Children's column: seminars at LBF

Nicolette Jones
Opinion - Children 17 Apr 2009

In all the excitement of wandering around individual stands, it is possible to lose track of the seminar programme at the London Book Fair. But this year's programme offers a range of expertise in children's books from insights into the editing process to how to reach new markets. And for anyone who wants to know more about teenage books and their audience, there are several sessions to give a full picture. Here is the itinerary for anyone in children's books to expand their horizons. On Monday 20 April, 9.30-10.30, Booktrust's writer in residence, multi-award-winning teen writer Patrick Ness, is in discussion about his working relationship with his editor Denise Johnson-Burt. If you haven t read The Knife of Never Letting Go, Ness's blog will reveal how inspiring this is likely to be.

There are two sessions on children's publishing in India: 12.30-1.30, with Vatsala Kaul Banerjee of Hachette India Children's Books, talking about the market for children's books in India, and at 3.30-4.30 with'S K Ghai, Chairman of the Institute of Book Publishing, Ativa Zaid, Head of Publishing, Ratna Sagar, and V K Karthika, Publisher of HarperCollins India in discussion with Sheila Lambie of Oxford Brookes University.
And, showcasing Puffin's inspired strategy for engaging its audience, teenagers will be speaking for themselves about What Teens Really Want at the Spinebreakers event run by Danielle Ines of Puffin at 5-6pm.
On Tuesday 21 April at 12.30-1.30, the authors will have their say, as Graham Marks and Julia Donaldson will discuss Writing for Teens with literary scout John McLay.
But anyone interested in growing the children's books market would be wise to stay on until 2pm to hear Claire Styles and Ruth Harrison of The Reading Agency on Remixing Reading for Teenagers - initiatives for bringing new readers into the fold, notably Headspace, by which teenagers run their own sections of libraries, and the online venture Groupthing.
Alternatively, marketing insights are on offer (an unfortunate clash) at 2.30-3.30 from author Graham Marks, Kirsten Grant, Marketing Director of Puffin, and Jon Morgan of digital marketing agency Hyperlaunch, discussing Marketing Children's Books in a Modern Age.
The 3.30-4.30 IPG session on The Missing Millions: Reaching the British Ethnic Readership with Gary Pulsifer of Arcadia Books, Sandeep Mahal of The Reading Agency, Shelina Permalloo of DIPNET and author (for adults) Hardeep Singh Kohli, chaired by IPG President Sonny Leong, will have relevance for the children's market.
But it also clashes with a session on Children's Publishing Around The World, from 3.30 to 4.30, with Agnes Vogt from the Netherlands, Luigi Spagnol from Italy, Shereen Kreidieh from the Lebanon, and Gillian Lathey of Roehampton University, introduced by Clare Squires of Oxford Brookes University.
From 4.30 to 6.15, nine UK children's publishers will showcase their new books for booksellers and librarians.
And finally, on the morning of Wednesday 20th, 9.30-10.30, Ben Norland, designer for Walker Books, John Newman of the Newham Bookshop and author and journalist Damian Kelleher will discuss Cover Design for Children's Books and how important it is to get it right.

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