Sunday, 24 April 2011

London Book Fair 2011


Dr. Mozammel Haque

The London Book Fair 2011– celebrating its 40th year – was busy setting up its stall from the 11th to the 13th of April, 2011 at Earl’s Court, London. The London Book Fair of this year was a bit on an overwhelming affair: hundreds of stands of publishers, large and small, including some of the world’s biggest, plus booksellers and authors, not to mention about 40,000 visitors.

The London Book Fair takes place every spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, London. The Fair is running the fourth year of its strategic partnership with the British Council, and following the success of its collaboration on the Arab World Market Focus in 2008, India in 2009, South Africa in 2010 and this year, 2011 cultural programme at the London Book Fair provided a unique opportunity for contemporary Russian writers to reach a global publishing audience and take part in discussions and debates aimed at strengthening cultural relations.

The London Book Fair celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011 and took place from 11th-13th April. The Book Faire served as a place to educate, network and to seize business opportunities and to make words deliver.

The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.

The London Book Fair brought 23,000 members of the global publishing community together. The Fair had 1696 exhibiting companies on over 750 stands. One of the defining features of this year London Book Fair was its over 300 seminars and events programme. Unsurprisingly, all things digital feature throughout and the impressive digital stream took place in the largest venue. The other key themes were: Children’s & Young Adult Publishing; Russia Market Focus, Film & TV; Libraries; Literary Translation and Comic & Graphic Novels. More than 40,000 visitors visited the Fair.

Saudi Arabian Book Stand
Prince Mohammad bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom and Ireland, inaugurated the Saudi Arabian Book Stand at the London Book Fair 2011 at Earl’s Court, London, on Monday, the 11th of April 2011.

There were following eight publishing houses at the Saudi Book Stall under the umbrella of Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Cultural Bureau, London, such as the publications of King Abdulaziz University, International Islamic Publishing, Al-Rushed Publishers, Mars Publishing House, Kadi & Ramadi Children Books, Semanoor for e-Publishing and Obeikan Publishers and Research Centre. Saudi Ambassador went around the different Publishing House whose publications were at display at the Saudi book stall and then he also visited the neighbouring book stalls of other Arab countries, such as Iraq, Oman, Arab Publishing Association, Qatar, United Arab Emirates etc.

Seminars relating to the Gulf and Middle East
There were following Seminars related to the Gulf and Middle East or in short the Arab World. On the first day of the Fair, on Monday, the 11th of April, there was a seminar on “Translation and the Arabic Novel: Beyond the Politically Symbolic Act;” chaired by Rita Award and the speakers were Ayman El-Desouky and Rana Kabbani. On the same day, there was another event on “Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East,” which was chaired by Samantha Schnee and the speakers were Gali Taraghi, Haifa Zangana and Rukhsana Ahmad.

On Tuesday, 12th of April, 2011, there was a seminar on “Business Opportunities for Academic and Educational Publishers in the Gulf Region,” chaired by Emma House and the speakers were Bill Kennedy, Ian Grant, Mike Thompson and Monika Krauss.

Seminars on Saudi Arabia
On Wednesday, 13th of April, 2011, there were two seminars organised by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in London. The first Seminar was on “Children’s Books in Saudi Arabia: Past and Present”; chaired by Dr. Mostafa Morsy-fahmy from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau and the speaker was Dr. Sabah A. Aisawi, Professor at Dammam University, Faculty of Literature. Again on the same day, at the same room, Westminster Room, there was another seminar on “Co-existence between Religion: How and Why?” organised by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau, London, which was chaired by Dr. Hesham A. Khadawardi, Deputy Cultural Attache of the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau and the speaker was Dr. Ahmad Turkistani, Professor of the Imam Saud Islamic University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

On the same day, on 13th of April, there was another seminar at the same room, on “The Hidden Face of Libyan Fiction,” chaired by Samuel Shimon and the speakers were Ghazi Gheblawi, Giuma Bukleb, Hisham Matar, Mohamed Mesrati and Wafa Albueissa.

Russia Market Focus 2011
Like previous years, such as the Arab World Market Focus in 2008, India in 2009, South Africa in 2010, Russia was Market Focus country in 2011, following South Africa last year, as I mentioned earlier.

The Russian national pavilion presented the national publishing industry through books and projects of more than 50 leading Russian publishers and professional organisations with a special focus on digital publishing in Russia. There were more than 70 publishing houses and more than 50 leading prose writers, poets and columnists from Russia who participated in the programme of the Russian Pavilion. Many of them introduced their new books and ideas, took part in the discussion of current international issues, as well as history of the relationships between Russia and Britain.

The handover ceremony took place when the Russian partners were given thanks for all their contributions to the Market Focus programme for 2011, and China was officially mark becoming the Market Focus country for 2012 and the start of their preparations for their feature at The London Book Fair 2012.

At the end, the London Book Fair announced the bestselling authors Claire Tomalin, Boris Akunin and Julia Donaldson with illustrator Axel Scheffler, as the Authors of the Day for 2011.

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