The London Book Fair Keynotes and Seminar Highlights Announced

The London Book Fair Keynotes and Seminar Highlights Announced

Ben Okri and Louise Moore to deliver keynotes

Main Stage introduced for 2022, featuring expert panels

Programme to include UN, Google, HarperCollins, Amazon, PRH, Sharjah Book Authority, Nielsen and more

Authors include Maggie O’Farrell, Monique Roffey, Daisy Johnson, Stacey Halls, Derek Owusu, Peter James, Louise Candlish, Natasha Carthew, KL Slater, Mahsuda Snaith and Milly Johnson

Olympia, London | 5-7 April 2022

London, 22 March 2022. The London Book Fair (LBF) has today announced Booker Prize winning novelist and poet Ben Okri and Penguin Michael Joseph Managing Director Louise Moore as the keynote speakers for this year’s fair.

Okri, acclaimed author of The Famished Road, will appear in conversation with journalist Sarah Shaffi, discussing the role of art during challenging and divisive times. Publishing expert Moore will shine a light on the importance of commercial fiction for the book industry and explore why it does not receive the same respect as other genres.

This year’s The London Book Fair will feature the introduction of the Main Stage. The Main Stage is a theatre, sponsored by Legible, that will host agenda-setting talks and panel sessions led by experts from across the publishing industry. 

Highlights from the Main Stage, sponsored by Legible, include:

  • Ben Okri: Art in a Time of Crisis. Wednesday 6 April, 11:00 -11:45, Main Stage. Booker Prize winning novelist and poet appears in conversation with journalist and editor Sarah Shaffi to discuss the importance and role of art in challenging times.
  • Why does the publishing industry not better recognise the merits and importance of commercial fiction? Tuesday 5 April, 10:30-11:15, Main Stage. Louise Moore, Managing Director of Penguin Michael Joseph, discusses the importance of commercial fiction for publishers, and asks why the industry does not champion its success.
  • The Role of Publishing and Culture During Global Conflict. Tuesday 5 April, 15:15-16:00, Main Stage. In a session led by the Publishers Association, representatives from the British Council, International Publishers Association and Cambridge University Press consider the role of publishers and wider cultural institutions during global conflict, and debate how culture can play a role during difficult times around the world.
  • COVID-19: What’s next for publishing? Tuesday 5 April, 11:45-12:30, Main Stage. Representatives from Nosy Crow, HarperCollins, Bookouture, Amazon Publishing and the Booksellers Association explore how the pandemic has impacted the publishing industry and how it may shape the future of the book world.
  • Nielsen Report –The UK book market: Pandemic effects and the picture in 2022. Wednesday 6 April, 12:00-12:45, Main Stage. Nielsen Books highlights the publishing trends which emerged during the pandemic and reveals what readers have been buying over the past two years.
  • The Future of Book Supply. Wednesday 6 April, 10:00-10:45, Main Stage. HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority, speaks with David Taylor, MD of Lightning Source UK, about the future of the supply chain and print on demand, with examples of the work being done at Sharjah Publishing City.
  • The Future of Work is Hybrid. Tuesday 5 April, 13:00-13:45, Main Stage. Spokespeople from Google Workspace, Hachette and Tsedal Neeley, author of Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding From Anywhere look at how technology could help the publishing industry to build a successful hybrid working model.

In addition to the series of world class sessions on the Main Stage throughout the three days of The London Book Fair, a seminar programme of expert panels, author talks, and industry presentations will be taking place across Olympia.

