Mayor of London Sadiq Khan & Kate Mosse to be Keynote Speakers at LBF 2023; Ukraine to be Spotlight Country

man behind london scenery
  • Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, to appear in conversation with Kwame Kwei-Armah
  • Kate Mosse will also take part, in conversation with Louise Minchin
  • A series of events will celebrate Ukraine’s role as Guest Spotlight
  • Registration is open


Olympia, London | 18-20th April 2023


The London Book Fair (LBF) has today revealed final highlights from its events programme.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, will be in conversation with Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah on Wednesday 19th April. They will discuss London’s role as a hub for the UK’s creative economy; climate change and the role of cities in supporting a more sustainable future; what the publishing industry can learn from other industries in supporting sustainability and showcasing best practice; and the Mayor’s own experience and how this has shaped his upcoming book Breathe: Tackling the Climate Emergency (25  May, Hutchinson Heinemann).


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan commented: “I’m delighted to attend this year’s London Book Fair and engage with an industry that is so important to London’s cultural vibrancy and the UK’s creative economy. Cities like London are leading from the front in taking action to tackle the climate emergency – and I look forward to discussing how we can all play a part in building a greener future.”

Kate Mosse, No. 1 international bestselling novelist, non-fiction writer and playwright, will appear in the Keynote session on Thursday 20th April, in conversation with Louise Minchin. Straight off the back of her one-woman tour Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World, Kate will discuss her newly announced upcoming book The Ghost Ship; how the Women’s Prize for Fiction has evolved and is helping unearth new voices; her hopes for the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction; and the work that still needs to be done to champion women’s voices in the industry, both in the UK and abroad.

Kate Mosse said: “The London Book Fair is one of the highlights of my book year – I’ve been coming for as long as I can remember, first as a publisher,  then when we launched the Women’s Prize, next as a new author meeting my foreign language publishers for the first time, and since then to celebrate publication and to listen to the debates and discussions.  The atmosphere, the buzz, the sense of joy in books and publishing opportunities, it remains one of the most exciting and vibrant book fairs in the world, so I’m delighted to be one of the 2023 keynote speakers.  It’s great to be back!”

LBF previously announced that Brian Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer, HarperCollins Publishers, would be appearing as the Keynote speaker on Tuesday 18th April.


The seminar programme will also feature a series of events as part of the Guest Spotlight on Ukraine. Created in partnership with the Ukrainian Book Institute, English PEN, the Publishers Association (PA), International Publishers Association (IPA) and the British Council, these conversations will consider 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. There will also be a stand showcasing the rich variety of contemporary Ukrainian publishing located at stand number 2B01.

Oleksandra Koval, Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute, commented: “We are grateful to the organizers of the London Book Fair for inviting us as a Guest Spotlight and helping us with our stand. Thanks to the cooperation with the Embassy of Ukraine in London, the London Book Fair, the British Council, the Ukrainian Institute, (some seasons) English PEN, PEN Ukraine, the Ukrainian Institute in London, the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter and Culture Ambassadors, Ukrainian authors will be able to tell their story at one of the most important cultural venues – the LBF. Since the beginning of the war, our reality has changed: we have witnessed what social media hides by marking photos as “sensitive content”. Our truth is not aimed at impressing, but at testifying to the crimes that Russians commit every day against Ukrainians and Ukrainian culture. We have learned to move on, to write and publish books, but our experience is going to stay with us forever. We show this duality with the project by Daria Bila and Sofia Hupalovska at our booth: new books from Ukraine and furniture from Ukrainian libraries destroyed by Russian shelling. We covered the war-torn library furniture and books with white paint. We are covering up the reality so that we can move on with our lives, but it is still visible and speaks through new Ukrainian books. Among the authors of our programme who will speak about Ukraine are 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. The truth must be told – the truth about the war, writing during the war, and what art will look like after it when Ukraine overcomes the colonizing pressure of Russia.”

Karine Pansa, IPA President, said: “At a recent IPA event on the freedom to publish situation in Ukraine, all of our Ukrainian speakers were clear. You can support us by continuing to work with us as peers, by licensing our books, by keeping us part of the international book sector. It is great to see London Book Fair doing that and providing Ukrainian publishers with the means to keep working with their international colleagues despite the atrocities of war they face at home.”

