Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Espresso, prosecco, gelato - Bologna 2012

Templar's fiction acquisitions editor Helen Boyle, shares some Italian inspiration from last week's Bologna Children's Book Fair.

"Having spent much of last week in Bologna, gastronomic capital of Italy, city of  over 1000 colonnades, gateway to Tuscany and home for a week in March to the great and good of global children's publishing, I am still getting to the bottom of my inbox and Bologna Book fair follow up.

But whilst that waits in the wings, here's a quick verbal pictogram memory of the Bologna Book Fair 2012.

The espresso, prosecco and gelato not always in that order...

Eye-popping pop-ups, plush puppets, and giant billboard book covers furnish publishers stands. 
Hushes whispers of the agents centre, snatched glances of who's talking to who as you pass through the channel of desks.

The buzz and beauty of the Italian specialty booksellers, posters, books and design delights . The amazing offerings from Portugal.

The hum of rights deals, sales pitches and numbers crunching.

The sugar rush of chocolate, coffee and diet coke. The sandwiches as chewy as shoe-leather, and possibly less tasty (gastronomy not explored til after fair hours entertaining.)

Catching up with old friends and meeting new colleagues.

The Astrid, the Opera Prima, the Ragazzo – no not pasta dishes but foremost awards for illustration and children’s literature. 

The industry insights, state of the nation discussions, shared scout secrets and tipsy talks of world domination, (ok so World domination, possibly a step too far!)

The flush of youth: debut authors pitched by passionate agents, nervous art students  clutching portfolios.

The late nights and early morning, the 'just-a-nightcap' drinks.

The tired legs and sore feet, forget 'wag's elbow' it's  'book-fair shoulder' from catalogue accumulation.

The long for a long hot bath and some mindless tv.
The fare dodging on Italian buses. Number 35 didn’t get our number…

The buzz of a creative industry packed with passionate publishers pushing boundaries.

Overwhelming and inspiring. Exciting, exhilarating and exhausting.

Thank god it's only once a year, but wait a minute, what's that around the corner... London Book Fair...on your marks...get set… Go!"

Photos are of this year's Ragazza winners and shortlisted entries.