The seminar programme runs across Author HQ. Highlights from the seminar programme include:

Tuesday 5 April

  • Maggie O’Farrell In Conversation. Tuesday 5 April, 13:30-14:15, English PEN Literary Salon. Author of the Day Maggie O’Farrell, Sunday Times bestselling author and winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, appears in discussion with journalist Jo Finney, giving an insight into her writing process, talking about Hamnet, and highly anticipated upcoming novel The Marriage Portrait.
  • The Power of the Bookshop: The Role Booksellers Play in Championing Your Book. Tuesday 5 April, 13:15-13:45, Buzz Theatre. Emma Bradshaw, Head of Campaigns at Booksellers Association, joins Bookbar founder Chrissy Ryan and author Ingrid Persaud to discuss how bookshops can celebrate and amplify titles.
  • Celebrating Working Class Writing. Tuesday 5 April, 14:20-15:05, Author HQ. Working class writers Eva Verde, Natasha Carthew and Mahsuda Snaith discuss why it is important to include conversations around class when it comes to improving diversity and representation in publishing.
  • Trending on TikTok= book sales: the perfect equation? Tuesday 5 April, 12:10-12:55, Author HQ. Social media experts including Naomi Bacon from Tandem Collective, author Fiona Lucas, Zaahida Nabagereka, Head of Social Impact at Penguin Random House UK and Ashley Baugh, Associate Director at Midas, discuss the role of TikTok in the book world and ask which trends on the platform are here to stay.
  • London Book Fair Charity of the Year presents… Happy Here: Centering Traditionally Marginalised Narratives in Children’s Publishing. Tuesday 5 April, 13:00 – 13:45, Olympia Theatre. LBF 2022 Charity of the Year, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), hosts a panel with author and academic Darren Chetty, trailblazing independent publisher Knights Of, and national charity, BookTrust, discussing how the three organisations came together to publish and champion Happy Here, as well as exploring the importance of moving discourse away from defending the necessity of inclusive literature towards the value of improving the quality of publishing output to better serve the readership.
  • How publishers can successfully create a culture of diversity and inclusion. Tuesday 5 April, 16:30-17:15, Main Stage. Cat Mitchell, Lecturer and Programme Leader for the Creative Writing and Publishing BA at the University of Derby provides actionable guidance for creating a diverse and inclusive workspace.
  • Sharjah Market Focus: In Conversation with HE Mohammed Al-Murr. Tuesday 5 April, 16:30-17:15, English PEN Literary Salon. Short story writer Al-Murr discusses his work and the influence of Emirati literature.
  • Across language and time: translating classics. Tuesday 5 April, 16:30-17:15, Olympia Theatre. The Polish Book Institute and the Spotlight on Catalan organisers Institution Ramon Llull host a panel on the challenges of translating classic literature from William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

Wednesday 6 April

  • From Book to Screen: Crime and Thrillers. Wednesday 6 April, 13:15-14:00, Author HQ. Bestselling crime writers Peter James, Kate Ruby and Louise Candlish share how they keep readers gripped, both on the page and onscreen.
  • The Cover Design Wheel of Fortune. Wednesday 6 April, 17:00-17:45, Author HQ. By popular demand, designers Ceara Elliot, Jack Smyth and Nico Taylor return to The London Book Fair, using real life case studies to explore the book cover design process from beginning to end.
  • In conversation with Afra Atiq, Emirati poet, spoken word artist and PhD Candidate and LBF Author of the Day. Wednesday 6 April, 13:30-14:15, English PEN Literary Salon. Market Focus Author of the Day Atiq appears in conversation, discussing her career and what inspires her poetry.
  • Independent Women: The Tale of Three Start-ups. Wednesday 6 April, 12:30- 13:15, Olympia Theatre. Magic Cat Publishing, Guppy Books and Hashtag Press, three small independent presses run by award-winning women, discuss the realities of setting up a publisher in the Children’s sector and what their experiences have taught them.
  • Illustrator of the Fair: Diane Ewen. Wednesday 6 April, 14:30-15:00, Author HQ. Award-winning illustrator Ewen speaks about her career, what she hopes to communicate through her illustrations, and representation in Children’s books.
  • KL Slater in Conversation: Writing for Audio. Wednesday 6 April, 11:00-11:30, Author HQ. Audible bestselling author KL Slater discusses publishing fifteen titles in just six years, the challenges and rewards of writing specifically for audio, and how audiobooks have helped to build her fanbase and brand as an author.
  • Pajtim Stavoci in conversation with Octavia Bright. Wednesday 6 April, 12:00-12:45, English PEN Literary Salon. Award-winning novelist Stavoci speaks to writer and broadcaster Bright about love, war and migration on the eve of the publication of his latest novel
  • Bringing Dutch Literature to the World. Wednesday 6 April, 12:10-12:55, Literary Translation Centre. The London Book Fair’s dedication to translation continues as the Dutch Foundation for Literature and Amazon Crossing host a conversation on the importance of Dutch literature and the nuances of translating works from the Netherlands.
  • Sustainability Conference: programmed by IPA, PA and Elsevier. Wednesday 6 April, 13:30-16:30, Main Stage. High level discussion on how sustainability translates for the publishing industry.

