The London Book Fair 2019 opens with sessions on Freedom to Publish, Brexit and the challenges of the digital age
The London Book Fair opened its doors to publishing professionals, top authors and aspiring writers from over 130 countries today as the 48th Fair commenced.
Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “This has been a wonderful start to The London Book Fair, featuring some inspiring writers as well as fascinating sessions covering the key topics facing the publishing industry.”
Top Left to Bottom Right: The fair kicks off at Olympia Centre; Illustrator of the Fair David McKee celebrates 30 years of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant; Protestors march against the Gilead regime as part of Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments”; Market Focus Indonesia has its opening ceremony
Highlights from Day One of the Fair:
Bestselling author Karin Slaughter opened the pop-up Club at The Ivy before joining German crime writer Simone Buccholz for a talk on the Fireside Chats @ The Podcast Theatre, new to The London Book Fair this year.
Author of novels including Atonement and On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan, was interviewed for the Vintage Books podcast, hosted by Trailblazer Award winner Leena Normington.
Illustrator of the Fair, David McKee, whose iconic children’s book Elmer the Patchwork Elephant turns 30 this year, was in conversation with Ren Renwick from the Association of Illustrators. He also unveiled the Elmer design for the upcoming Children’s Bag as part of the Books are My Bag campaign.
The English PEN Literary Salon hosted a conversation with award-winning writer and Author of the Day Caryl Phillips, whose celebrated work, including Crossing the River and A Distant Shore, covers themes of identity, emigration and the African diaspora. Phillips was interviewed for the Vintage Books podcast on the Fireside Chats @ The Podcast Theatre, and also joined The Times’ Katherine Faulkner, Helen Farrand Carrapico, and Aston University’s James Meek for a panel on the impact of Brexit on the literary field.
Ahead of the release of The Testaments, sequel to Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, protestors took to the Fair armed with placards campaigning against the Gilead regime. In a comment, Margaret Atwood said, ‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’
After opening their pavilion, Market Focus Indonesia held a session on the Many Identities of Indonesia in the afternoon, discussing the changing identities of modern Indonesia.
The second Freedom to Publish seminar took place in the morning, tackling key issues facing the publishing industry, including the challenge of fake news, as well as freedom of speech.
Esteemed novelist Deborah Moggach, whose book These Foolish Things inspired the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, was interviewed by author and podcaster Daisy Buchanan for her podcast You’re Booked.
As part of the International Literature Showcase, novelist and women’s rights activist Elif Shafak, revealed her selection of some of the best female writers working in the UK today.
In his session ‘Rebuilding the Library IS Destroyed’, Dr Alaa Hamdon of the University of Mosul discussed how he founded Mosul Book Bridge Campaign, dedicated to rebuilding the collection destroyed by
Sofia Fenichell, founder and CEO of EdTech start up Mrs Wordsmith gave her thoughts on how publishing needs to adapt to children growing up in a digital age.
The day wraps up with the International Excellence Awards, held in partnership with The Publishers Association. The awards are a celebration of publishing and related activities outside the UK. The awards ceremony will also include the presentation of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
For media interview requests and photos from the Fair, please contact
Edwina Boyd-Gibbins or Ben McCluskey at Midas PR
T: 020 7361 7860