Friday, April 30, 2010

London Book Fair 2010: Day Three

Day three, and it's all beginning to blur. Information overload has overtaken me. Really enjoyed hearing Ian Rankin chatting to a good-sized audience yesterday. Talking books and reading and how at the age of 17 "the best thing to be was in my room, reading, writing and listening to music." Lovely to hear of Rankin's early days as a struggling writer - well encouraging to hear that we all have to start somewhere. He made us laugh with his descriptions of moving to France with his wife, with no money and trying to make it as a a writer. He's just finished a graphic novel, which he describes as hard work, working with an illustrator and having to explain everything. "I could have written three novels in the time it took me," he said.

Then listening to Lisa Appignanesi talking about English PEN objectives with Robert Sharp and the changes that PEN has been able to effect and still wants to effect. Today I went to hear the Irish children's writer Eoin Colfer, once a teacher, "It's a young person's game" chatting about conjuring up the 80s by listening to Kate Bush.

This morning I caught up with PEG, the South African Professional Editors Forum, who held a seminar in the South African networking pavilion. Taken by John Linnegar, head of the organisation who outlined its objectives, namely to promote high standards of editing and proofreading and to show that South African editors are a favourable option for UK publishers. We use the same English, more or less, same time zone more or less and offer value for money when you consider the exchange rate. See a list of editors at John also mentioned the first ever editors conference to be held at the Franschoek Festival in May. I'll be there chatting on editing non-fiction narratives.

Quick chat with travel writer and photographer David Fleminger and Chuma Nwokolo,of African Writing Online, nice to meet after all these years .... and then ....

And then a dash off to a talk on the future of e-books. As Beverly Tarquini, publisher and chair mentioned, five years ago the question would have been IF there is a future for e-books, today, of course there are so many, it's not a question of IF. It's a question of which one will win out in the end, which format and how to protect copyright. From Adobe Jonathon Ferman spoke about the latest InDesign improvements and how these will help e-books. Textbook publisher Alison Jones spoke about how there once was a time when people thought e-content should be free, but we've come a long way. Meanwhile publisher Robin Harvie agreed that publishers were making a lot of mistakes, but "we also need to celebrate those mistakes. To see what is possible".

(First published here)

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