Spain will be Market Focus country at the London Book Fair 2007. New Spanish Books asked Emma House, director of the London Book Fair, to share her views.
At the last London Book Fair , Mexico was invited to take part in the Market Focus Programme, and next time, it will be Spain 's turn. Is it just a coincidence, or is literature in Spanish in fashion in the UK?
The Spanish language is very important as it's the second most spoken language in the world. At the London Book Fair, we wanted to do two hits in the Spanish language because doing just one wouldn't reflect its richness. Also, Spain and Latin America are very different, so that's why we decided to invite Mexico first and then Spain .
As mentioned, Spain is going to take part in the Market Focus Programme. Is this event going to strengthen the ties between British and Spanish publishers?
We hope so. We want to put the Spanish language in focus. Spanish literature is already popular in the UK and we want to encourage it. The ministries, the publishers, the agents... all of them are doing their best.
This bulletin, for example, is very important, as it gives the prospective publishers a synopses of books they may want to translate to English.
How many Spanish publishers and agents are going to be at the London Book Fair?
At the moment, we have provisional and confirmed bookings from 19 Spanish exhibitors.
Which activities have been programmed around Spain as part of the Market Focus Programme?
There are two meetings arranged by the Spanish Commercial Office; there is a Spanish Writers Evening at the South Bank Centre, and an International Reception will happen at the fair...
And as the London Book Fair is not open to public, we want to have Spanish writers signing books in the main bookshops so that Londoners can participate too.
In Spain , books are published in Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician... Are publishers who work in these other languages going to attend the fair? Do you think that this type of literature could fit in the UK ?
There are publishers from Catalonia , Castilla y León... We have a wide variety of publishers and agents at the Book Fair. Maybe there is not a big market for books in these original languages, but they are always of interest if translated.
The UK is the second most popular marketfor Spanish book exports. Do you think this trend can develop in the future as more Britons learn Spanish? In which way can Spanish and British publishers take advantage of this opportunity?
Anything “Hispanic” is trendy in the UK and schools are offering more Spanish classes each year. Besides, Spain is easy to get to; Madrid and Barcelona are very popular and people who travel there are more likely to learn Spanish. So I think there are big opportunities for publishing companies.
Also, translated literature is in much sharper focus in the UK right now; the trend of translating foreign books is growing. That's what we are promoting in the London Book Fair. With the Market Focus Programme, we encourage crossing borders.
Who is your favourite Spanish writer?
I love Rosa Montero, she's one of my favourites.
Which is the last book in Spanish you have read?
The Nautical Chart, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
If you had to recommend a Spanish novel to a friend, which one would it be?
I would recommend they read “Shadow of the Wind”, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.