Over the past Friday and Saturday, the seventh edition of the seminar for foreign publishers took place in Cracow. The two-day event was devoted to children’s and youth literature. Twenty publishers from around the world had an opportunity to meet Polish editors and illustrators.
The seminar was inaugurated on Friday, 22nd June, by Dariusz Jaworski, the director of the Polish Book Institute. After a meet and greet for the guests and a short introduction by the deputy director of the Institute, professor Krzysztof Koehler, who acquainted the guests with the most important tasks and activities of the Institute, the lectures began. In his lecture, Renek Mendruń from Nielsen Book Research presented the market for children's and youth books in Poland, whereas Ewa Bolińska-Gostkowska from Znak publishing house noted that our children's books “sell abroad better than prose and non-fiction.” She also drew attention to the fact that we quickly crossed the road from Disney's productions from the 90s to beautiful illustrated books.
In the lecture The flowering of illustrations - a review of new Polish illustrated books for children, Maria Deskur from Egmont briefly presented the history of native book illustration and its classics (including Janusz Stanny, Józef Wilkonń, and Bohdan Butenko), after which she reviewed the profiles of ten of the most interesting contemporary authors of picture books in Poland, discussing their unique style and its sources.
She also highlighted the publishers' basic task: to raise the youngest readers. In one of the last lectures entitled Dangerous Minds - what do the youth read ? Marta Lipczyńska-Gil, editor in chief of the quarterly Ryms, presented seven best young adult positions in the latest Polish literature, focusing on books raising topics which are difficult yet significant for young readers.
After the lectures, the guests from abroad participated in bilateral meetings with Polish publishers. Alessandro Gelso from the publishing house Rizzoli e Fabbri, which is the part of the Mondadori Group, emphasised that such seminars constitute the best opportunity to establish real relations with other publishers and that they are always fruitful. Other publishers, also from Poland, were on the same page.
The Bologna Fair or any other one is the time of a terrible commotion. Of course, you can meet dozens of publishers there, but it's different. More profound conversations than those about new products for the next year are of considerable importance for the promotion of Polish literature
– said Maria Deskur.
On Saturday, a second round of bilateral meetings took place. Moreover, the guests had a chance to participate in a meeting with Polish illustrators in the Modern Art Gallery Bunkier Sztuki.
The seminar was attended by publishers from Belgium (Pastel), China (Daylight, Phoenix Juvenile And Children’s Publishing), France (ActesSud, La Martiniere), Greece (Patakis), India (Tara Books), Spain (Siruella), Netherlands (Querido), Korea (Sang), Germany (Gestenberg, Gestalten), Russia (KompasGid, Pink Giraffe), Slovakia (Host), Turkey (Red House), Ukraine (Urbino), Hungary (Lira), the United Kingdom (Walker Books), and Italy (Rizzoli/Mondadori).