Today marks the beginning of The London Book Fair, the largest spring publishing event, a place for publishers and literary agents from all around the world to meet, and to negotiate rights to new books, film and television scripts, and various sorts of digital content. The fair is held in the old Olympia Hall in West London, and is visited by 25,000 professionals from 118 countries around the world.
The Polish pavilion is located in the National Hall, and is made of two parts, numbered 4A11 and 4A40. This year thirty-two exhibitors will be showing their wares: Wydawnictwo Literackie, Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal, Znak, ABE-IPS, PEARSON Central Europe, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Artatech, Bellona, Świat Książki, DT Agency, Foksal, Janka, Muza, Art Museum in Łódź, Warsaw Book Fair, Ozgraf, Glossa, Rebis, Rosikoń, Totem, Lira, WUW, Supermemo, Prószyński, Agora, Smak Słowa, Sonia Draga, Ossolineum, the Book Fair in Krakow, Dwie Siostry, Edgard, Krytyka Polityczna, and the Institute of National Memory. We will also be displaying new Polish books, translations of Polish literature released with support from the Book Institute’s ©POLAND Translation program, the latest English-language translations, books awarded in the Polish Section of IBBY’s Book of the Year competition, and for the Year of Herbert, a selection of international editions of the poet’s work. The London Book Fair Excellence Award will be handed out during the fair – this year Poznań’s Supermemo is nominated for the second time, having already received the award in 2016, and the Conrad Festival is a nominee in the literary festivals category.
Last year, Poland was the Market Focus at the London Fair, which gave us the opportunity to present an expanded industry and cultural program in cooperation with the British Council. Among the authors invited were Zygmunt Miłoszewski, Jacek Dehnel, Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński, Marta Ignerska, Ewa Winnicka, and Professor Andrzej Nowak. Andrzej Sapkowski and Olga Tokarczuk appeared as “Authors of the Day”; from that moment, the latter became a household name in Great Britain. We might suppose that the recent nomination of Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft, for the Booker Prize is a direct result of last year’s project. Flights has also found publishers in Australia (Text Publishing) and the USA (Riverhead Books). Soon, more of her books will be released (through Fitzcarraldo Editions in Great Britain), as will those by other authors from our Market Focus: Jacek Dehnel’s Lala through Oneworld publishers, Zygmunt Miłoszewski’s Priceless through Amazon Crossing, and in 2020, Jacek Dukaj’s sprawling Ice, whose translation is a time-consuming business, through The Head of Zeus. This year’s Market Focus will be a joint presentation of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which naturally means the cultural program is focused on authors from those countries.
On the eve of the hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining independence, we have prepared two meetings where we will be speaking about books that address our history. For the Independent program on the first day of the fair, at 4:00 p.m. in the Buzz Theatre Ewa Bolińska-Gostkowska of Znak Publishers will speak of her publishing house’s history books – a link to this event, titled Heroic Facts and Creative Ideas: Centenary of Poland’s Independence, is right here: https://bit.ly/2Ey9cUp. Then on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the Children’s Hub, Anna Skowrońska of Muchomor Publishers, which specializes in biographies and history books for children, will be telling children about history in an approachable way: (https://bit.ly/2EwXYzN).
The fair continues until Thursday, 12 April.