London Book Fair 2020; Derby Edition

So with the ‘Big 5’ pulling out of the London Book Fair that was due to happen this week because of COVID-19 precautions, the decision was made to cancel the LBF- but thanks to our amazing lecturers at Derby uni, Cat, David, & Stevie, we still made the trip down to London to do some bookish things!

Far and few, far and few
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.
– Edward Lear

These were the words that greeted me this morning by the very kind, but very eccentric man at the Words on the Water bookshop. With my newly dyed hair (see if you can spot me in the photographs) and the stains still on my hands (and neck), I couldn’t help but laugh- I can only dream of being that on-point with poetry that I can recite it at will and apply it to any situation that I may come across!

My visit to this watery, boat-based bookshop was a spur of the moment trip; I had meant to be visiting the Penguin UK with the rest of my course mates, but after waking up in East Croydon after 4 hours sleep (I can now confirm I am terrible at playing Worms and Rocket League) with the worst sore throat and blisters on my feet, an hour-ish ride on the train and then a further journey on the tube was the last thing I could handle- as sad as I was to make that decision! But a few more hours resting and I made my way to St. Pancras, realised I was too early for my train home, so went to explore the bookshop on the boat.

The day before, however, was fantastic. I cannot say a big enough thank-you, nor a big enough ‘well done!!’ to Cat for organising everything that she did! Beginning with a walking tour of some of the most well-known book tour stops in London, including the iconic Gay’s the Word bookshop where I learnt about an incredible queer book subscription service titled Queer Book Box that delivers one LGBT+ fiction book to your door every month, and I am definitely subscribing!

After the tour, and when my feet very much wanted to stop walking (I walked 25,000 steps) we were lucky enough to get a small tour of London’s Hachette office and learn about some of the goings-on that would have itherwise occurred at the London Book Fair, as well as a nice look off their rooftop terrace!

The day ended at the pub (naturally!), where Cat had incredibly managed to gather an entire roomful of lovely bookish people who volunteered their time (and money- London drinks are not cheap) to come and meet us and tell us all about their different roles- we were lucky to have an incredibly wide range of publishing professionals; production personnel, editors, literary scouts, agents, bloggers, sales and finance people- it was amazing. I am so thankful for everyone who came to see us students and share your wisdom with us.

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