The Blagger's Guide To...The London Book Fair

'Horrific news - no sandwiches in the press room'

*With more than 1,600 exhibiting companies from 58 countries including Turkey, Iran and Kuwait, and about 23,000 attendees (42 per cent of those from overseas), the London Book Fair can appear to be daunting to the average Joe Public. OK, it is daunting, full stop. But it's not all industry jargon, feverish networking, and seminars with names like "Code Mantra: Metadata Management and Distribution Made Easy". Sometimes, it's quite exciting, too.

*LBF is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The first fair was held in the basement of the Berners Hotel, off Oxford Street, in 1971, with 22 exhibiting publishers. This year, the British Council's "Market Focus" placed a spotlight on Russian literature. The Russian Pavilion was the largest to date, with more than 60 major publishers.

*At last year's fair, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland prevented many of the international delegates from reaching London. Even Tony Blair missed a lavish reception at Kensington Roof Gardens with all his international publishers.

*At Tuesday evening's party at the Roof Gardens to launch the fair, guests were even more than usually grateful to the British Council for its Russian focus. Amid the flamingos, guests were offered Russian-influenced canapés, and chilled vodka. Could this explain the tales told by one guest, who claimed to have been at a recent reception at the Russian embassy at which (she insisted) Ferrero Rocher were served?

*If last year's fair was remembered as the Volcano Fair, then this year's, held again at London's Earls Court Exhibition Centre, rapidly became thought of as the austerity book fair. Some delegates were horrified by the news that there were no sandwiches to be had in the press room, but there was a stampede when a rumour got out (courtesy of an Australian publisher, we hear) that they were handing out whisky at the Scottish publishers' stand.

*Publishers at the Verso stand were looking forward to May's launch of Ross Perlin's Intern Nation, a timely exposé of the exploitation of unpaid labour in coveted job markets. More timely than they knew, since the seminar "How to Get Into Publishing" was going on at the same time, with some industry insiders extolling unpaid internships as the best way to get ahead, and others excoriating the practice.

*The weirdest deal of the week has to be Constable & Robinson's acquisition of UK and Commonwealth rights to The Will Self Murders, a "striking" debut by Samantha Mills. It is billed as "a dark novel which aims to be the literary equivalent of Being John Malkovich – with Will Self as the centre of fascination". Has its author been offered membership of the shadowy Will Self Club yet, we wonder?

*Other notable deals: the "unexpurgated, brain-jangling" memoirs of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, for HarperCollins; HarperPress's acquisition of both a history of music hall by the former PM John Major, and a biography of Charles Dickens by the actor and national treasure Simon Callow; a biography of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore called One Leg Too Few (Cornerstone); Roger Moore's guide to the cars, gadgets and girls of James Bond, to Michael O'Mara; Tweeting the Universe, by the brilliant science writer, Marcus Chown, to Faber; a life of Steve Jobs, to Little, Brown; and a fiction title called Gypsy Wedding, which will be published by Arrow in August. Told you it wasn't all about boring metadata.

Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape