First in-person LBF since 2019 comes to close with appearances from Stacey Halls, Milly Johnson, Tim Sullivan, Tice Cin, Irene Sola and more
The London Book Fair has concluded its third and final day as publishers, authors and readers from around the world returned to Olympia for the first in-person iteration of the Fair since 2019.
Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair said: “It has been fantastic to see the global publishing industry come together in person at The London Book Fair over the past three days, reconnecting and doing business, filling the halls of Olympia with a distinct buzz of excitement. After two years away, it was clear how much we had all missed meeting face-to-face, and to see LBF return in such strong form was incredibly heartening.
”As this year’s Fair comes to a close, I am certain that the connections made, the knowledge shared, and the sense of community fostered will stay with us all for a long time. We look forward to welcoming the industry back to Olympia in 2023, building on this year’s phenomenal return.”
Highlights from Day Three of the Fair:
Children’s Authors of the Day Greg James and Chris Smith spoke at the Fair about their bestselling Kid Normal series and The Great Dream Robbery, how they first got into writing children’s books, their love for engaging young readers, and gave an exclusive first ever reading from their forthcoming book Super Ghost.
The International Booker Prize, with Chair of judges Frank Wynne, announced an all-female 2022 shortlist in the Buzz Theatre, including previous winner Olga Tokarczuk, as well as Claudia Piñeiro, Mieko Kawakami, Jon Fosse, Bora Chung and Geetanjali Shree.
The final day of The London Book Fair saw acclaimed authors appear on stage to discuss their careers, literary inspirations, and tips for aspiring writers. Bestsellers Stacey Halls, Milly Johnson and Tim Sullivan took part in a panel on the Author HQ stage about their writing routines, while novelist Daisy Johnson discussed the role of myth in modern fiction with Catalan author Irene Sola. Award-winning writer Derek Owusu spoke with highly anticipated debut author Tice Cin about forthcoming book Losing The Plot.
ICONIC AUTHORS. EXPERT SPEAKERS
This year’s Fair saw international authors and illustrators take to the stage to discuss their work and familiar faces appear among the crowds to visit publishers, including: Maggie O’Farrell, Ben Okri, Greg James, Chris Smith, Diane Ewen, Afra Atiq, Derek Owusu, Francis Bourgeois, Monique Roffey, Stacey Halls, Milly Johnson, Tony Hadley, Tim Sullivan, Jane Dunn, Daisy Johnson, Peter James, Louise Candlish, KL Slater, Nicola May, LJ Ross, Pajtim Statovci, Mark Stay, JD Kirk, Kate Ruby, Simon Alexander Ong, Khalid AlBudoor, Irene Sola, Mahsuda Snaith, Walid Nabhan, Aina Bestard, Diana Bellessi, Fiona Lucas, Tice Cin, Natasha Carthew, Tim Wells, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, Amina Atiq, Anthony Anaxagorou, Helen Quah, Leena Norms, Eva Verde, Sarah Fletcher, Dr. Abdulaziz AlMusallam, Dubai Abulhoul, Sergi Pamies, David Constantine, Eva Baltasar, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, Claire Dyer, Julia Rose Lewis, Constantia Soteriou, Joy Griffiths, H.E. Mohammad Al-Murr, Bora Bagunya, Rupert Thomson, Alaa Abd el-Fattah, Loranne Vella, Lucy Mercer, Sam Buchan-Watts and more.
The seminar programme also saw some of the biggest organisations from publishing and beyond share their expertise with attendees, including: The UN, Google, Amazon, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Audible, International Publishers Association, Hachette, Kindle Direct Publishing, Nielsen BookData, PEN International, Harvard Business School, BookMachine, Book Aid International, Bookshop.org, Ingram Content, Society of Authors, Elsevier, The Booksellers Association and more.
HOT TOPIC: GLOBAL PUBLISHING
As publishers from around the world came to Olympia, the seminar programme reflected the truly global nature of the industry. Sessions on the legacy of the pandemic on the book world, the global nature of sustainable efforts, and a focus on Emirati, Catalan and Maltese literature demonstrated how books connect us all, regardless of nationality. Ben Okri’s keynote on art in the time of crisis, as well as appearances from Ukrainian publishers, also emphasised the importance of community within the industry.
A host of celebrity names, six figure deals and top TV and film rights were announced at this year’s Fair. Rights highlights include:
- Ebury has acquired rights to Isle of Dogs by broadcaster and bestselling author Clare Balding, which tells the story of Britain told through its relationship with man’s best friend.
- Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has had two ballroom dance-themed cosy crime novels acquired by HQ. The first, Murder on the Dancefloor will be published in 2023.
- Musical star Michael Ball’s debut novel The Empire, set in the theatre world of the 1920s, has been scooped up by Zaffre in a two-book deal.
- Canongate has acquired Son of Nobody, a retelling of the Trojan War by Yann Martel, Booker Prize-winning novelist of Life of Pi. Martel’s book will focus not on kings and nobles but on the story of Psoas of Midea, son of a goat herder who is drawn into the legendary conflict.
- A personal development journal by bestselling author Vex King and his wife beauty influencer Kaushal Modha has been acquired by Bluebird.
- The Yorkshire Vet Peter Wright has sold rights to his memoir The Tails and Tales of a Yorkshire Vet to Mardle Books.
- In its “biggest acquisition for years” Quercus has acquired the English-language rites for the next three instalments of the Dragon Tattoo series by Karin Smirnoff.
- Jay Blades, star of BBC’s The Repair Shop, has had an “inspirational and creative” DIY guide acquired by Bluebird.
- Faber has signed Black and Female, an essay collection from Commonwealth Prize winner and Booker shortlistee Tsitsi Dangarembga which explores the relationship between gender and race.
- The first cookbook from Eastenders star and TV presenter Joe Swash has been picked up by Pavilion – the as yet untitled book will publish in October 2022.
- HQ has acquired the world, all language rights to make-up artist and Channel 5’s resident beauty expert Hannah Martin’s new book Makeup.
- Blondie co-founder Chris Stein has sold his first memoir, Under A Rock, to Corsair, exploring the history of the band and the bond between Stein and leader singer Debbie Harry.
- TV producer Samuel Burr’s debut has been won by Orion Fiction in a “significant” six-figure deal after an eight-way auction. The first in the two-book deal, The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers will be published in 2024.
- Following the “genre-defining” VOX, HQ have snared the all-language rights for Christina Dalcher’s new thriller Vita, set in an alternate Virginia, where the death penalty is still legal, but a prosecutor may be killed if the executed turns out to be innocent.
- Fourth Estate has acquired two new books from Baillie Gifford Prize winner Craig Brown – Q: A Biography of Queen Elizabeth II and Haywire: The Best of Craig Brown.
SHARJAH MARKET FOCUS
This year’s Market Focus programme saw Sharjah host a programme of events which showcased the region’s literature and culture, beginning with an Opening Ceremony at the Sharjah Pavilion featuring Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair; Stephen Lotinga, CE of the Publishers Association; Keith Nichol, Head of Cultural Diplomacy, DCMS; H.E. Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Sharjah; H.E. Sheikha Bodour Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, IPA President; and a powerful poetry performance by Market Focus Author of the Day Afra Atiq. Afra Atiq also appeared in conversation to discuss her poetry and her work championing female writers in the region, while Dubai Abulhoul, author of the first Emirati fantasy novel in English, shared her thoughts on preserving folktales. Other Emirati authors appearing as part of the Sharjah Market Focus line up included novelist Dr Abdulaziz AlMusallam, popular Arabic poet Khalid AlBudoor and short story writer H.E. Mohammad Al-Murr.
SPOTLIGHT ON CATALAN
In addition to the Market Focus programme for Sharjah, LBF 2022 saw the Spotlight on Catalan showcase the very best authors, poets and creatives from the region. Catalan writers featured in the programme included: Marta Orriols, who appeared in conversation with novelist Max Porter; Irene Sola, who spoke with Daisy Johnson about myth in fiction; Prof. Josep Maria Esquirol, discussing concepts of time in writing; Yara Rodrigues Fowler on gender and identity; and Sergi Pàmies on his approach to short story writing.
NIELSEN REVEALS PANDEMIC READING TRENDS
Nielsen BookData shared their research on reading trends during the pandemic, revealing that fiction, and cosy crime in particular, is on the rise, while manga is more popular than ever. TikTok trends have also impacted backlist title sales, with sales of books over two years old accounting for a third of all sales in 2021. Print books have experienced a resurgence, as sales reached a record high of £1.82bn, with 213 million books being purchased in 2021.
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: writing for audio, making a living from a writing career, the influence of TikTok on publishing and book sales, digital publishing alternatives, the power of crime fiction, and advice from bestselling and award-winning authors.