Some pretty awesome news got relayed to me via Twitter this morning: it has just been announced that South Korea will be the “market focus” of the 2014 London Book Fair. The London Book Fair, in case you are not familiar with it, is a 3-day event that takes place at Earls Court in April each year. The LBF describes itself as “the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels” (from LBF website), which is true in a sense, but sounds somewhat uninviting for those of us not in the business. However, since I have attended the fair a couple of times in the past I can tell you there is plenty for ‘just’ readers too: you can browse (and buy) a wide selection of books, talk to like-minded people – other readers, but also authors, translators, editors, publishers are all about – and attend seminars (some free, some not). In the past, the London Book Fair has included a Literary Translation Centre with all kinds of interesting talks.
Each year the fair has a country focus: in 2013 it’s Turkey and, in 2014, as we now know, it will be South Korea. Being the market focus of the fair means that the spotlight will be placed on the publishing trade of the selected country. In order words: we can expect to see many South Korea publishers and their books, as well as some authors and translators as a “Cultural Programme” is normally part of the market focus events.
Amy Webster, the director of LBF Market Focus, explained the choice for South Korea as follows
Korea is a fascinating part of the world with a thriving literary scene and, as a top 10 publishing market, it is increasingly important for the international publishing community. We look forward to delivering an exciting professional and cultural programme around Korea Market Focus, in partnership with The Korean Publishers Association and UK partners The British Council and the Publishers Association (UK) (quote via Bookseller).
Fingers crossed that they will bring in people like Shin Kyung-Sook (as part of the “Authors of the Day” programme) and that translation rights for many Korean books will also be negotiated!