The London Book Fair Announces Two Charities of the Year for 2024, Plus Seminar Highlights

The London Book Fair Announces Two Charities of the Year for 2024, Plus Seminar Highlights

London, Wednesday 17 January 2024. The London Book Fair (LBF) is delighted to announce that National Literacy Trust (NLT) and Book Aid International have been selected as the two Charities of the Year for the 2024 edition, among other highlights attendees can look forward to at this year’s Fair.

Further to a strong pool of candidates applying to be the LBF Charity of the Year, The London Book Fair has decided to appoint two charities this year, whose work focuses on bringing books and literacy to wider and younger audiences.

National Literacy Trust is a charity changing people’s life chances through the power of words – from first words, through school days to training, jobs and beyond. In 2022, the National Literacy Trust reached over 1.3 million children and young people through their work in schools and the community. With the support of their partners, including from the publishing industry, they were able to gift over 500,000 books and work with over 8,000 schools and reach over 9,000 parents. This year, the charity marks 30 years of changing life stories through the power of words, and will be celebrating this monumental milestone at the Fair.

Meanwhile, Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation charity, aiming to share the power of books and help create a more equal world. Celebrating its 70th year, it is supported by over 100 UK and international publishers. Every year it provides over one million brand-new books to communities where people would otherwise have few or no books and works with partners to support and establish safe reading spaces. In 2023, it provided 1,235,900 books to communities in 22 countries, giving over 13 million people the opportunity to read. Last year also saw the launch of its most ambitious campaign to date, Generation Reader – aiming to reach 10 million young people across sub-Saharan Africa with the books they need to realise their potential – and their dreams.

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be The London Book Fair’s Charity of the Year 2024. Both organisations are driven by an understanding of the power of books and reading, and the vital role they have in inspiring children and young people and supporting their lifelong literacy skills. We look forward to working together to showcase the incredible work of the National Literacy Trust, as we support and empower communities across the UK facing the biggest challenges with literacy. Together we can help people change their stories.”

Alison Tweed, Chief Executive of Book Aid International, said: “We are thrilled to be chosen as The London Book Fair’s joint Charity of the Year for 2024, alongside the National Literacy Trust. In this our 70th year we want to say a huge thank you to UK publishers, with whose support we are able to send over 1 million books every year to people who would otherwise have nothing to read.  Our new Generation Reader campaign aims to build on this work, giving 10 million young people across Africa access to life-transforming books. We look forward to meeting with publishers at London Book Fair this year, to explore how we can do even more to share the power of books around the world.”

Nigel Newton, Chief Executive of Bloomsbury Publishing and President of Book Aid International, said: “It is very good to see Book Aid International chosen as LBF’s joint Charity of the Year, in their 70th anniversary year. The work they do with the books donated by UK publishers, getting books to the remotest and most marginalised communities around the world, is transformational. I hope that even more publishers will partner with Book Aid International this year and invite anyone interested in doing so to come and meet them at this year’s London Book Fair. LBF represents a great opportunity for connections and it was at last year’s fair that I introduced Daniel Gorman of English PEN to Alison Tweed of Book Aid International which led to the supply of thousands of books to PEN Ukraine for their ‘Unbreakable Libraries’ project.”

The LBF Charity of the Year announcement comes as the Fair reveals other highlights from its Seminar Programme, including the Tech Theatre and the Literary Translation Centre, and unveils its new Audio Alley feature.

L-R: Elisa Shua Dusapin, Astrid Alben, Abdel-Wahab Khalifa, Ikenna Okeh

L-R: Alyna Wnukowsky, Javier Celaya, Pamela Aculey, Sophie O’Rouke

This year sees the launch of the inaugural Audio Alley, a dedicated space for audio exhibitors, which will feature solution and service providers within the audio sector. Located within the Technology & Publishing Solutions section of the Fair, the Audio Alley will enable visitors to learn more about this growing sector, and will be bolstered by a series of aligned events on the Tech Theatre, with conversations around audiobooks and audio publishing, taking place on Wednesday 13th March.

