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Maggie O’Farrell, Louise Moore, Max Porter, Francis Bourgeois and Jane Dunn kick off The London Book Fair 2022

LONDON, 5 April 2022: The London Book Fair has returned today as a physical event, with exhibitors and attendees descending on Olympia to hear talks and sessions with expert publishers, award-winning authors, internet sensations and more.

Andy Ventris, Director of The London Book Fair, said: “After two years away, we are delighted to welcome the global publishing industry back to Olympia in person for The London Book Fair. It is so wonderful to see exhibitors and attendees returning, and to see the warmth and connection throughout the venue.“With a keynote by publisher Louise Moore and a talk by award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell, as well as the opening ceremony for Sharjah as this year’s Market Focus, we have certainly started the Fair with a bang. We look forward to sharing even more exciting programme events over the next two days.”

Highlights from Day One of the Fair:

Louise Moore, Managing Director of Penguin Michael Joseph, gave a keynote on the importance of commercial fiction for the publishing industry, exploring why the genre does not always receive the respect it deserves.

Author of the Day Maggie O’Farrell appeared in conversation with Jo Finney, Good Housekeeping Books Editor, discussing her career, winning the Women’s Prize for Hamnet and her highly anticipated upcoming novel The Marriage Portrait.

Sharjah, LBF’s 2022 Market Focus, held their Opening Ceremony on the Sharjah Pavillion, with speeches from Market Focus Author of the Day Afra AtiqKeith Nichol, Head of Cultural Diplomacy, DCMS, H.E. Excellency Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, speaking on behalf of the Ruler of Sharjah and Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association, Stephen Lotinga, CEO of The Publishers Association, and a performance by a ten-strong Emirati band. The ceremony marks the start of three days of sessions showcasing literature and culture from the region.

Monique Roffey, author of 2020 Costa Book of the Year The Mermaid of Black Conch, spoke about the intersection between the mythic and postcolonial in the English PEN Literary Salon, while European Union Prize for Literature winner Walid Nabhan did a reading of his work at Poet’s Corner.

Other authors appearing on today’s programme included bestsellers Nicola May and JD Kirk, discussing independent publishing through Kindle, writer Lizzie Damilola Blackburn on her highly anticipated debut Yinka, Where Is Your Husband?, and Eva Verde, Natasha Carthew and Mahsuda Snaith exploring the challenges facing working class writers.

A session on the influence of TikTok on the publishing industry saw large crowds gather to listen to an expert panel comprising of: Ashley Baugh, Midas, Naomi Bacon, Tandem Collective, Sharika Teelwah, Penguin Random House and author Fiona Lucas.

TikTok star Francis Bourgeois, whose popular trainspotting videos have secured Gucci campaigns and 2.3million followers on the platform, visited the Fair. Bestselling Jane’s Patisserie baker and social media star Jane Dunn also appeared at LBF following the announcement of Jane’s Patisserie Celebrate!, the follow up to her bestselling debut cookbook.

The Spotlight on Catalan programme saw award-winning novelist Max Porter in conversation with Catalan author Marta Orriols, and writer Jay Griffiths discuss time, experience and meaning with University of Barcelona professor Josep Maria Esquirol.

The Writer’s Summit saw an audience of aspiring, emerging and independent writers gather to hear publishers and authors discuss the realities of writing as a career, with speakers including debut novelist Kasim AliPhoebe Morgan, Editorial Director at HarperFiction, James Spackman of BKS Agency, and Nikesh Shukla, award winning writer and co-founder of the Good Literary Agency.