Posts Tagged ‘London Book Fair’

This post is related to my trip to the London Book Fair 2014 (see my earlier blog post), and covers my notes and though from when I attended the seminar:

Where are the Women in Translation?

I thought this was a really interesting discussion between a 4 woman panel, watched by a mainly female audience! Important points were made:

  • Gatekeeping seems to be keeping female translators from getting into the market.
  • Only 2 women were on the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize last year and 1 got to the shortlist.
  • No female authors have won the IFFP but 9 female translators have shared the prize with their male authors.
  • Apparently some women are sexist against women in translation (?)
  • Women are not as assertive as men – female translators have more things to do (day jobs, raising a family, etc) and have less time to pitch books.
  • Some people think it’s OK to not publish women’s books, but if they were gay, black, etc, there would be a riot!
  • There’s a “chicken and egg” situation: women are not being published because they don’t pitch books, and there’s an anecdotal belief that women don’t sell, so they don’t do it.
  • Men only read men’s books, but women will read anything.
  • Women might be of high regard in their home country, but they’re struggling to get into foreign book markets, even though the men have no problem anywhere!
  • Men’s books are still being studied more in universities, and there’s few women’s books on academic booklists.
  • Good books may be coming out but they disappear immediately because there are no reviews of them, whether good or bad!

There was a discussion about the situation in Korea, and Krys Lee pointed out:

  • A few decades ago it was all male translators, and now there are lots of women.
  • More women are winning prizes.
  • The staff in the Korean publishers may be women, but the big decisions are still being made by men.
  • Korean literature is supported by the government, with translators being funded from a young age.

The panel suggested ways to solve the problem with the lack of women in translation:

  • Boycott the London Review of Books because they don’t feature enough books in translation by women.
  • Start a manifesto.
  • Demand diversity.
  • Vote with your feet: people need to read more books by women in translation.
  • Raise awareness.

There was also an interesting bit about covers on books by women, with them being given stereotypical covers with naked women on them and marketed as “chick lit” when they are not that genre. It was felt that people should “let books be books” (like in the recent campaign against gender-biased covers in Children’s books suggests -see the Guardian for more info), and get rid of the naked women on the covers because they are not like lad’s magazines, but maybe such covers should be covered up so people only judge them by their title not their cover! (After all, there have been campaigns to put blank covers over the fronts of lad’s magazines in shops to hide the photos of naked women on them because they are inappropriate.)

I really enjoyed the seminar, and learnt a lot from it! I’m determined to find some of these great female authors and translators and get their books the attention they deserve!

This week is the London Book Fair, and on Tuesday I went down to London for the first day of the Fair. I was a little low on funds after having already spent a fortnight there on placement recently, so I decided to just go for the one day, which turned out to be a l-o-n-g daytrip when you’re travelling from Cumbria to London and back in a day! I had to get the first train of the day just before 7am and and got to the Fair around 10.45am.

Earl's Court Exhibition Centre

Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre

This year is quite special because the LBF is moving next year to Olympia, so it’s their last year at Earl’s Court which is quite sad! This is my 4th year of visiting the LBF and I felt that I had to go to Earl’s Court one last time! I can’t believe they’re redeveloping it!

The writing on the ground about the history of the Fair at Earl's Court, and the future move to Olympia.

The writing on the ground about the history of the Fair at Earl’s Court, and the future move to Olympia.

I had planned to go to the Great Debate first at 11am, but by the time I’d checked my stuff into the cloakroom and worked out where everything was, I had missed the start of it so I decided not to bother and to check out something else instead.

My first seminar was at the Literary Translation Centre, one of my favourite sections of the Fair: Where are the Women in Translation?

Where are the Women in Translation? in the Literary Translation Centre

Where are the Women in Translation? in the Literary Translation Centre

I thought this was a really interesting discussion between a 4 woman panel, watched by a mainly female audience! Some important things that were covered:

  • The impossibly low amount of women in the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
  • Possible reasons that women aren’t being published in translation – assertiveness, sexism, etc.
  • The situation in Korea on women in translation.
  • Ways we can get women’s books out there.
  • Gender-biased book covers.

I really enjoyed the seminar, and learnt a lot from it! I’m determined to find some of these great female authors and translators and get their books the attention they deserve!

