Monday, March 26, 2012

An Inside Look at the Bologna Children's Book Fair

Every year, publishers, agents, authors, and illustrators from around the world gather in Bologna, Italy, to sell rights, talk shop, and celebrate their mutual love for children's literature. I was lucky to be invited to attend this year as a guest of my agent, and am delighted to be able to share an inside look at the fair with Apocalypsies readers.

Unlike some book fairs that host many author signings and encourage the public to come peruse the newest titles, Bologna is a trade/business fair at heart. Agents and publishers attend with the intention of garnering interest for their books in foreign markets, and publishers are on the hunt for new titles to add to their lists. There are even property buyers for film and graphic novels present.

Though there are publisher booths of every size and style, some publishers go all out, creating elaborate structures that showcase their lead titles and hold plenty of tables and chairs for conducting business.

Random House's Booth

Macmillan's Booth

Illustrators are well-represented at the fair, from aspiring to renowned. Fair-goers are greeted at the entrance by a massive wall housing a mish-mash of art works in all styles and genres. Illustrators use this space to display their best work in hopes that an agent or publisher might take notice. Some booths also host illustrator "face-off" competitions, and many award-winning and spotlighted picture books are on display throughout the fair.

The Illustrator Wall

The fair after-hours are equally lively, when the city's cafes and trattorias fill up with publishing folk to have more laid-back meetings, or talk about anything other than business for a change. Some publishers are even known for their annual cocktail parties.

Last but certainly not least, here are some Apocalypsie covers that I spotted as I meandered the fair's halls:

Crewel by Gennifer Albin (U.K. edition)
Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Auracle by Gina Rosati
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (with apologies for the horrible picture quality - the Penguin booth was always cram-packed and this was the closest I could get!)
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Marissa Meyer (me) with Cinder (Italian edition)


  1. That's awesome you got to go. Thanks for sharing some of what it's like. Congrats on having your book spotlighted.

  2. Ooooh, so happy to get a peek inside! Glad it was a good trip!

  3. Awesome, thanks for sharing! And congrats on getting to go!!

  4. Woo!!! Looks amazing--thanks for sharing. <3

  5. Neat! Wow, I am loving that Italian CINDER cover too :)

  6. Thanks for sharing these great pictures, Marissa! I loved seeing them, as well as one more of your covers!!

  7. Wow, this was very cool to read. I felt like I was there. It must have been so much fun for you!

  8. Look at your display! It's absolutely gorgeous!

  9. 2018 Bologna Children’s Book Fair will be held from 26th to 29th March as a four-day event in Bologna, Italy. Bologna Book Fair is a highly regarded event, popular for showcasing products and services related to the field of digital media, publishing, and licensing, along with discovering new market trends in children’s book industry.