VIP lineup, industry insights mark day 1 of London Book Fair 2024

The London Book Fair 2024 commenced with a grand opening at Olympia, drawing in a diverse array of industry professionals, authors and enthusiasts from around the globe. 

The event, which, according to a statement, runs from March 12th to March 14th, promises to be a hub of creativity, knowledge-sharing and business opportunities for the publishing world.

The day began with a Welcome Address delivered by Geeta Pendse, a renowned journalist and nominee at the Royal Television Society Midlands awards. This set the tone for a series of engaging sessions and discussions throughout the day. Key figures such as Jonathan Karp, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, and Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author, graced the event, adding star power to the lineup.

The publishing industry’s vitality was highlighted by Gareth Rapley, Director of The London Book Fair, who expressed excitement at the global convergence of publishing professionals and the wealth of knowledge being shared under one roof. Attendees were treated to a range of topics, including discussions on platforming marginalised voices, sustainability in publishing and leveraging social media for book promotion.

A standout session featured Jasmine Richards, Vicky Palmer and other industry experts offering invaluable advice on navigating the book publication process. From understanding market trends to harnessing the power of social media, these insights were invaluable for aspiring and established authors alike.

The impact of social media on the literary landscape was a recurring theme, with sessions exploring the influence of platforms like BookTok and Bookstagram on reading habits and book sales. Lisa Sharkey of HarperCollins Publishers and other social media specialists shared strategies for authors to build their brand and connect with readers in an increasingly digital world.

One of the day’s highlights was the in-conversation event with Taylor Jenkins Reid, shedding light on her career and the inspiration behind her popular works. Reid’s upcoming project, teased as “a good love story,” generated anticipation among attendees eager to delve into her next literary creation.

Insights into global book markets and trends were provided by industry experts like Jaclyn Swope of Nielsen BookData, revealing a staggering 1 billion book purchases in 2023. Colleen Hoover and Prince Harry emerged as dominant forces in the bestselling lists, showcasing the diversity and wide-ranging appeal of literature across different regions.

The Fair also celebrated literary achievements with the European Union Prize for Literature, highlighting the importance of translation and cultural exchange in fostering a vibrant literary landscape.

The day culminated in the prestigious BookBrunch Selfie Awards, recognising outstanding contributions in various categories. Winners like Julia Boggio and J F Penn were honoured for their exceptional works, adding a celebratory note to the event’s proceedings.

The London Book Fair, a global marketplace for rights negotiation and content distribution across various media channels, continues to be a vital platform for industry professionals to connect, learn and thrive in a rapidly evolving publishing landscape. With two more days of engaging sessions, networking opportunities, and celebrations of literary excellence ahead, the Fair promises an enriching experience for all participants.

Highlights for Wednesday, March 14

  • Opening Keynote with Dr Julie Smith

Dr Julie Smith will open the proceedings on day two, addressing the state of mental health for authors and the creative sector, as well as her meteoric rise on TikTok, where she has over 4.7 million followers. | Main Stage 9.45 – 10.15.

  • Special In-Conversation with Steven Bartlett

In this session Steven Bartlett will discuss his journey from entrepreneur and podcaster to author, sharing the lessons learned along the way to create something lasting within a world of fast-moving content. Steven will outline the unique opportunity that the industry faces right now to innovate and harness potential. He’ll discuss his ambition to platform globally successful non-fiction titles that endeavour to achieve a healthier humanity | Main Stage, 10:30-11:00.

  • Transforming the Future of the Written Word with AI

Dan Conway, CEO, The Publishers Association UK (PA), Dr Kate Devlin, Reader in Artificial Intelligence & Society in the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, Katie King, Published Author on AI, Bill Thompson, Principal Research Engineer in the Advisory Team, BBC Research & Development

•Rebecka Isaksson, KM Strategist and Keynote Speaker | Main Stage, 11:15 – 12:00.

  • Author of the Day – Richard Osman | Main Stage, 12:15-13:00.
  • Illustrator’s Afternoon

At Author HQ, Jack Smyth and Nico Taylor return to the London Book Fair with a new book cover themed event that will explore the role of the book cover in the ever-evolving publishing industry at 12:00 – 12:45. Illustrator of the Fair, Flavia Z Drago will be in conversation with Mathew Tobin, Senior Lecturer in Primary English and Children’s Literature, Oxford Brookes at 13:45 – 14:30. And AOI Publishing Contracts Masterclass will guide guests through copyright, contracts, rights, advances, royalties and important clauses at 14:43-15:30. | All at Author HQ

  • The Future of Audio in Publishing: Global Trends and the Impact of AI

Michele Cobb, Executive Director, Audio Publishers Association, Amanda D’Acierno, President & Publisher, PRH Audio Publishing Group, Helena Gustafsson, Chief Content Strategy Officer, Storytel, Videl Bar-Kar, Vice President Audio, Bookwire | Main Stage, 13:15 – 14:00.

  • Panel Discussion: Voices Unheard: Addressing Inclusivity and Representation in Publishing World

Julie Farrell, Author and Co-Founder of Inklusion Guide, Natasha Carthew, Author and Director of The Festival for Working Class Writers, Nelson (Nels) Abbey, Author and Co-founder of Black Writers Guild, Stacy Scott, Head of Accessibility at Taylor & Francis and Chair, Accessibility Action Group, Publishers Association (PA), Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Publishing Perspectives | Main Stage, 15.15 – 16.00.






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