I’ve just got back from The London Book Fair and I’m still buzzing! This was my first fair, my first time at Olympia and only my second trip to a big bookish event (my first being the WEM Writers’ Conference last month).
The first thing I noticed upon entering the fair was just how vast Olympia was. There were exhibitors in every direction, big names like Bloomsbury, Harper Collins and even giant, ferocious dinosaur posters! But my nerves settled once I realised how nice the other attendees were. Everyone I talked to was friendly, interesting without exception and quite often very helpful (I get lost wherever I go).
The first seminar I attended was a breakdown of the recent Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) at the London Film and Comic Con, and the lessons the organisers drew from it. It was great fun to see all the costumes and hear about all the big names, but there was a serious component to the discussion too: how to reach and engage with teen readers. The YALC organisers made the excellent decision to involve their audience from the off, utilising the reach of YA book bloggers to help spread the word about the convention. Indeed, press for the event went out to bloggers at the same time as it did to major media outlets. A survey the organisers conducted also revealed that 59% of the interviewed attendees heard about the conference through Twitter. It would seem that the internet (being the modern, natural domain of teenagers) is the best place to start a wide-reaching YA lit conversation.
Another personal highlight was a seminar considering the challenges of financing a feature film. The panel of established independent producers were fascinating to listen to, and I’ve come away particularly interested to see the Outpost films and The Falling starring Maisie Williams.
All in all, I’ve had a wonderful couple of days, and I would thoroughly recommend bookworms check out the fair next year!