of events providing an insight into the Polish publishing industry, while highlighting business opportunities and showcasing the market’s importance in the wider context of international publishing.


The London Book Fair, and its UK partners the British Council and the Publishers Association, marked the official launch of Market Focus Baltic Countries 2018 today with a special event and handover ceremony at LBF.


At The London Book Fair Quantum Conference, Nielsen’s Books & Consumers annual survey reported that 2016 was a strong year for printed books in particular, with spending up by seven per cent and young generations of consumers fuelling this growth. The survey also delivered good news for the British high street, with a four per cent rise in book volume purchases through physical stores, while eBook sales were down by four per cent. The fastest growing categories were Non-Fiction (+5%) and Children’s print books (+3%).


The winners of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards were announced on the first night of the Fair, with Paris’ Shakespeare and Company crowned Bookstore of the Year, the Arab world leading the field with the highest number of award wins, and the LBF Simon Master Chairman’s Award awarded to His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. The full list of winners is available here.


The shortlist for the 2017 prize was unveiled on the first day of The London Book Fair by this year’s judging panel, chaired by acclaimed author Val McDermid. Recognising exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction that engage with the topics of health and medicine, the 2017 shortlist can be found here.


As ever, it was standing room only at Author HQ throughout the Fair. The packed line-up concluded with the now firmly established Write Stuff competition, where six authors pitch to a panel of agents (this year Laura Williams, PFD; Euan Thorneycroft, AM Heath; Piers Blofeld, Sheil Land; and Camilla Wray, Darley Anderson). This year’s winner was Rochelle Bugg for her book, Help! My Mum’s Got Cancer, a 20-something’s guide to caring & coping (without going crazy) when a loved one is ill. Bugg chose her follow-up meeting to be with PFD’s Laura Williams.


In celebration of the UK-India Year of Culture, and to mark the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence, LBF hosted a Spotlight on India at the Fair. The opening ceremony included speeches by the High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Y K Sinha, and the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture of India, Mr Pranav Khullar. Meanwhile, renowned novelist, essayist and critc Amit Chaudhuri, Gurinder Chadha, Anita Anand, Shrabani Basu, and more took to the stage.

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