Celebrating its 45th anniversary, The London Book Fair has just opened this morning at Olympia, West London, for a three-day of events. With more than 25,000 publishing professionals from all around the world, the LBF is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.
Nearly 40 Italian exhibitors will take part at this year’s edition and according to data released by LBF Italy Italy is number 5 in the top 10 visiting countries. Writers, who represent 9.6 % of visitors at LBF, are at the heart of the fair.
The advent of the digital age shook the world of analogue formats, but a world of different possibilities for a new audience came out.
Alfieri Lorenzon, director of Italian Publishers Association, revealed that 45 % of the population in Italy reads one book per year. Just 15 % reads around ten books. And what about the ones who read more than ten books per year? “A miracle,” explains Lorenzon. “However, we have registered a positive trend for children and young adults (readers up to 16 year old) literature that at the moment leads the market in Italy. Books seem to have a real value for parents who buy books for their children, but apparently not for themselves.”
24 ORE Cultura, part of The Italian Collective Exhibition at LBF which includes also Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Foo, Gruppo Albatros, Il Fio and Guerra Edizioni, not only generates exhibitions and runs MUDEC Museum of Cultures in Milan, but also publishes high quality illustrated books. Simona Scuri, responsible for 24 ORE Cultura International Distribution, explains they especially bet at two books: The punk play book and David Bowie play book, both written by Matteo Guarnaccia. With an increasing interest in adult colouring books, these titles offer a funny way to approach the world of music. Hopefully, these two book will soon be in the English bookshops.
Feltrinelli will focus especially on two new novels: Rosso nella notte bianca, by Stefano Valenti, and Quattro tazze di tempesta by Federica Brunini. The first one tells a story set in Valtellina, a valley in Lombardy, where the main characters comes back to his village in the ’90s after more than forty years. Valenti, Young Campiello Prize winner in 2014, tells a story of a man during the ruling period of Red Brigades, a left-wing paramilitary organization operating during the so-called “Anni di Piombo” (Years of Lead) (1970-1988).
The main character of Quattro tazze di tempesta is Viola, a tea-shop keeper in the south of France. For her birthday she gathers her three friends and tea will be the fil-rouge that will link those four women who underwent different changes after many years.
Other hot titles presented at LBF by Silvia Donzelli literary agency are Cenere di mandorlo by Manuela Stefani, Bestie di vittoria by Danilo di Luca and Stanotte guardiamo le stelle. The last one is a novel set in the ’90s in Afghanistan and written by Alí Eshani.
These are just a few of the latest books published by Italian publishing houses. More than 58,000 books are published in Italy every year so there are no excuses, you can all join the readers’ club!