Rachel Stevens, The British Council, commented: “British Council is delighted to be supporting Ukraine as Guest Spotlight at the Book Fair in conjunction with the UK/Ukraine Season of culture. In this past year, the season has provided a platform for Ukrainian creatives and enabled us to understand better the changing needs and priorities of the Ukrainian cultural sector, so that we may continue to strengthen the ties between our countries to collaborate and do business together for years to come. It is of vital importance now that we continue to support independent critical discourse in Ukraine and hear from the plurality of voices within the cultural sector. As international strategic partner to the London Book Fair, the British Council is committed to providing opportunities for UK publishers and their international counterparts to develop their networks and understanding of new markets.”

Dan Conway, The Publishers Association, added: “We hugely welcome the Guest Spotlight focus on Ukraine at The London Book Fair this year, it is really powerful to see such important topics given prominent spots on the week’s agenda. Publishing globally plays a key role in ensuring a variety of voices and stories are heard and it is more important than ever that Ukrainian publishers and speakers are given platforms to tell their story at this time. The Mayor of London’s presence is also a great vote of support from City Hall in recognising the role of the Book Fair and publishing to the capital.”

Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome such distinguished guests to take part in our agenda-setting seminar programme this year. The publishing industry makes a crucial contribution to the UK’s arts industry, and we look forward to hearing Mayor Khan’s insights into this and how the book world can contribute to the sustainability agenda. Kate Mosse is one of the UK’s most respected writers and industry voices, and it will be fascinating to hear about her latest projects and her vision for championing women’s voices in literature in the UK and around the world.

We are honoured to welcome Ukraine as our Guest Spotlight and are delighted to host Ukrainian publishers and number of Ukrainian speakers both in person and virtually, as they explore the country’s rich literary culture and how the war is shaping literary output and conversations. With hundreds of speakers and dozens of topics, LBF’s seminar programme promises to offer a plethora of thought-provoking and insightful discussions about every facet of the industry.”

Daniel Gorman, Director of English PEN, said: “We continue our focus on Ukrainian writers and writing, which began at last year’s London Book Fair, in partnership with PEN Ukraine and the British Council. Our session with Tetyana Teren, Victoria Amelina and Kateryna Babkina will consider the future of Ukrainian literature and highlight how writing can become a form of resistance. We are delighted to have many other esteemed, forward-thinking writers, publishers and activists joining them throughout the fair to discuss the steadfast importance of freedom of expression and international literature.”


Highlights of the Ukraine programme include:

Tuesday 18th April

09.30 – 09.45 Guest Spotlight welcome: Ukraine Opening Ceremony

Focus Theatre

Press briefing to follow

Speakers: Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukrainian Cultural Minister; Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair; representatives from the PA and British Council


13.30 – 14.30 Art after war: the future of Ukrainian literature

English PEN Literary Salon

Ukraine’s rich cultural and literary heritage and infrastructure is under extreme threat, and yet its artists, writers and creatives continue to create and develop work. But how does a country build a literary future during times of war? And how does such national trauma shape the art that is produced? Journalist Tetyana Teren (Executive Director of PEN Ukraine) and authors Victoria Amelina and Kateryna Babkina will discuss how Ukraine’s literary legacy will evolve, how a country reclaims its intellectual and cultural identity when it’s under attack, and how writing can be a form of resistance. The discussion will be hosted by Sofia Cheliak, Ukrainian journalist and culture manager.


This event is delivered by English PEN in partnership with PEN Ukraine and with support from the British Council.


Speakers: Victoria Amelina, Kateryna Babkina, Tetyana Teren

Moderator: Sofia Cheliak


Wednesday 19th April

15.30 – 16.45 You cannot mute the truth як працює український видавничий ринок під час війни

English PEN Literary Salon

This session will explore why books from Ukraine and about Ukraine are an element of the fight in the information war, and why it’s important to translate Ukrainian books for the victory of democratic forces.

