Thursday 1 April 2010

My Not Quite Bologna Fair Report: meeting friends old and new

This (Ryanair's bag scales) is where it all began.

I only went to Bologna because I got a cheap ticket from Ryanair - the reason it was cheap because the return ticket left on the morning of the Bologna Fair's first day.So no fair for me. (Check out illustrator John Shelley's blog post about the Bologna fair)

But I figured the one day SCBWI Symposium was worth the trip.

Publishers of course tend to be too posh to fly Ryanair, except there was a BA strike so they were forced to travel with commoners like me or take long, long train journeys from other parts of Europe. So on the morning of my flight, Ryanair had a field day, stopping editors and publishers trying to sneak books by the ton into their cabin baggage.

Bologna Airport is one of the easiest airports to arrive in. You land, you get your bag, walk out the door, turn right and get on the bus. The bus takes you into the centre of town for ten euros. Sometimes the bus driver forgets to collect your fare. Just saying.

Last year, at the SCBWI conference in Winchester, author Meg Rossoff said once she got published, it became clear to her that she seemed to have a strange power. Everyone she met in the publishing world got pregnant. A warning to all. Indeed, waiting in the queue for baggage, I could hear small groups of publishers chatting away. Their topic? Pregnancy and maternity leave. I looked around but there was no sign of Meg.

I stayed at the I Portici hotel which had a minimalist bed ...

And a not so minimimalist shower.

It didn't beam me anywhere but one of the nozzles did fall off, mid flow.

This trip to Bologna was all by my lonesome. But Bologna is the land of serendipity.

Totally by chance, my friend Susan (above), who I first met at a previous conference 
in Bologna was one door away.

We wandered joyfully around Bologna together.

Then, another bit of serendipity.

I texted Canadian author Jan Markley to meet me at Neptune's statue at half past six. 

The rather shapely figure of Neptune cast 
an attractive shadow at the Piazza Maggiore.

I met Jan the week before in London at the Royal Festival Hall. Except Jan went to the Royal Albert Hall by mistake. So you can imagine, I wasn't hopeful. But at 6.30 sharp, there she was!
Jan Markley

Except she never got my text message. 

It was just that special Bologna vibe, pulling people together everywhere!

It was great to see SCBWI friends who I usually only see at international events.

(based in France, Taiwan, Germany, respectively)

Linda Lodding (congrats on the book contract!), manning the brag table where SCBWI members can show their latest work

Laura Watkinson at the SCBWI Netherlands showcase. Photo by Angela Cerrito

Children's book historian and critic Leonard Marcus,
Erzsi Deak, John Shelley at the Egmont party. Photo by Elizabeth Law 

Here's a close up of the brag table at the conference (I put my book Tall Story in the foreground!)

This is the little display about British SCBWI's Undiscovered Voices
competition including a photo of this year's winners. 

The display highlighted the books that have emerged out of the UV competition.

Later at the SCBWI party, I met SCBWI Queensland RA Peter Taylor, Rhiannon Lassiter (Bad Blood) and Mary Hoffman (Stravaganza series). Thanks to John Shelley for the pic.

John Shelley manned the British SCBWI showcase
And here's are shots of the display for all who sent their stuff.

Hooray for us!

More on the symposium soon (ish)!


  1. Great pics Candy! It was great to meet all the awesome SCBWI members from far flung places.

    Cheers, Jan

  2. Hooray for us indeed - what a joyful blog :O) Loved John's proud pose!

  3. And did you dig the shoes? i want to dress like john shelley!

  4. Sounds like you had a ball! Informative and entertaining as always Candy

  5. Hey Candy, What are the two books on the right hand side of the UV dsiplay board? The dark blue one and the Angels one?

    And... Katie Dale just got a two book deal that includes Someone Else's Footprints! (She'd already had a contract with Orchard for a younger series not from the anthology, but now her anthology book is going to get published.)

  6. sara moo - the angels one is by bryony pearce and the dark blue one is castle of cards by ellen renner. oh i didn't know about katie dale. and in fact this display misses out steve hartley's which i left in the hotel room by mistake on the day of the symposium (i didn't know i could put them up, i just happened to have them in my bag). but it was there at the showcase itself.

  7. Ah, thanks. I'll have to ask Bryony for her book cover to put up on the site!


  8. Oh dear Ryan Air troubles again. I did a blog post about Ryan Air troubles and the 2008 Bologna Fair on 21 Feb 2010. But in your case SCBWI made up for it.

  9. Yay, great to see a writeup of your trip! So sad I couldn't go this year! x


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