Topics to be discussed more widely at the Tech Theatre will include: how BookTok and reading trends; AI-powered strategies for authors and publishers; augmented reality picture books for neurodivergent individuals; the latest in academic publishing; using technology to effectively work remotely; and much more. A panel discussion around audio will also take place on the Main Stage around the future of audio in publishing, global trends and the impact of AI, with speakers from PRH Audio Publishing Group, Spotify, Storytel and the Audio Publishers Association.

Meanwhile, the Literacy Translation Centre will return with a programme packed full of high-profile speakers and organisations, hosting conversations around getting started as a literary translator; new Nielsen data on literature in translation; the rise of and ‘Generation TF’ (translated fiction); bilingual poets and self-translation; the world of translated non-fiction; AI and literary translation; and more.

Nathan Hull, Chief Strategy Officer at Beat Technology, said: “Beat Technology is thrilled to participate in the inaugural Audio Alley at London Book Fair. It’s essential that the audio format is rightfully represented at our industry’s’ main exhibitions. Ever supportive of all opportunities to support audiobooks at major trade events, it’s a pleasure to exhibit alongside heavyweight peers – and all gathered in one place. From producers to platforms; and solutions to software; from AI to in-car entertainment, everything is covered. I’d really encourage all levels of seniority in the publishing houses to come take a look and listen, and not think audio is solely the realm of the audio or sales teams, it’s an integral part of the publishing mainstream.”

Anne Bergman-Tahon, Director of the Federation of European Publishers, said: “Umberto Eco called it the language of Europe. Translation is vital to sharing cultures and understanding each other better. One of the roles of book fairs is to facilitate meetings between authors, translators and publishers and give them a chance to discover new literary talent. It is great that The London Book Fair provides a forum such as the Literary Translation Centre that makes this possible.”

Peggy Hughes, Chief Executive of The National Centre for Writing, said: “We’re delighted to be working together once again with our esteemed partners and friends in literary translation to co-curate the programme for this year’s Literary Translation Centre (LTC) at The London Book Fair. The LTC is a unique and vital platform for literary translators of all career stages to connect, to share knowledge and explore best practice in our sector, to celebrate the craft, interrogate the business, and understand the challenges and opportunities. This year’s programme invites conversation on themes such as data, AI, on bilingual translation, on poetry translation in post-colonial contexts, on relationship management within the translation journey, and much else, and as always we’re energised and galvanised by what these three days together will bring.”

Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “The submissions for Charity of the Year were extremely strong this year, and we simply could not separate the National Literacy Trust and Book Aid International, whose UK and international focuses respectively align so closely with LBF’s national and international outlook. We look forward to marking their respective anniversaries, while amplifying the crucial work that these two brilliant charities are doing to improve literacy and access to books domestically and around the world.

With less than nine weeks to go, preparations for London Book Fair are continuing apace. Our Seminar Programme is shaping up nicely, with the Tech Theatre and Literary Translation Centre promising to host fascinating conversations on the cutting-edge topics in the book industry – from BookTok and AI, to self-translation, and we’re delighted to give prominence to the audio industry, which has shown such strong growth and continues to show huge potential for expansion and innovation.”

Highlights from the Seminar Programme 2024 include:

Tuesday 12th March

11:05 – 11:50 What’s Behind the Numbers? Unpacking and Utilising the Data on Translated Literature and its Readers

Literary Translation Centre

Startling data and analysis compiled by Nielsen on behalf of the Booker Prize Foundation in 2023 revealed ‘Generation TF’ (‘translated fiction’) to be far younger than expected. This session will invite industry experts to reflect on what’s currently happening on the sales side of the translated literature landscape, and how this knowledge can benefit translators – especially in an era when publishers seem increasingly risk-averse.

12.00 – 12.30 Reducing Manuscript Rejection Rates in Journal Publishing: AI-Powered Strategies for Authors and Publishers

Tech Theatre

In this session, we explore how AI tools can improve manuscript acceptance rates in scholarly publishing. With acceptance rates ranging from 1% to 93.2%, our focus is on enhancing manuscript quality and adherence to publishing standards. Learn how AI assists authors in refining submissions and simplifies the publishing process, benefiting both authors and publishers by boosting quality and efficiency.

