Looking back on our first London Book Fair now the week-long hangover has finally lifted, it all went quite amazingly well. Our launch party at the Free Word Centre sold out; everyone was suitably impressed by performance & readings from Khairani Barokka & Mui Poopoksakul, we sold a pile of books, & the transfer tattoos were also a hit (sneaky advertising for the rest of the fair).
The next morning saw the annual schlep to west London and a panel on 'Translating from the Margins: the challenges & opportunities of working with under-represented languages'. Cue much enthusing about the opportunity for curation (sorry) and canon-building - the kind of stereotype-busting canon that includes the distinctive aesthetics & nonconforming narratives that make our hearts beat faster (also: women!). Mui spoke passionately about the responsibility she feels as almost the sole international representative for Thai literature, while publisher Deborah explained how innovative work is usually found outside the establishment, and wished she hadn't pounded through the launch party wine with quite such reckless abandon.
You couldn't walk round the fair without tripping over a TAP author: Okka popped up at the Poetry Pavilion, run by our brilliant sales team Inpress, for readings & discussion on poetry & mental health; Hamid Ismailov introduced his latest-in-English, The Underground (neatly coinciding with his Uzbek-original story being featured in the Guardian), while Prabda Yoon rounded us off with a panel on, ahem, 'How the Postcolonial World is Challenging the Metropolitan Centres of Publishing' - despite the fact that Thailand is distinguished by being one of the few Asian countries never to be colonised. Having said that, we're all About 'tilting the axis of world literature from the centre to the margins, thereby challenging that very division', so it was great to have yet more confirmation that the margins are where it's at. And the icing on the cake? A full-page feature in the Bookseller. Hell yes. We have arrived.