British Jamaican headlines The London Book Fair 2019

The London Book Fair (LBF) is now in its 48th year and attracts thousands of national and international visitors, exhibitors, publishers, agents and media to the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital. Hosted at Olympia Exhibition and Conference Centre, Kensington from March 12, it offers a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future and brings direct access to customers, content and emerging markets.

For the third year, London Book and Screen Week is also added with the Book Fair as the pivotal three-day event within a seven-day programme.

Another addition to LBF is Poet’s Corner which will be headlined this year by the award-winning poet, Raymond Antrobus. The Hackney-born whose his father is Jamaican and mother English, has a string of accolades, include the Poetry Book Society Choice, taking the poetry scene by storm with his electrifying performances at such events as Glastonbury and Latitude. His debut collection The Perseverance, has been widely acclaimed for its powerful exploration of the poet’s own British-Jamaican heritage and d-Deaf experience. Antrobus himself is deaf and the book describes his own experience as well stories of other deaf people.

Raymond Antrobus commented:

“I am honoured and humbled to be appointed the second ever Poet of the Fair. I hope my presence enlivens and advocates for poetry and proves it is an art form living both on and off the page, living democratically among readers of all kinds, younger or older.”

Jack Thomas, Director at The London Book Fair, commenting on the addition of Poet’s Corner to the event said:

“Following a record-breaking year of poetry sales in 2018, we’re hugely excited to be hosting our second year of Poet’s Corner and continuing to place poetry at the heart of The London Book Fair.”

Antrobus will feature on Wednesday 13 March in conversation about his work when he joins a line-up of poets, publishers, journalists, educators, sponsored by National Book Council,.

In January 2019 figures show poetry sales at an all-time high, with two thirds of buyers under the age of 34. In 2018 1.3 million volumes of poetry were sold in the UK, a 12 per cent increase.(Source: Nielsen via the Guardian).

Among the numerous literary luminaries confirmed for The Poets Corner Line-Up include:

  • Instapoetry: an insider’s guide  (Tuesday 12 March, 10am) Kirsty Melville of publisher Andrews McMeel discovered Rupi Kaur, launching Milk and Honey and Kaur’s second book The Sun and Her Flowers to huge success – combined sales are now over 5 million copies.
  • London Undercurrents – Poems About London’s Unsung Heroines with Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire (Wednesday 13 March, 11:30am)
  • Who Do We Think We Are Talking To? – Writing, Publishing and Reviewing Poetry Now – a discussion with Times Literary Supplement editors Michael Caines, Alan Jenkins and Camille Ralphs and guests (Wednesday 13 March, 1pm)
  • The Poet of the Fair, Raymond Antrobus, in conversation with Isobel Colchester of Poet in the City (Wednesday 13 March, 4pm)
  • Poetry in Schools: the inspiring real life stories behind the figures – presented by Charlotte Hacking of CLPE, with input from Joseph Coelho (Thursday 14 March, 1pm)

Ionie Benjamin

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