Sorry for my silence, but it’s been quite an exciting time for me lately. I managed to achieve something that I wasn’t sure would happen. Last week, I went to the London Book Fair for the first time. I sincerely hope it won’t be the last.
As you can probably tell from the photo – it was huge. Luckily, I mostly knew what I wanted to do, and had to do for my university work. After spending the first day wandering around in a bookish daze, I created opportunities to talk with people from Random House and Penguin, as well as potential contact with the commissioning editor of Hay House.
I probably took far too many business cards for the amount of conversations I had, but next time I will remedy that by talking to more people. There were an excellent selection of speakers – most of the time I wished that there was somebody working on the art of teleportaqtion so that I could be in two places at once!
I attended a number of interesting talks, though. One on setting up a small press in your twenties which will be useful in the future, and a talk on how publishers and agents are seeking out new talent.
The unquestionable highlight for me? Mexico were guests of honour, and I got the opportunity to use some of my long neglected Spanish in actual conversations. Since 2009, I’ve been working on a translation of Ramón Sampedro’s Cartas Desde El Infierno. It was great to be able to talk about that with somebody who would actually take me seriously.
Julio Trujillo, Editorial Director of Conaculta, was very helpful. Once things calm down with regard to my university workload, I will be in touch with him again with regardt to the translation. There was an excellent talk entitled ‘A Window on Contemporary Mexican Poetry’, where Tedi Lopez-Mills and Pedro Serrano read from their work. Although I am passionate about my native language, there is a music to Spanish which doesn’t seem to be in English.
If I do make it back, it saddens me that I won’t get the chance to see the Mexican contingent again next year. There was a lot to absorb, and I was exhausted when I returned home. (I think I am still!)) It was a beautiful experience, though, and one I am glad to have had.
Another highlight was the Poetry Pavillion, for which I temporarily overcame my fear of heights. That was where the talk about setting up a small press was held. As much as being a literary event, the London Book Fair is also all about the aesthetic.
There were inspirational quotes on each of the panels which separated the Pavillion from other areas. I didn’t photograph all of them together, unfortunately, but I have individual images. The above quote was one of my favourites, allthough as a lover of Neruda, another won the day.
Because of the book,
adorned with portraits of creatures of stone
is a conversation that I open to all the poets
of the earth
So that it may be continued by all
In order to encounter the secret of life
I’m curious to find out about others’ experiences of large literary events. Have you ever been to one? Leave a comment and let me know how it was.