Thursday 7 April

  • Greg James and Chris Smith In Conversation. Thursday 7 April, 13:30-14:15, English PEN Literary Salon. The Great Dream Robbery and Kid Normal writers Greg James & Chris Smith will discuss their bestselling work and their upcoming release Super Ghost.
  • How to Make a Living From Writing. Thursday 7 April, 10:45-11:30, Author HQ. An expert panel from the Society of Authors, including Nicola Solomon, Juliet McKenna, Abie Longstaff and Katrina Naomi, share their tips for earning money through writing, and the best opportunities for aspiring authors.
  • Building A Better, Greener Business. Thursday 7 April, 10:00-12:00, Olympia Theatre. Nielsen Books explores how the pandemic has impacted supply chains, and what can be done to build a more sustainable, resilient system.
  • Derek Owusu in conversation with Tice Cin. Thursday 7 April, 12:00-12:45, English PEN Literary Salon. Owusu, award-winning author of That Reminds Me discusses displacement, mental health across generations and the desire to find one’s voice in his forthcoming book Losing The Plot.
  • How I Write. Thursday 7 April, 13:00-13:45, Author HQ. Bestselling novelists Stacey Halls, Milly Johnson and Tim Sullivan provide a behind-the-scenes look at their writing routines, offering insight into how they write.
  • Publishing Outside of London: what are the benefits? Thursday 7 April, 15:15-16:00, Author HQ. The benefits of regional publishers’ offices is discussed by a panel consisting of Chief Executive of New Writing North Claire Malcolm, Publishing Director at HarperNorth Genevieve Pegg, Publishing Director at Sweet Cherry Publishing Sanjee de Silva, and Publishing Director at Comma Press, Ra Page.
  • New Fiction at the Threshold of Myth. Thursday 7 April, 11:45-12:30, Author HQ. Catalan author and European Union Prize for Literature winner Irene Solà speaks to acclaimed novelist Daisy Johnson about the influence of folktales on literature, and how modern fiction blurs mythology and reality.
  • Subscription Reading Programs and Translated Literature. Thursday 7 April, 12:10-12:55, Literary Translation Centre. Amazon Publishing shares more on their subscription reading programmes Amazon First Reads, Prime Reading, and Kindle Unlimited, and explains how these help readers discover global translations.

Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair, said: We are delighted to share highlights from this year’s agenda-setting seminar programme, and to announce 2022 keynote speakers. Ben Okri is one of the most celebrated poets and authors of our time, while Louise Moore is at the very forefront of British publishing, and we are honoured to have them both at this year’s fair. We know that attendees will be eager to hear their thoughts on publishing, the impact of books in our society, and how the industry may evolve in future.

“The London Book Fair’s events programme is renowned for its insight into publishing and the introduction of the Main Stage for 2022 provides a platform for some of the most exciting sessions we have ever programmed. We are thrilled to have such an incredible range of organisations appearing across this year’s seminar programme and look forward to learning from the knowledge and experience of our speakers.” 

The London Book Fair (LBF) is the largest spring book trade and publishing event in the world and will take place in person for the first time in two years at Olympia London, 5-7 April 2022. Visitor registration is now open, register today.  

The full 2022 seminar programme will be announced later in March.

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