Thursday, 23 April 2009

London Book Fair

The back entrance or entrance to Earls Court 2 where we plebs were given our badges and allowed to enter the Fair. Great buzz and a huge venue.London, the tube travel, the crowds and the pace of life in the smouldering heat (yes, it was sunny all 3 days!!)was an experience as it was the first time for me in London as a non-tourist.
Highlights for me were :
1. Meeting YWO friend and author Waheed and his lovely wife.We have been emailing and Facebooking our YWO experience, so good to see him in the flesh. Also meeting Farhana of The Asian Writers online mag and Ashanti a fab journo, and a firebrand of energy.

2. India Market focus, what a great opportunity to hear Vikram Seth, Anita Nair, Girish Karnad, Anandamurthy and Javed Akhtar.Sizzling events with India at its best.Were the big publishers interested in bringing Indian authors to the UK's notice? Or were they keen on selling British authors to the burgeoning Indian market? It depended on who you spoke to,both sides were hoping to get the best out of the event.See the article in Bookseller today and draw your own conclusion. Boris Johnson's keynote speech was as expected, political barbs, humour, a classicist approach to the Fair. I learnt that 'Cheese ' was an Indian word! I knew all the others like pyjamas, chintz, bungalow, juggernaut and jodhpurs were of Indian origin, but this was a new one.
3. A seminar event was with young BME wannabe writers, publishers, students and emerging creative people desperate to be recognised by the mainstream industry. It was highlighted by Hardeep Sigh Kohli, a fellow Scot and TV personality who made us all laugh and managed to put the serious message that it was time for the industry to shed its white middle class male image and start encouraging the voices of all the sections of the British society.

What did three days of being at the event do for me- a new author? Did I get a five figure contract with The Publishers? Well... NO, but I networked, met many people, tried to get publishers to take note of new authors, saw the ebook technology making inroads and the new expresso machine that was churning out books and handing free copies of a YWO author's book!Blackwells in Charing Cross will be adding this machine in their store so go print your own if you wish.
Was LBF worth the cost, travel and effort? Yes definitely.

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