Speaker: Sureshkumar Parandhaman (AVP of Publishing Solutions and Pre-Sales, Integra)

13:15 – 14:00 Writing the Same Text Twice? Bilingual Poets and Self-translation

Literary Translation Centre

Self-translation is a way forward for bilingual authors writing in less translated languages who want to reach a wider audience. It may also give them a chance to approach a text from another cultural and linguistic perspective, rethink and reshape it. Poets bilingual in Basque, Dutch, English, Spanish and Welsh discuss the processes, challenges and rewards of having the capacity to write in two or more languages and translating one’s own work.

Speakers: Astrid Alben (poet, translator, editor, chair of Poetry London), Beatriz Chivite Ezkieta (poet, translator, cultural manager), Iestyn Tyne (poet, translator and musician)

Moderator: Alexandra Büchler (Literature Across Frontiers)

15:25 – 16:10 European Union Prize for Literature: Making Fiction Travel

Literary Translation Centre

Launched in 2009 to highlight writing by emerging authors from across Europe, the coveted prize makes outstanding literary titles visible to publishers, and contributes to the diversity of the European book market. With almost 1400 translations of the winning titles into 48 languages, the prize continues to open doors for the awarded authors and internationalise their careers. The session will present the prize, its evolution and impact on translation across European literary scenes over the years.

Speakers: Anne Bergman-Tahon (Director, Federation of European Publishers, EUPL consortium), Bianca Bellová (author, EUPL and EBRD Literature Prize winner), Richard Davies (Publisher, Parthian Books)

Moderator: Alexandra Büchler (Literature Across Frontiers)

15.45 – 16.15 Case Study: Exploring the Benefits of Augmented Reality Picture Books for Neurodivergent Individuals

Tech Theatre

During this session, you will hear how immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) can enrich the learning environment, spark curiosity and provide support for children – especially for learners with additional needs and disabilities. As AR technology continues to advance this ground-breaking fusion of print and digital media, it has the potential to help educators to diversify their lessons making it a fun and learning experience for all.

SpeakerPamela Aculey (author, Founder & CEO of Just Like Me Books & MIXD Reality)

Wednesday 13th March

09.30 – 10.00 Navigating the European Audio Industry: Evolution, Growth and Trends

Tech Theatre

We will analyse the first European Audio Industry Map to help publishing professionals navigate the intricate tapestry of the audio landscape. The presentation will not only shed light on the industry’s intricacies, but will also spotlight the exciting emerging cross-over and business opportunities between podcasts, audio series and audiobooks.

Speaker: Javier Celaya (Founder,

11.00 – 11.30 The Next Chapter: AI in Audiobooks

Tech Theatre

Join ElevenLabs, the leader in AI voice technology, to explore how cutting-edge AI speech synthesis is revolutionizing storytelling. Discover how this innovation is transforming the way stories are told and experienced, as well as creating novel opportunities for publishers, platforms, and authors.

Speaker: Hugo Rayne (ElevenLabs)

12:10 – 12:55 AI and Literary Translation

Literary Translation Centre

Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, there has been intense public interest in (and suspicion around) the opportunities presented by generative AI systems. Literary translation organisations such as the Translators Association and CEATL have issued statements expressing concerns. This panel will focus on recent developments in this fast-moving field, and consider the legal, ethical and practical implications for literary translators of the rise of the machines.

15:25 – 16:10 LEILA: Highlighting Outstanding Arabic Titles to Publishers in Europe

Literary Translation Centre

The LEILA project presents the best of Arabic literature in translation, selected by a group of experts who understand literary qualities for international readership. Supported by the Creative Europe programme, LEILA is the first pan-European project giving visibility to selected titles and creating a network of literary professionals that promote writing from the Arab world. The session will present the LEILA project with its newly launched website, research into translation flows, networking efforts and skills development opportunities for translators.

