The London Book Fair 2023 announces line-up for Author HQ and Writers’ Summit

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The London Book Fair  (LBF) is delighted to announce its Author HQ events programme and the Writers’ Summit conference line-up for 2023, two of the key highlights in the Fair’s programme, offering authors invaluable insights and practical tools from leading experts in the industry.

Taking place on Tuesday 18th to Thursday 20th April at Olympia, the line-up of Author HQ will feature best-selling authors Juno Dawson, Janice Hallett, Katy Brent, Elle McNicholl, alongside leading industry figures from Curtis Brown, Penguin Random House, Profile Books, Harper Voyager, Unbound, Hay Festival, Women’s Prize for Fiction, Society of Authors among others.

Designed to provide writers with an insight into the trends and talking points currently exciting the publishing industry, topics to be discussed at Author HQ include TikTok and social media, sensitivity reading and copyright, AI tools for writing and marketing books, children’s books, preparing for publication, writing and resilience, and more.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 19th April, Author HQ will host a special Illustrators Programme, featuring a business masterclass for illustrators, tips on how to get your illustrations published, the process behind a cover design and more, with speakers from Bloomsbury, Faber, Harper Collins, Association of Illustrators, Andersen Press, Klaus Flugge Prize.

Meanwhile, the Writers’ Summit one-day conference will be held on Wednesday 19th April at Kensington Town Hall. Aimed at equipping writers with practical tools and empowering them from the outset of their publishing journey to get their work noticed by agents, publishers and readers, the conference will feature expert tips, industry advice and author inspiration, as well as practical workshops.

With speakers including authors Laura Lee Dockrill, Harriet Evans, Rebecca Abrams, Joanne Limburg, Sacha Black, and experts from The National Centre for Writing in Norwich, The BKS Agency, New Writing North, Spread the Word, Alliance of Independent Authors among others – the day will include sessions with authors about their journey to publication, how to polish your book pitch, the value of agents, and the support available from literature development agencies.

The London Book Fair is pleased to offer a few bursary places to attend the Writers’ Summit, with the bursaries managed in collaboration with New Writing North, Centre for National Centre for Writing in Norwich and Spread the Word.

Juno Dawson, Author of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, said: “I’m excited and very honoured to be asked to speak at The London Book Fair. It’s a chance to talk not only about my career highs, but also represent the UK publishing industry to the whole wide world! No pressure!”

Laura Lee Dockrill, Author and Writers’ Summit Keynote Speaker, said: “It is an honour to be asked to speak at the London Book Fair. The atmosphere at the Fair is so alive and exciting, it’s wonderful to be able to share stories with others that also love storytelling as much as I do.”

Peggy Hughes, Executive Director, National Centre for Writing, said: “The business of writing can seem a mercurial enterprise when you’re first getting started, but writer development organisations like National Centre for Writing (NCW), New Writing North and Spread the Word can help plot a route map. In our session, new and emerging writers will find out more about the work we do and the opportunities available to them, from funding to residencies, talent development programmes, prizes and more. It’s always brilliant to meet new writers and hear how the work we do can support them to thrive, and I’m looking forward to it, and to comparing notes with my fellow panellists.”

Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “Without authors, there would be no book industry. We are delighted to welcome back aspiring, emerging, and seasoned authors to the Fair, for two of the key events in the publishing calendar. London Book Fair visitors will be able to gain invaluable insight into authors and illustrators, and their creative process at Author HQ across the three days of the fair, while attending the one-day conference Writers’ Summit will equip them with invaluable skills and knowledge on their journey to publication. The London Book Fair is thrilled to have so many brilliant authors and industry experts sharing their knowledge and experience in this year’s programme.”



Highlights from the Author HQ line-up, sponsored by Kindle Direct Publishing, Bookvault, and Kevin Anderson & Associates include:

Starting Your Publishing Journey with Kindle Direct Publishing: An author panel discussion featuring historical fiction and fantasy author Peter Gibbons, award-winning author, screenwriter and writer of comics JD Kirk and thriller and crime author Rachel McLean.

Making Your WIP Stand Out: Tips from the Industry Experts: An exclusive opportunity to hear from the creative writing experts on tips to make your work-in-progress stand out, with Anna Davis, Founder & Managing Director at Curtis Brown Creative, Alexia Casale, Author and Course Leader & Senior Lecturer for the MA Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, Magdalene Abraha, Publisher at Jacaranda, and Sarah May, Writer and Creative Writing Tutor at Faber Academy.

