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.


Jon M said...

It sounds like a superb experience, Sarwat, I'm soooo envious! Thanks for sharing! I am curious about the role of the scouts.

Margaret said...

Cor. Sounds excellent. Jon that'll be you next year.

Jon M said...

That would be wonderful! Sigh

Anonymous said...

Sounds fab!

Rhubarb Ruby (

PS. I have an agent now, yayyyy!
PPS. You on Twitter yet? Ha ha!

SarwatC said...

Be patient, young jedi. Your time will come.
Fantastic! Who is it?
Nope, not on Twitter. Keeping the blog running is enough for me.

kathy evans said...

how are you ever going to pass this malarky off as work?

Tracy said...

Sounds fantastic, Sarwat.
Like Jon I'm envious too but I reckon his time will come.
Glad it went well.
Tracy x :)

Anonymous said...

My agent's Dorie Simmonds - she does all the UK stuff for Neil Gaiman, reps Gemma Malley (The Declaration, The Resistance) plus others & handles Writer's House (Stephenie Meyer agents) UK deals. I tried to message you via your website but it wouldn't accept my Yahoo address which you might wanna get looked into - you may get 3 messages from me!

Anonymous said...

That's all very well and fine, but what FOOD did you order?

Sue Hyams said...

Sounds brilliant! Glad it went well and I like the Dutch cover.

SarwatC said...

The food was fantastic. Risotto, a really great lasagna, lots of seafood, a gorgeous slab of beef with a thick sauce and ice cream to finish. The expresso though was a dense as treacle. Certainly put a few more hairs on my chest.
Very impressed you share an agent with Neil Gaiman, result! Will try and find out what's wromg about the emial, since none of youyrs came through.
Just received a working sample of the US edition. OMG! It's pretty cool. More later.
Also, just had my first school visit. More on that later, too.

Gareth said...

Fabulous stuff, Sarwat, sounds like it's all kicking off! Keep it coming!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Sounds like a fascinating experience and a terrific learning curve (or more of the curve!). Glad it all went so well.