Speakers: Olesia Khromechuk, Ukrainian publisher, British publishers – from BR, UBI Moderator: Olha Mukha


Thursday 20th April

09.30 – 10.15 Prove Who you Are: The Face of Ukrainian Culture Today

English PEN Literary Salon

When observing the international community’s perception of Russia’s war in Ukraine, women’s voices continue to be only barely audible in the hierarchy of voices considered to be credible. How women’s voices are perceived depends on their social and ethnic backgrounds, but it’s always below that of influential, white male voices. Similarly, nations that don’t correspond to the patriarchal Western ideal are dismissed as minor and insignificant even if, by size, they might be the largest in their region. Does size only matter if it’s matched by economic wealth and political power? This session will include a 5 minute long recorded video presentation.

Speakers: Olesia Khromechuk, Iaryna Chorhohus (online), British writer, Orysia Lutsevych

Moderator: Olha Tokariuk


13.15 – 14.00: Writers on the frontline: Stories from Ukraine

English PEN Literary Salon

This event will explore how the war changed Ukrainian literature, how the full-scale invasion affects the lives of Ukrainian writers and what foreign writers choose to focus on when they write about the war.

Speakers: Luke Harding, David Patrikarakos, Victoria Amelina, Oleksandr Mykhed (online)

Moderator: Charlotte Higgins


The wide-ranging seminar programme includes a huge range of events and speakers. Topics will cover issues affecting every aspect of the book industry, from sustainability to AI, from representation and inclusivity to global trends and opportunities. Theatres returning to LBF this year include Author HQ, the English PEN Literary Salon, Literary Translation Centre, Tech Theatre, Focus Theatre and Olympia Theatre. These will be joined by the Sustainability Hub – a new theatre at this year’s Fair featuring a mixture of practical workshops, case studies, publisher showcases and presentations from organisations such as the BA, the PA, the UN and IPA.


Highlights from these theatres include:

Tuesday 18th April

10.45 – 11.30: Keynote: Nguyn Phan Quế Mai in Conversation with Sofia Rehman

English PEN Literary Salon

International bestselling author and journalist Nguyn Phan Quế Mai (The Mountains Sing) joins English PEN to discuss her new book, Dust Child (Oneworld), exploring identity, language and the legacy of war. In conversation with scholar, writer and editor Sofia Rehman, she will discuss her commitment to centring marginalised experiences of war, decolonising literature, handling sensitive issues such as sexual exploitation, PTSD and racism, and the research that went into developing Dust Child as a story.

Speaker: Author Nguyn Phan Quế Mai Nguyn

Moderator: Sofia Rehman


11.05 – 11.50: Literary magazines: Current Reality and Future Prospects

Literary Translation Centre

The UK is home to some great literary magazines and online journals. Devoted to publish book reviews, most of the times, but also publishing new work from writers from different genres – mainly fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. However, what is the current situation of literary journals, in the UK and worldwide? Are they able to cope with the crisis of readership and the free content available in the internet? How are they dealing with these serious challenges?

Speakers: Sigrid Rausing, Granta (UK); Lee Yew Leong, Asymptote (Taiwan); Susan Harris, Words Without Borders (US)

Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith, journalist, Director of the literary magazine The Riveter and Director of European Literature Network (ELN)


11.00 – 11.30: 2023 International Booker Prize Shortlist Announcement

Join us for the announcement of the shortlist for The International Booker Prize 2023, revealed by Chair of Judges and novelist Leïla Slimani.

Speakers: Leïla Slimani, Novelist and Chair of Judges, International Booker Prize


11.45 –12.15: Building Vital Skills for Early Learning Success: Harnessing the Power of Augmented Reality

Tech Theatre

How can we turn the challenges of screen time into unique opportunities for children’s publishing? Hear from Benny Arbel, CEO of Inception XR the leading EdTech software house, and Helen Freeman, Director of Oxford Childrens, to uncover the latest trends in immersive media and what that means for the publishing industry. Tapping into insights from the Oxford Children’s Corpus – the largest children’s English language database in the world – find out more about the evolution of children’s language and how that can be harnessed to develop engaging immersive reading and education experiences.