Then I went to the SYP’s event How to get into Publishing which was very useful, although I already knew a lot of what is required of people trying to get into publishing. I went mainly to see if there was anything new and to hear about the experiences of people already in the industry because they are always interesting to hear. Essentially, you need to have Curiosity, Initiative and Enthusiasm! My only problem was that they all said they were lucky and in the right place at the right time when they got their lucky break, which doesn’t really help those of us who are struggling to get a foot in the door!

I also went to How to get ahead in Publishing, also by the SYP. This event was also very useful, although probably more aimed at those already in publishing, but it’s useful to know what you need to aim for and the things to think about as your career progresses. The speakers were really interesting, and their advice and experiences were helpful too.

I went back to the Literary Translation Centre for Finest Foreign Literature at the Fair: The 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. This session discussed the books in the IFFP shortlist. Points that were made included:

  • There are 3 women’s titles in the 2014 shortlist, but they have taken their time to get into English and were originally published a while ago.
  • Good books last, even if they cover a popular or recent theme/topic.
  • Books have to succeed as an artefact in their own right.

It was great to hear the discussions of the books and translated fiction in general, and I would like to try to read the books in the shortlist, as I was inspired to read a few books from previous years’ shortlists!

The panel discussing the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014

The panel discussing the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014 at the Literary Translation Centre

I went to The English PEN Literary Salon to listen to two author interviews, Kyung-sook Shin in Conversation with Arifa Akbar, which was translated from Korean to English and took a bit of time, and Helen Dunmore in Conversation with Jane Shilling.

The English PEN

Kyung-sook Shin in Conversation with Arifa Akbar at the English PEN Literature Salon

Helen Dunmore in Conversation with Jane Shilling in the English PEN Literature Salon

Helen Dunmore in Conversation with Jane Shilling in the English PEN Literature Salon

I didn’t stay for long at either, as I was flagging by this point! They were interesting though. I then had some food and then wandered around the stands for a bit in an effort to perk myself up for the last session!

Then I went to my last seminar, Beyond Nordic Noir: An Overview of the Nordic Literary Market. This was a fascinating and informative session because I didn’t know much about the structure of the book industry in the Nordic countries. The things they discussed included:

  • How the Nordic market is trying to move away from the dark side of Nordic literature – the incoming trend seems to be comic books, the complete opposite!
  • How Norway supports its book industry through various measures, and some important data facts.
  • Examples of authors and books coming out of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.

It was a really good session, and I’ll go into more detail about it in my next blog post!

The Beyond Nordic Noir session

The Beyond Nordic Noir session

That was the end of my daytrip to the first day of the London Book Fair, and even though I can’t stay for the other two days, I’m glad I made the trip as it was a very informative day!

Aside from a copy of the Bookseller LBF daily for the first day of the Fair and a copy of Publishing Perspectives, I also picked up a Books Are My Bag tote bag!

Books are my Bag

Books are my Bag

Now I have a way to show the world that “Books are my Bag”!

I hope you enjoyed the London Book Fair if you went! I will be writing some more posts soon with more about the seminars I went to and my thoughts on the issues raised.

Hello!

I hope you all had a great Christmas!

This has been one long year, although it feels like it’s flown by now it’s the end of December! I’m looking back at stuff that happened in 2013 and have composed a little list:

  • I finally finished reading LOTR!
  • I dyed my hair blonde/pink, then blonde/purple, then blonde/brown, and now brown!
  • I went to the London Book Fair.
  • I visited the ICEBAR in London!
  • I spent the best part of an evening exploring the bookshops of London, especially the massive Waterstones Piccadilly!
  • I quit my job which i hated and don’t regret it.
  • I went to my best friend’s wedding. 
  • I watched the Doctor Who 50th anniversary which was really good!

My favourite book that i read this year was probably “Starcrossed: Goddess” by Josephine Angelini, which i had been waiting for about a year to read and bought as soon as it was published! I really enjoyed finding out what happened at the end of the trilogy! See my review for “Goddess (Starcrossed#3)”

I re-read quite a few books this year, but still managed to read a nice selection of new ones too! For the full list, have a look at My 2013 Reading List! I was aiming for 100 books but only managed 93! I might have managed it if i hadn’t been lazy during September when i didn’t really read anything!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog, i really appreciate you for following me and my words, and all i can do now is to say thankyou and wish you a Happy New Year!

See you in 2014!