The London Book Fair can be seen as one of the major book events of the year for avid readers, coming a close second to the Book Expo/Comic Con also held to be held in London this year. This year we saw a host of authors and guests speakers, including some huge names in the literary community. However, The London Book Fair is no stranger to famous faces, having also having hosted such as Sir Terry Pratchett and Malorie Blackman. This year’s speakers and authors included; Nick Bostrom, Judith Kerr, Marian Keyes, Tracy Chevalier, Howard Jacobson and Jeanette Winterson. With also many exhibitors, from all over the globe, including big names such as; BookDepot, Bloomsbury Publishing and a vast number of the University Presses.
Two speakers I found to be very interesting was Nick Bostrom, and Judith Kerr. Nick, he is a science writer and research, as well as recently a subject of a big feature in the New Yorker. For example, he recently published a paper entitled: The strategic implications of openness in AI development, with the paperback edition of Superintelligence being released on April 16th. He has written for many scientific journals and newspapers including the Financial Times, and his talk at the Quantum Conference was particular stimulating although if you don’t follow science closely you may get a bit confused (I did. Don’t worry about it!) However, Judith Kerr is a very different author, with an incredible story. She was born in Berlin, but came to England with her family after escaping the Nazis. She wrote about her early life in her autobiographical trilogy Out of the Hitler Time, detailing her escape from Germany, and her travels across Switzerland and France. Judith worked at the BBC for many years, until she left to look after their two children, Matthew and Tracy, who inspired her first picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, first published in 1968, which is still a literary sensation today. Judith celebrated her 90th birthday in June 2013 with the publication of Creatures.
Every year, the ‘Author of the Day’ programme brings a wide range of today’s greatest writers to one of the world’s creative capitals, celebrating their work and spotlighting their impact. As one of the fair’s key series, this year’s programme was bigger than ever before, with authors benefiting from broad marketing support and a headline slot on the London Book & Screen Week programme. Since its inaugural year in 2006, participants have included: Boris Akunin, Malorie Blackman OBE, William Boyd, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Bi Feiyu, Sun-mi Hwang, Peter James, Elif Shafak, Valeria Luiselli, Deborah Moggach, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Ness, David Nicholls, Liz Pichon, Sir Terry Prachett, Axel Scheffler, and Claire Tomalin.
Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, The London Book Fair remains the leading global marketplace of rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. It completely took over the Olympia and the fair is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future.
The director of the London Book Fair had this to say during the promotion of the event:
“The London Book Fair’s Author of the Day programme is an integral part of the fair, which every year spotlights some of the biggest contemporary writers whose works inspire readers all over the world. From page to screen, this year’s Authors of the Day – Professor Nick Bostrom, Judith Kerr, and Marian Keyes – boast versatility and immense talent, which we look forward to giving a global stage. With this year’s Fair being on the eve of the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we couldn’t resist merging past and present, with the man himself as one such honouree. We’re thrilled to have Tracy Chevalier, Howard Jacobson and Jeanette Winterson joining us in this unique celebration – three fantastic authors for one, if you will.”
The Book Fair also hosts a variety of events from book signing and readings to lectures and writing classes. For all book lovers this event is one of only a few holy grails where you can literally find everything you want in one place. You can buy a copy of a book, have it signed, talk to the author and also improve your own writing skills within the same day.
The Book Fair was timed to coincide with 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, who we all know as one of the key literary figures of global history. Making this a commemorative, and celebratory, event.
Check out what’s going on at the next London Book Fair by using the button below.