Speakers: Anne Millet (LEILA project coordinator), Dr Abdel-Wahab Khalifa (academic, co-author of Study on Translation of Arabic Literature in the UK), Sawad Hussein (translator)

Moderator: Olivia Snaije (journalist, LEILA website content editor)

Thursday 14th March

10.15 – 11.00 Unleashing the Power of Data: Extracting Customer Insights from a Million Books

Tech Theatre

This presentation will discuss insights from the business’s rich D2C user data and how these insights can be leveraged to help publishers with optimising a book portfolio’s international performance, revising titles to align with customer needs, and benchmarking portfolio and title performance. Perlego is an academic book platform known as the “Netflix of Textbooks”, whose all-you-can-eat business model enables content consumption across a diverse, global user base.

Speaker: Sue Hodgson (VP Content, Perlego)

13:15 – 14:00 Elisa Shua Dusapin: A Literary Journey in Translation

Literary Translation Centre

The award-winning work of Elisa Shua Dusapin has taken readers from the beaches of Sokcho in winter, to the hot and humid streets of Tokyo, and all the way to a circus tent in Vladivostok. Join Elisa, translator Aneesa Abbas Higgins and book critic Madeleine Feeney as they discuss the mesmerizing work of one of the finest voices of international literature.

Speakers:  Elisa Shua Dusapin (best-selling author of The Pachinko Parlour and Vladivostok Circus), Aneesa Abbas Higgins (translator), Madeleine Feeny (book critic)

13.30 – 14.00 Marketing Romance: BookTok’s Leading Genre

Tech Theatre

Join us for an insightful session around the fascinating world of BookTok and its impact on the romance genre. Discover how romance novels have taken centre stage on this popular platform and become a leading genre. As the reading community on TikTok continues to evolve, our speakers will shed light on how to navigate this dynamic landscape and stay connected with your audience.

Speakers: Georgia Henry (Founder/Director, The Pitch Agency), Genevieve Barratt (Deputy Head of Marketing, Simon & Schuster)

14.15 – 14.45  Dramatising Books for Audio

Tech Theatre

An expert panel of award-winning audio drama writers, producers and directors will discuss what makes a successful book dramatization. The panellists will look at various case studies from both the UK and internationally, looking at the relationship between the author and dramatist, the growth of radio drama on new platforms, through podcasting and on-demand services, and the future evolution of Audio Drama.

Speakers:  Andrew Mark Sewell (Creative Director, Producer/Director, B7 Media), Helen Quigley (Production Director,, Richard Kurti (Writer)

14:20 – 15:05 Living in Language: Poetry and Translation in Postcolonial Contexts

Literary Translation Centre

It has been suggested that the English language is ‘the most violent colonial weapon ever invented’ (Kaveh Akbar). In a postcolonial world, how and why do poets decide what language to write in? How do they (and their translators) deal with demands to translate the experience of their people? And what about the idea that ‘all writing is in effect translating our mother tongue’, as poet Habib Tengour writes in Living in Language? How do we manage to draw anything into words, and how far can we succeed? This panel is presented by the Poetry Translation Centre (PTC), which translates contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America; and the Translators’ Association, a sub-group of the Society of Authors which represents literary translators in the UK and beyond. The event explores questions raised in the PTC’s debut prose anthology, Living in Language, published in its 20th year.

15.00 – 15.30 A Book Adaptations: How to Build Trust and Effective Collaboration by Creative Deal-making

Tech Theatre

Authors, publishers, screenwriters, producers, directors, studios, streamers and broadcasters all bring stories to an audience, but they frequently speak a different language when it comes to book options for screen, stage and beyond.  Hear from Entertainment Lawyer, Literary Agent, Producer, Executive Producer and Founder and Owner of Viv Loves Film, Emma Topping, how to build trust and effective collaboration in the business of book adaptations.

Speaker: Emma Topping (Founder & CEO, Viv Loves Film)

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.

To apply for a press pass for The London Book Fair, please visit this link.

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