Keeping up with Social Media: Which Platforms are Best for Authors: Over the last few years Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook have each developed their own particular audiences when it comes to reaching book lovers. But what are the most effective ways to reach your readers as an author, and where does Mastodon fit in this landscape? Join Emma Petfield, Head of Digital Marketing at One More Chapter, social media influencer Jules Swain, Naomi Bacon, Founder & Director at Tandem Collective, and Ashley Baugh, Associate Director at Midas, to learn how to the most of social media in 2023.

The Big Indie Author Data Drop: How Much Do Self-Publishing Authors Earn: Melissa Addey, Campaigns Manager at the Alliance of Independent Authors, chairs the launch of the world’s first global survey of independent author income. Publishing analyst Thad McIlroy sets the findings in context and analyses the impact of indie authors on the publishing industry, while Dan Wood, COO of Draft2Digital, offers the perspective of one of the world’s largest book distributors.

How I Write: Best-selling authors Juno Dawson and Janice Hallett share a glimpse of their writing life, offering insight into how they wrote their best-known books in a session chaired by award-winning Commissioning Editor for Unbound Aliya Gulamani.

Partners, Not Censors: Sensitivity Reading and Cultural Accuracy Editing in the Publishing Process: A session about the importance of sensitivity reading with Hannah Gómez, Senior Editor of Cultural Accuracy Editorial Services at Kevin Anderson & Associates.

How to Get a Badass Deal: This session will cover traditional, hybrid and self-publishing contracts as well as appearance fees, discussing how to assess what kind of deal you are being offered and the merits of each. What are the negotiating tactics you can use to get a better deal? How can you protect your rights? Speakers include Johanna Clarke and Theo Jones from the Society of Authors and author Vaseem Khan.

Tech-powered Authors and the Future of Publishing: How books are written and produced, consumed and shared has changed rapidly in the last decade – and the next decade will bring even more exponential change. Chaired by Orna Ross, Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI), this session will address concerns around copyright, ethics, author empowerment, and the future of the book. Author and podcaster Joanna Penn will give recommendations for the best generative AI tools for writing and marketing books, while Ethan Ellenberg, President of the NYC-based Ethan Ellenberg Agency, will offer the literary agent’s perspective.

Building Your Publishing Career with Kindle Direct Publishing: Author panel discussion featuring award-winning author, screenwriter and writer of comics JD Kirk, best-selling lesbian romance author Clare Lydon and bestselling author of the DCI Ryan series of romantic suspense thrillers LJ Ross.

Preparing for Publication: A session with expert advice on how to prepare for the publication of your next book, with Lemara Lindsay-Prince, Senior Commissioning Editor at #MerkyBooks, Book Marketing Consultant Fergus Edmondson, and award-winning publicist and author Georgina Moore, chaired by author Katy Brent.

Going Wide to Maximize Book Sales and Reach: Bookvault will explain the ins and outs of direct selling, and how you can best implement a direct sales strategy with your titles. This talk will feature a guest appearance from self-author and expert on all things direct sales Joanna Penn, Alex Smith, Technical Sales & Developer at Bookvault, Luca Melero, Marketing Executive at Bookvault, and Ian Hooper, Executive Director at Leschenault Press.

Expanding Your Readership with Kindle Direct Publishing: Author panel discussion featuring best-selling author of the John Milton, Beatrix Rose and Soho Noir series Mark Dawson, award winning novelist Hannah Lynn, and author of sixteen romantic comedies Nicola May.

Writing and Resilience: Navigating the Confidence and Mindset Challenges of Being a Writer: Whether you are a full-time or part-time writer, there are many different challenges you might face on your writing journey – from tackling procrastination, dealing with rejection, or needing a boost for low confidence and productivity, this panel of experts will share their best tricks and tips to help you be the best writer you can be. Join authors Katie Khan and Luan Goldie and mindset coach Kelly Weekes for an engaging discussion around the topic. Chaired by Nicola Solomon, CEO of the Society of Authors.

Childrens Spotlight: How To Get Noticed in a Crowded Market: Young Adult continues to be one of the most popular genres of commercial fiction, with a plethora of titles released each year. In this panel, YA authors Elle McNicholl and Eve Wersocki Morris, also Senior Publicity Manager at Simon & Schuster Children’s Books, will discuss innovative ways to get noticed in a crowded market with Carla Hutchinson, Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, and Joel Rochester, with the session chaired by Caroline Carpenter.

New Picture Book Illustration in the Spotlight: Children’s picture books are a global multi-million-pound business. The Klaus Flugge Prize, set up in honour of influential publisher Klaus Flugge of Andersen Press, celebrates new picture book talent and this special session will examine global trends in picture book illustration, with Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University, Julia Eccleshare, Chair of Judges at Klaus Flugge Prize and Children’s Director at Hay Festival, and Ness Wood, award-winning picture book, fiction designer and art director.



