Members of the Gibraltar National Book Council recently went to the London Book Fair to look at possible ways of promoting Gibraltar Literature at such events in the future. The visit, organised by Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry for Culture, aimed to look at the value of having a Gibraltar stand at next year’s festival with a view to promoting and representing local authors and their work. The three-day event was held at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in Kensington and saw hundreds of professionals come together to consider the challenges facing the book industry, and to explore new opportunities and areas of development.
Council members, author Mark Sanchez and GCS Head of Development Davina Barbara described the fair as a positive and valuable experience and are convinced that future editions of the event could be used to promote Gibraltar, its linguistic identity, and its literature and writers. Contacts were made with major organisations such as the British Council, Literature Ireland and the Book Council of Wales, as well as with smaller entities such as Literature Across Frontiers and Barefoot Books. They also met with members of the Maltese Book Council with whom they had an interesting session looking at how they could incorporate some of Malta’s ideas and strategies into Gibraltar’s model and also exchanged ideas on possible future collaboration.
The book fair also had a diverse seminar programme allowing council members to learn about the latest technologies, industry models and statistics relating to book sales and content. Furthermore, they were able to attend seminars on eBook publishing, author marketing strategies and book cover design. “We have learned so much during our three-day visit to the London Book Fair,” Gibraltar National Council member Davina Barbara said, “… not just about books and the publishing industry, but also about how small territories like Malta and Estonia go about promoting their language, identity and writing. People are really interested in hearing more about Gibraltar’s cultural and literary output and we feel the London Book Fair would provide us with an ideal platform to showcase our writers and their work.”