The London Book Fair – the Window to the English-speaking Publishing Market


2018 04 10


Today, April 10, Minister for Culture Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson along with the colleagues Dace Melbarde, Latvian Minister for Culture and Saaru Indreku, Estonian Minister for Culture, Jacks Thomas, London Book Fair director, Sue Owen, United Kingdom Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the UK Publishers Association, has opened the 47th international London Book Fair in London.

This year's London Book Fair will have over 25,000 participants from 118 countries. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as special guests will participate in the Baltic Counties Market Focus Cultural Programme.

‘It is symbolic that one of the greatest events of the 100th anniversary of our modern country abroad will be participating in the London Book Fair. After all, the vision of an independent Lithuanian was created and implemented by people of writing and culture. It was Lithuanian language and literature that brought Lithuania back to the political map of Europe 100 years ago’, emphasized the Minister for Culture L. Ruokytė-Jonsson.

According to the minister, book fairs tell a lot about the participating countries unraveling their unifying passion for literature and their desire to share it and open the ways to the languages, countries and worlds still unknown. For this we have to thank the writers and translators which help books become part of the literature of other countries.

The winners of The London Book Fair International Excellence Awards in 17 categories are announced on the first day of the Fair. A number of Lithuanian nominees are on the list of the candidates, including the International Literature Festival “Druskininkai Poetic Fall“, publishing house “Šviesa”, publishing house “Alma Litera”, etc.

The most significant collections of books published in the recent years are presented in the Lithuanian booth at the Baltic Countries Market Focus pavilion. The total of about 200 publications, including fiction and children's literature, humanities, books about Lithuania, art publications, translations from Lithuanian, as well as informative publications for literature and publishing. Representatives of 12 Lithuanian publishers will be working at the booth. Special series of the Baltic literature were prepared by Lithuanian publishing houses for the London Book Fair.

During the Market Focus Professional Programme the Baltic publishers will be discussing the similarities and differences of the publishing industry in the region, present reading promotion programs, publishing of educational literature. The representatives of the book printing industry from the Baltic States will discuss the latest changes in the field and methods for developing the business

Four years of preparation for the London Book Fair of 2018 has led to the publication of Lithuanian books in English. It was also prompted by the visits of the British publishers to Lithuania and the wish of the publishing houses to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Market Focus Programme as well as the exceptional efforts of the translators.  Last year two initiatives were started in the UK aimed at promoting professionalism in translating works of Lithuanian literature into English: the Mentorship programme for emerging literary translators run by the Writers' Centre Norwich and the Market Focus Lithuania Translation Fellowship.

The basis of the cultural programme of the book fair are thematic discussions with the authors of the Baltic States, British writers and journalists.

Yesterday before the beginning of the fair, a discussion with three Authors of the Day K. Sabaliauskaitė, Nora Ikstena (Latvia) ir Mihkelis Muttas (Estonia) (‘Being Baltic: at the crossroads of influence’) took place at the British Library, which also presented the  international project for exchange of illustrators named Pop Up Creators and opened the fair.

On the last day of the fair, April 12, Tomas Venclova will be attending poetry event at the Poetry Library, Southbank Center, on the same day Alvydas Šlepikas will be discussing the issue of ‘Children of History’, and, on April 13, Undinė Radzevičiūtė will have a conversation with British journalist and writer Erica Wagner (UK) and talk about her literary worlds.

Poets Marius Burokas, Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, poet and translator Rimas Užgiris are among the participants of the Poetry Festival. Exclusive event of the Lithuanian programme in London is the meeting of the avant-garde legend Jonas Mekas with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, the head of the Serpentine Art Gallery. The event will be followed by the review of the film “Outtakes from the Life of a Happy Man”, J. Mekas will be signing his book "Conversations with Film Makers" (Spector Books publishing house).


Photo by Severina Venckutė