Ohmygoditwasamazing. Thousands of book lovers! So many dreams, and it was finally my industry. For my high school graduation present, I attended Book Expo America. I spent three days there with my father attending talks, meeting people, and pretending to be a blogger, a librarian, a publisher, an author; I left knowing that publishing was the industry I wanted to work in.
Six years later, I’m walking around the London Book Fair with my very own name badge representing SAGE Publishing. I attended with my colleague and friend Lydia. We found our stand, and saw our fellow colleagues. We admired our publisher’s booth, the dark blue proud and bold against the overwhelming white ceiling of the conference center. Clean, corporate, yet colourful.
We received tickets because our founder Sara Miller McCune had won the 2018 LBF Lifetime Achievement Award. She is one of the many reasons I am proud to work at SAGE and is a role model of mine. Sara started SAGE at 24 (the age I am now) in a one room office in New York with four years of marketing experience, and now it is the fourth largest Academic publisher in the world with offices in five continents. Her values have driven her to achieve greatness; her main focus is social justice – “the four justices: economic, education, environment, and social”.
Being there to see her receive her award was wonderful and motivating, her hard work, dedication, and passion recognized by her peers. Rather surreal, as the only awards ceremony I had been to before this was the Teen Choice Awards. Very different. A lot less makeup, and definitely not broadcast on television. Yet the people I respected so much more, had done so much more to make the world a better place. Not just a great song or a great film, but the first 24 hour bookstore, over 254 literature events performed for over 60,000 children, an entire culture finally accessible to the English-speaking world. These were the people that I admired, that I wanted to work for, to learn from.
The whole day was just magical, fangirling and dreaming over Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Faber and Faber, Head of Zeus, Bloomsbury – their large booths and cafe areas filled with people selling rights while loving the passion and quirkiness of the Northern Fiction Alliance (you’ll be hearing more soon about them!).
Ran into two friends from my four day Get into Book Publishing course at UCL this summer, Craig and Jack. Both standing at the booth with badges on representing their own presses! The last time I saw them, we had finished our four days and were trying to figure out how to get into publishing. Seven months later, we had done it. It was thrilling.
Also saw the wonderful Midas team moving and making it happen.
And of course, the Poet’s Corner aka my happy place. The European Poetry Festival event hosted by Versopolis with Lithuanian poets Aušra Kaziliūnaitė and Marius Burokas and UK Poets Hannah Lowe and Sasha Dugdale was a rest to the feet and to the soul. Saw my fellow StAnza friends Annie, Eileen, Helena!
As well as a necessary pop round the Baltic Countries Market focus tent. Lithuania was in fleek, beautiful published collections with a drinks reception – Lithuanian beer and treats and even a few book smugglers.
It was one of those days, when the ground and the people make absolute sense and you’re quite sure that your heart and your mind and your feet have been going in the right direction. Sadly, only get to experience London Book Festival for that afternoon, but what an afternoon it was!
Can’t wait to read more experiences about London Book Fair 2018!