Highlights from the Illustrators Afternoon programme, as part of Author HQ, include:

The Association of Illustrators Mini Business Masterclass: Join Sarah Morris, Membership Manager at the Association of Illustrators (AOI), who will cover copyright, contracts, rights, advances, royalties and important clauses to watch out for in a 30-minute session, with 15 mins Q&A.

Getting your Illustrations Published: A panel discussion from the experts in the field, featuring Strawberrie Donnelly, Art Director at Bloomsbury, Pete Adlington, Art Director at Faber, Holly McDonald, Art Director at Harper Collins, and chaired by Rachel Hill, CEO of the Association of Illustrators. They will discuss how they find great new talent as well as nurturing relationships with artists, including working processes, contracts and negotiation, trends in the industry and more.

NOW That’s What I Call a Book Cover!: Nico Taylor, Literary Art Director at Little, Brown Book Group and Dialogue Books, and Jack Smyth, freelance book cover designer, will explore the role of the book cover in the ever-evolving publishing industry. Using real-life case studies and showcasing work across a variety of publishers, they’ll look at aspects of the cover design process: from briefing forms to the cover meeting, the pressures of designing a bestseller to what makes something ‘good’, and more.

In conversation with Mariajo Ilustrajo: The UK-based award-winning Spanish illustrator Mariajo Ilustrajo will join Sarah Morris, AOI Membership Manager, for an ‘in conversation’ panel about her work.

In addition, The London Book Fair Illustrator of the Fair Dapo Adeola will be seen as part of the Illustrators Afternoon in addition to his ‘in conversation’ panel with Kelechi Okafor on the Main Stage, and his illustrations will be featured on the Illustrators’ Gallery.



Highlights from the Writers’ Summit programme include:

Opening Keynote Address: The Journey of Becoming a Singular Talent: Author, scriptwriter and poet, Laura Lee Dockrill will speak about finding your way in the literary industry whilst living with imposter syndrome. As well as sharing her path into writing, how writing saved her life, and new upcoming projects.

How Writers Can Avoid the Bear Traps – Copyright, Privacy and Communication: Join Society of Authors Chief Executive, Nicola Solomon in conversation with author Harriet Evans.

Workshops: Do I Need an Agent to be Successful & Pitching to Agents: In an engaging two-part workshop, James Spackman, Literary Agent at The BKS Agency, will help you identify your literary goals, challenge you to come up with a two-sentence pitch, and get the chance to have live feedback on your pitch, to improve your submission.

How Literature Development Agencies Can help Writers: This session aims to bring together bespoke initiatives for new and emerging writers run by different regional agencies to support talented writers from all backgrounds and achieve their creative ambitions. Featuring Peggy Hughes, Executive Director at The National Centre for Writing in Norwich, Will Mackie, Senior Programme Manager and Programme Leader at New Writing North, and Bobby Nayyar, Programme Manager at Spread the Word.

Rosemary’s House interview with Rebecca Abrams and Joanne Limburg: Building a Cross-genre Career: Chaired by Angelica Rose Toumbas, Founder of the writing residency programme Rosemary’s House, this session will see writers Rebecca Abrams and Joanne Limburg share their experiences as influential contributors to nonfiction, journalism, poetry, historical fiction, and memoir.

How to Get Published: A conversation with authors, agents, and publishers about creating #1 bestsellers and top tips to showcase your writing to get published. Speakers include Daphne Tonge, Owner and Director of Illumicrate; Preethi Nair, author and Managing Director of Kiss The Frog Productions;  Kevin Anderson, CEO and Editor in Chief of Kevin Anderson & Associates and Claire Shanahan, Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Going Indie: In Conversation with Self-publishing Experts: In this session, self-publishing experts Sacha Black, Young Adult fantasy writer and writing facilitator, Dan Wood, COO of Draft2Digital, and Orna Ross, novelist, poet and Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, will explore what it means to a writer to have the full creative freedom and commercial control of self-publishing. A series of rapid-fire tips on getting started and scaling up will be followed by a Q&A.

Hay Festival and its Journey on Supporting Emerging Writers: This session will unlock powerful advice and inspiration from The Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award winners for 2023 Ayanna Lloyd Banwo and Jarred McGinnis, including advice to overcome challenges and embrace new opportunities in the joy of developing a creative work, how to develop an international career and how Hay Festival supports new writers.

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.

For further information about London Book Fair’s Author HQ and Writers’ Summit programmes, please visit the dedicated pages on the London Book Fair website.