Friday, April 10, 2015

Bologna 2015 --a post by Gemma

My colleague Heather Flaherty blogged about the nuts and bolts of what goes on at the Bologna Book Fair last week, and now I’m going to share some of my personal impressions and lots of photos. 

It’s a well-known fact that I love the Bologna Book Fair. Yes, I might moan on Twitter about the many late nights of preparation for the fair, and the long days once we get there (and this year, about the lack of toilets in the agents centre), but really the four days I spend in Italy every year are my absolute favourite. 

This year I was lucky enough to attend the fair with TBA colleagues Molly Ker Hawn and Brooks Sherman. This is the third fair for Molly and me, so we quickly slip into a familiar routine that makes the long days not feel like work at all. This was Brooks’ first Bologna, and he’ll be posting a blog next week about his impressions. Stay tuned! 

Gemma, Molly and Brooks

During the fair, we set up home in the agents centre, which is like a big shared office space – rows upon rows of tables for agents from around the world, including friends from the U.S. and elsewhere whom we only get to see once a year at the fair. For four days we all get to almost work together - chatting around the water cooler, grabbing coffee, drinks, lunch, gelato, all while talking about books! What’s not to love?

The agents centre

The other fantastic thing about Bologna is getting to catch up with our brilliant co-agents and meet the foreign editors who have bought our books over the last year. Our co-agents have the most contact with these editors on a day to day basis, but at Bologna we get to meet them and wax lyrical about our mutual love for our clients’ books.

Molly and Barbara Konig, German editor of THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLES HOUSES
Fiammetta Giorgi and Xavier d'Almeida, Italian and French editors of REBEL OF THE SANDS

Talking foreign editions of clients books, on our first day Molly and I found a gorgeous Italian bookshop near the Piazza Maggiore, and I was very excited to see an Italian copy of Katy Cannon’s LOVE, LIES & LEMON PIES – the Italian title translates as ‘The Ingredients of Happiness’, which is adorable!


The agents centre is where we spend the most time, but we also do get to walk the halls and nothing makes me look like more of a rabid tourist than spotting my clients books on publishers’ stands. This year Bloomsbury went all-out with a giant poster showing a sneak peek of the WITCH SWITCH cover (the sequel to WITCH WARS) by Sibeal Pounder. Also spotted were books by TBA clients Kat Ellis, Felicia Chernesky, Ruth Fitzgerald, Mo O’Hara, Katy Cannon, Sam Hay and Sam Watkins.
Sneak peek at Sibeal Ponder's WITCH SWITCH cover! (Bloomsbury - illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson)

Sam Watkins CREATURE TEACHER (OUP - illustrated by David O'Connell)



Mo O'Hara's MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH (Macmillan - illustrated by Marek Jagucki)

Felicia Chernesky FROM APPLE TRESS TO CIDER PLEASE (Albert Whitman - illustrated by Julia Patton)


Kat Ellis' BLACKFIN SKY (Running Press)

There didn’t seem to be a ‘book of the fair’ this year, and no overall trend came to the forefront. Lots of conversations revolved around good writing rather than trends, and that has to be a good thing. It was also pleasing to hear about middlegrade being requested more in translation.

And so that was Bologna 2015. The best of times was had, and I for one can’t wait until 2016! 

The Bookseller did some great fair round ups: click, click

And so did PW: click, click, click.

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