Stellar Headliners for LBF’s Main Stage Announced

L-R: Michael Sheen; Dr Julie Smith © Sarah Brick; Steven Bartlett © Olivia Spencer


The London Book Fair (LBF) is delighted to announce that bestselling author and TikTok sensation Dr Julie Smith; entrepreneur, author and host of the UK’s no.1 podcast ‘The Diary of a CEO’ Steven Bartlett; and actor and philanthropist Michael Sheen will be joining the Main Stage line-up at this year’s Fair.

Dr Julie Smith will open the proceedings on Day 2, with a pivotal “in conversation” event on the Main Stage on Wednesday 13th March, 9.45 – 10.15, where she’ll be addressing the state of mental health for authors and the creative sector, as well as her meteoric rise on TikTok, where she has over 4.7 million followers.

Prior to becoming an author and content creator, Dr Julie Smith ran her own private practice as a clinical psychologist for almost a decade, and began sharing her digestible, informative videos on social media in 2019. Her often-viral videos cover a variety of mental health topics from anxiety and depression to confidence. Her debut book Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? was the bestselling non-fiction book of 2022 and she is currently writing her second book.

The Main Stage programme on Day 2 will continue with a special session at 10.30 – 11.00 with renowned entrepreneur, investor, podcaster and bestselling author Steven Bartlett, who will discuss his chart-topping book The Diary of a CEO, his journey from podcaster to published author, his lessons in leadership business and  marketing, plus  his current third web project and the potential applications of this in the book industry.

Steven Bartlett is an entrepreneur, speaker, investor, author, and the host of the chart-topping podcast ‘The Diary of a CEO’ – an unfiltered journey into the remarkable stories and untold dimensions of the world’s most influential people, experts, and thinkers. Steven joined the BBC’s hit TV show Dragon’s Den from Series 19 as the youngest ever Dragon in the show’s history. Steven co-founded Flight Story – a marketing and communications company that works with leading brands. Steven also co-founded thirdweb – a software platform backed by Shopify and Coinbase that makes it easy to build web3 applications. In January 2023, Steven launched his own fund, Flight Fund, to accelerate the next generation of European unicorns. Steven’s most recent book The Diary of a CEO: The 33 Laws of Business & Life was the fastest selling personal development book since records began. It has sold over 500k copies globally across format within the first few months of publication, with rights deals in 34 territories.

Meanwhile, Michael Sheen will join an in-conversation panel on the Main Stage on Thursday 14th March, 13.30 – 14.15, alongside Audible Head of UK Tracey Markham, Head of Writer Partnerships at Substack Farrah Storr, and novelist Sunjeev Sahota. The session will focus on how diversity and inclusion (D&I) are delivered within publishing, the wider creative industries, and what constitutes good practice in this area.

Michael Sheen is the co-founder of A Writing Chance, alongside the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and New Writing North. The programme aims to open access to the writing industries for new and aspiring writers from working-class and lower-income backgrounds and for those who face barriers due to intersecting challenges, including but not limited to ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender identity, age and religious beliefs.

Dr Julie Smith, Author, Content Creator and Clinical Psychologist said: “I am looking forward to being back at The London Book Fair. It’s such a brilliant event, where you can find yourself surrounded by fellow authors, keen readers and publishers from across the world, all united by the love for the written word. I am delighted to be returning as a keynote speaker on the Main Stage. My journey as an author has been so exciting and I can’t wait to share it with LBF audiences, while highlighting the vital importance of mental health for each and every one of us.”

Steven Bartlett, Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur said: “From speaking with so many incredible authors on my podcast, it’s clear to me the power of books to define culture, create conversation and encourage connection. Events like The London Book Fair help do this on a global scale, I’m hugely grateful to everyone who found an international home for my book The Diary of a CEO, which has sold in an incredible 34 territories! Something I’ve learned through my platform is the ways in which we should be incredibly reactive to new developments in tech and talent acquisition, and I can’t wait to share my publishing vision and insight with LBF attendees.”

Michael Sheen, Actor and Philanthropist, Founder of A Writing Chance, said: “When we first launched A Writing Chance, I was bowled over by the quality of work that was submitted and by the writers that we selected for the programme. It’s clear to me that we need to continue to work hard to enable access for talented people into the creative industries and to understand and remove the real barriers that prevent this. It’s great to be able to bring this conversation to The London Book Fair as publishers are so key to spreading great ideas and to enabling real change in society.” 

Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “Following some already huge announcements for the Main Stage, including keynotes from Jonathan Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster, and the SheEOs in Publishing panel led by Bodour Al Qasimi featuring Judith Curr and Ameena Sayid, we are beyond excited to add three leading stars from across the book and screen community. I cannot wait to hear Dr Julie Smith, Steven Bartlett and Michael Sheen share their unique and fascinating insights into extremely pressing topics, whether it’s mental health for authors, how marketers can sell more books or how we can grow accessibility to the industry. That we have these fantastic Main Stage speakers at this year’s Fair is a testament to the significance of LBF and how it is reflecting key topics across the full breadth of publishing and aligned creative content industries.”


Further details about The London Book Fair line-up will be revealed in the run up to the Fair and will be available at this page.


The London Book Fair (LBF) is the world’s largest spring book trade and publishing event, and will return to its home at Olympia London from 12 – 14 March 2024. Visitor registration is now open, at this link.