The Catalan Publishing Sector at The London Book Fair 2021

The Catalan Publishing Sector at The London Book Fair 2021
  • The London Book Fair, one of the most prestigious book fairs on the international publishing scene, is being held this year in virtual format, from 21 June to 1 July.
  • The Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies and the Institut Ramon Llull are organising various activities at the fair as part of the Ministry of Culture’s actions to promote Catalan literature and internationalisation of the publishing sector.
  • Through its internationalisation brand, Catalan Arts, the ICEC will be presenting the guide Catalan Publishing Houses Directory and taking part in the round table on the publishing ecosystem in Catalonia.

The London Book Fair, one of the most prestigious book fairs on the international scene, is being held exceptionally online this year, from 21 June to 1 July.

The joint actions that the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC) and the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) are presenting at the British fair form a broad cultural and professional programme on literature and the Catalan publishing sector, and will serve as a warm-up for Catalan Culture Spotlight, which will take place in London as part of the fair in 2022. The Spotlight programme facilitates collaboration between selected publishing markets and The London Book Fair to promote their literature among the international professionals attending, with an emphasis on the English-speaking world. For Catalonia, organising it in 2022 is another step in the internationalisation of the publishing sector and in the positioning of Catalan culture and language in world publishing markets.

As part of the cultural programme for this 2021 edition, the panel A world to be discovered: Catalan Publishing Business today, will take place on Tuesday, 22 June at 3.45 pm with the participation of Maria Basora, director of the ICEC Markets Area; Izaskun Arretxe, director of the Literature Area of the IRL and Gonçal López-Pampló, literary director of the Bromera group and member of the board of directors of the Association of Catalan Language Publishers, with BBC World Service journalist Eva Ontiveros as moderator.

The round table will be in English and is open to book industry professionals who have registered prior to the fair, in free or paid mode.

This seminar aims to present the main characteristics of the Catalan publishing industry and highlight its creative and economic potential, in order to facilitate the establishment or strengthening of ties with international publishers. The main institutional tools to support the translation of works of Catalan literature into other languages will also be presented.

This session will also feature the new publication Catalan Publishers, which the ICEC has published under its brand Catalan Arts Books to facilitate the internationalisation of the Catalan publishing sector. The guide aims to be a useful tool for Catalan and foreign professionals, and therefore collects, among other content, data from Catalan publishers organised by sector.

Continuing with the cultural programme, on June 29 and 30 respectively, the Institut Ramon Llull has organised two meetings. The first, on June 29 at 4.00 pm, is a debate on short stories, which will highlight the publication in recent years of several collections of short stories in English; the next day, June 30 at 9.00 am, is a conversation about the process of literary translation with professionals from both countries.

In parallel, during the days of the fair there will be a pilot programme of professional meetings between Catalan publishers and literary agencies, and British and American publishers (match-making).

Also as part of the professional programme, the Institut Ramon Llull and ICEC teams will hold meetings with various agents in the literary and publishing sector to promote the relationship between Catalan and international industries and to publicise, among others, new titles and classics of Catalan literature and the different forms of support available to publishers to translate and promote works or gain access to global markets. This is a first small-scale programme, focused on narrative works, which aims to prepare the main aspects of the professional programme for the 2022 edition.

2022: Catalan Culture Spotlight at The London Book Fair

So for Catalan Culture Spotlight 2022, the Institut Ramon Llull and the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies will organise a programme of meetings between Catalan publishers and agencies and British and American publishers along four different lines: narrative, non-fiction, children’s and young adult books, and illustration. The aim of the meetings between Catalan publishers and agents and English-language publishers is to promote the sale of translation rights to works of Catalan literature. The London Book Fair is considered the most important spring book event in the international publishing calendar. The fair is exclusively professional and with a strong commercial character, specialised in the sale of rights and distribution of content through several channels: printed, audio, TV, film and/or digital.

The London Book Fair is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and take advantage of the innovations that are shaping the publishing world of the future. From this perspective, the organisation of a Catalan Spotlight in 2022 can be a great opportunity for a greater presence of Catalan publishing and publishing houses in the global and, in particular, English-language book markets.

The role of the ICEC and the IRL

The participation of Catalan publishers and literary agents at the fair forms part of the activities implemented by the Ministry of Culture to promote Catalan literature and the internationalisation of those working in the field. In fact, the Ministry of Culture, through the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies and its internationalisation brand Catalan Arts-Books, regularly attends major professional publishing industry events like Germany’s Frankfurter Buchmesse, the Guadalajara International Book Fair (Mexico), the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (Italy) and the London Book Fair (United Kingdom).

For its part, the Institut Ramon Llull has contributed to the increase in the translation of works through subsidies for translation, promotion, illustrated books, presence at book fairs, support for translators and cooperation with Catalan publishers and literary agencies. It also works to create a network of contacts in the international publishing industry (editors, translators, literary agents, cultural institutions, fairs and festivals) with the aim of promoting the works of Catalan authors abroad.

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