Speakers: Helen Freeman, Director, Early Childhood & Home Education, Oxford University Press; Benny Arbel, CEO, Inception XR


Wednesday 19th April

10.15 – 10.45: Reaching a TikTok Generation: How New Formats and Technology Can Be Used for Good

Tech Theatre

Technological innovation is constantly shifting our preconceptions of how content is consumed, making it instant, pervasive, and consequently potentially unfulfilling. As a result, books now have to contend with a range of new platforms which have revolutionised the way in which users create and consume content. In spite of this increasingly digitised consumer market, books continue to retain their allure as a means of refuge and escape for people of all ages. However, if the publishing industry is to continue to flourish, the way we perceive the written word must change.

Speaker: Sam Deacon, Head of Content Acquisition, RedCards


12.00 – 12.45: Leone Ross and Irenosen Okojie in Conversation

English PEN Literary Salon

Goldsmiths Prize-shortlisted author Leone Ross and Betty Trask award-winner Irenosen Okojie join English PEN to discuss their interest and work in speculative fiction. Following the publication of Glimpse (Peepal Tree), the first anthology of speculative fiction by Black British writers, editor Ross and contributor Okojie will explore speculative fiction’s relevance to freedom of expression, what a Black British tradition of the surreal could look like and how, now more than ever, embracing speculative fiction is a revolutionary act.

Speakers: Authors Leone Ross and Irenosen Okojie


15.25 – 16.10: Translation in Motion

Literary Translation Centre

This session will explore the ways in which we can increase the flow of translated literature through international mobility and professional development, with two projects used as case studies. Translation in Motion is a programme to boost translation flows between the Western Balkans and EU member states, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and led by RECIT, the European network of translation houses. Ulysses’ Shelter is a cooperation project co-funded by the European Union aiming to build a network of exchange literary residencies across Europe designed for emerging writers and literary translators.

Speakers: Vladimir Jankovski, Editor, Goten Publishing; Will Firth, Freelance Translator; Alexandra Büchler, Director, Literature Across Frontiers

Moderator: Yana Genova


Thursday 20th April

11.00 – 11.30: ChatGPT: What It Is and What It Means for Content Creators

Tech Theatre

What is ChatGPT, what opportunities and risks does this AI hold? This session will explore the basics of ChatGPT and some of the long-term ramifications for content, and book publishers and creators.

Speaker: Chris Singleton from Style Factory


13.15 – 14.00: Less Translated Literatures from Spain: Asturian, Basque, Galician

Literary Translation Centre

In Spain, a number of cultural diplomacy initiatives have started showcasing a more diverse literary heritage over the last few years, emphasising Spain’s multilingual character. Yet, languages other than Spanish (and to some extent Catalan) are almost non-existent in British publishers’ catalogues. Aiming to change this translation landscape, this seminar proposes to discuss what are the challenges and opportunities for the less translated languages of Spain with Galician author Xesús Fraga, literary translator from Asturian Robin Munby, publishing editor of Basque books Susie Wildsmith, and translation studies scholar Olga Castro.

Speakers: Olivia Hellewell; Xesús Fraga, Writer, journalist and translator, La Voz de Galicia; Robin Munby, Literary Translator; Susie Wild, Publishing Editor, Parthian Books

Moderator: Olga Castro, Associate Professor in Translation Studies, University of Warwick


15.00 – 17.00: Bookcareers.com Careers Clinic

Focus Theatre

Are you currently a job-seeking in the book industry? Would you like to have a quick chat with a Recruiter from a publisher, an industry specialist Recruitment Consultant or Career Advisor? In partnership with Bookcareers.com


Full details of all the events taking place at the Fair can be reached via this page.

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the largest spring book trade and publishing event in the world, and will take place at Olympia London, 18-20th April 2023. Visitor registration is open at this link.


To apply for a press pass for The London Book Fair, please visit:



For further information, please contact:

Anna Zanetti and Amelia Knight at Midas:

Anna.Zanetti@midaspr.co.uk / Amelia.Knight@midaspr.co.uk / +44 (0)20 7361 7860