London Book Fair 2018: “Revitalising and exhausting”

So, LBF comes and goes for yet another year and we are left reflecting on what we have learnt from this year’s fair. When my older daughter asked me how it had gone, I found myself replying with the words, “Revitalising and exhausting”. If she’d answered one of my questions like that, I’m sure I would have criticised her for being contradictory but it does seem apt for the fair. There’s something about those huge exhibition halls that saps the energy before you even start, but there is also something immensely reassuring about being at the heart of the book-making industry.

Our diary was wonderfully eclectic and exciting. We bumped into old colleagues, sharing books that we have been fortunate enough to contribute to. We discussed new proposals with Canongate and listened in awe to what they have on their wonderful up and coming list. We talked about yet more books with Luci Gosling, an individual who is a veritable fountain of ideas and enthusiasm and also represents the wonderful Mary Evans Picture Library. We analysed business strategy with Carrowmore, comparing our similarities and differences in the way that we approach the publishing world. Finally, we caught up with Holly Bennion, Editorial Director at Nicholas Brealey Publishing who will shortly be releasing Defining You by Fiona Murden – a book that Conker House feel very proud to be championing.

All in all, it made us realise how happy we are to be in this creative mix, even if we felt a bit fatigued by the end of the day. As I finished off Wonder by R.J. Palacio (worthy of a blog post in itself but I mustn’t get distracted now) and studied the acknowledgements like only an editor will, I was struck by her description of publishing as “this impossible but truly beautiful industry”. Maybe an element of contradiction is allowed after all…

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