Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Now that was FUN!
Got back from Bologna yesterday. Still haven't quite gathered my thoughts on it so this blog may spill out over a period.
Simply put, it was a BLAST.
Flew out of Gatwick and was very pleased to be upgraded. God, it made the trip so much more pleasent having a chicken tikka meal on proper plates rather than cheese and tomato sandwiches.
Explored Bologna after dumping the bags at the hotel and it's beautiful. It's a old university city and perfect scale for walking. Some of the buildings are huge monolithic late medieval castles almost, the squares are gorgeous and even the pedestrian walkways under the arches have mosaics. Elegant shops and chic from it's well coiffured Italian head to its dainty polished toes. You know you're in Italy, it just drips effortless STYLE.
Monday evening was the main event, my dinner with my foreign language publishers. It was at the Antica Hosterica Romagnola, the sort of restaurant where you have to be on first names terms with the owner for decades to have any hope of getting a table during the Book Fair week. Unsurprisingly EVERYONE there was in publishing.
It was a GREAT dinner. Food fantastic (what else would you expect in Italy?) and a bit overwhelming. Sarah was there of cousre, though suffering terribly from almost a total lost of voice, as well as Rod, Chris, Alex and Caroline (the UK gang). Also present was Urban (my stylish German publisher), Jurgen from Holland (the piccie in the corner is the Dutch edition of DEVIL'S KISS< due out in June), Glenn and Natacha of Pocket Jeunnesse, and Ana, who'd just arrived from Brazil. Marzena, who's a scout, was sitting to my left and it was great to finally meet one of the 'spies' of the industry. Speeches were made, tears were (almost) shed and food was consumed. Certain members of the party had already started on the alcohol before dinner and what they say about publishers is true, they know how to have a good time.
About midnight we wondered off to the infamous Pink Bar and by 1am I stumbled blearily into bed.
Tuesday was wall to wall meetings with everyone I'd met yesterday but now had a chance to talk in more detail about DEVIL'S KISS, THE DARK GODDESS and PROJECT X. Really enjoyed finding out what the publishers were up to and how each territory operates. ALSO met another publisher from a new territory, more on that if it all comes through.
What it demonstrated is how much people LOVE what they do. Apart from the JK Rowlings and Stephenie Meyers, very few ever make it BIG in the industry. But wandering around the fair, looking at the sheer scale of the books available, AND the beauty of them (seriously, books are so beautiful, Kiddle be damned!), you realise the passion everyone has. They work such long hours and put so much care into what they do, it's very humbling and incredibly inspiring. It's a huge privilege to part of it.
I will report more, but that's my first impressions.