Wednesday 9 April 2008

Bologna 2008: News

When I was a journalist covering rather exciting events such as the fall of the Marcos dictatorship or communist guerrillas in the Philippines I used to despair at my lack of insight.

"But what does it mean?" I'd ask myself as I flailed around with my reporter's notebook and my battered camera. "What does it all mean?"

My current incarnation as a wannabe children's writer doesn't demand an immediate interpretation of events around me. Which is a relief. If you would like to know what actually happened at the Bologna book fair you'll have to turn to Publishing News where Graham Marks (a YA author himself) has filed a report. Interesting to see that a book featured during the SCBWI pre-Bologna conference found a UK publisher
... in an exception that proves the rule, Frances Lincoln's Janetta Otter-Barry saw a project at a gathering on Sunday - Jana Novotny Hunter's When Daddy's Truck Picks Me Up - and agreed a deal with its creator there and then, on a napkin…
Jana gave a talk to the SCBWI conference on picture books through the ages. She told us about her own book, When Daddy's Truck Picks Me Up, about a boy looking forward to the arrival of his father, who is coming to collect him. It was an ingenuous idea and beautifully illustrated. Well done, Frances Lincoln for spotting it!

I also enjoyed LookyBook's report on Bologna, which dropped into my inbox along with its latest titles:
Leather-clad Punks page through books next to publishing executives in suits and ties—the contrast of people is as fascinating as the books themselves. Massive crowds circulating between stalls of books, with an boundless flow of publishers, authors, illustrators, and literary agents making deals—complemented by eager portfolio-toting artists looking to get published. Ironically, because the show is closed to the public, the only type of person you won’t see is an actual child!

Lookybook is pleased to report that the picture book is alive, well, and still speaking the universal language of a child's imagination.
The Bookseller suggests that Bologna activity in the area of young fiction tended away from fantasy:
Fiction, especially series fiction, remained strong. Maeve Banhan, RH rights director, said: "It feels as though there is a definite move away from fantasy."
This, even as the high profile Sarah Davies, Harper Collins editor-turned-agent for the newly emergent Greenhouse Literary Agency, declares that:
Horror is the new fantasy.
So much to see, so much to tell.

But what does it all mean?

If I knew that, I would still be a journalist.


  1. What made me laugh was the report that many publishers were decrying the lack of new, original books being taken on (Stephen Page made comments to this effect).

  2. angela - now, now, this is obsessive compulsive behaviour!

    nick - we must all laugh as loud as we can to drown out the sound of our screaming.

    speaking of originality, calling all YA people: here's a reality check on how original you might think your work is.


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