The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes and new challenges to our world. Faced with this unprecedented situation, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2021 has forged ahead to redesign and reinvent its rich programme of events. Many new features have been developed – even more than before – along with a comprehensive digital programme of lectures, illustration exhibitions, conferences, seminars, workshops and awards that will continue online over the whole year.

The features implemented will now be among the Fair’s permanent assets, allowing everyone access to a wide range of content and opportunities. Among them is the Global Rights Exchange (GRE). The international copyright trading and content licensing platform, launched in 2020 as a “replacement” of the Fair’s core business of buying and selling rights, has been redeveloped and now boasts many new features, providing a user-friendly tool facilitating the business of buying and selling rights. As well as extending its business environment, BCBF is also broadening its reach to include a wider professional audience across the global publishing industry with its new initiative BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus) – organized in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) –. This new section will include a one-day Industry Conference, a Rights Training Course, a Translation Forum, Publisher Pitches, a Self-Publishing Conference, an Author Ambassador programme, and Dante 700 lecture. All BBPlus events will be held online in 2021, in line with BCBF.

The Fair has also launched Open Up – The BCBF Skill Box, a brand-new online programme of conferences, webinars, portfolio reviews and workshops extending the Fair’s activities over the whole year and offering a great opportunity to learn, dialogue, discover new opportunities and enjoy the full immersion experience of being part of the international children’s publishing community.

Among its many initiatives, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair organises a programme of events aimed at promoting Aldus Up’s goals, addressing core topics for the book sector such as translation promotion, digitisation, and new models to develop and engage with book professionals.

Here are the first activities organised within the framework of Aldus Up for BCBF 2021:

Machine Translation & Human Creativity – online International Conference (Live 13 March 2021 / On Demand 20 March-30 June 2021)

A close look at the characteristics, practice and recent results of machine translation of literary works, with special focus on children’s books. Prominent sector specialists take stock of the situation, considering the theory behind ongoing research but also engaging in practical workshops to take an in-depth look at the tools available and the results produced in the field of creative literary texts.

BolognaRagazzi CrossMedia Award

Bologna Children’s Book Fair has decided to reformulate the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award – the digital prize created a decade ago – broadening its scope and strengthening its connection with the world of books. The brand new BolognaRagazzi CrossMedia Award aims to select the best publishing projects that expand their narrative universe across different media, or are a narrative extension of a project originated in other media. The International Jury, composed of experts in interactive and graphic design, new media, video games, film and television, will examine books derived from multimedia projects, and narrative works originally produced by the world of traditional publishing that have been successfully included or expanded across other platforms such as television, cinema, videogames, mobile devices, or smart speakers.

Content Reigns Supreme. New Digital Landscapes in Publishing and Licensing – online Masterclass (Live 22 April 2021 / On Demand 2 May-30 June 2021)

What are the different approaches to ensure children’s content that is both engaging and unique? How can you broaden your business through multiple media channels, brands and consumer experience? This online Masterclass combines the rich cross-media expertise of Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, from publishing through to licensing and digital. Reserved for professionals in the publishing, licensing, media, and digital fields, it will be an intense day of sessions providing insights into the main global trends in children’s content development.

The Worldwide Illustrators Survival Portfolio – online Portfolio Review (Live 12 June 2021)

24 international reviewers – illustrators, art directors and agents – will connect in videoconference from all corners of the world to review the portfolios of 240 Illustrators and give them tips on how to proceed on a career path.

BolognaBookPlus Headline International Conference (Live 14 June 2021)

BBPlus presents its first global general publishing conference, entitled Forging Forward: The Pandemic – An Interruption or An Opportunity to Rethink.

Co-chairs Bodour Al Qasimi, IPA President, and Richard Charkin, Mensch Publishing, will guide the audience through a packed programme covering the publishing business post-Covid, accessibility, education, inclusivity, changing business models, technological enablement, sustainability, and more. There will be lots of bonus content included, in addition to the main programme.

Down the rabbit hole: working (and surviving) as a translator of children’s literature (Live 14 June)

What are the general working conditions for translators of children’s literature in Europe? What are their fees, royalties, contracts, negotiating power and visibility? An international panel will discuss good practices in different countries with a focus on what can be done to improve the situation.

BolognaBookPlus Literary Translation Forum (Live 15 June 2021)
Literature crosses cultures and geographies through the expertise of literary translators, often seen as the unsung heroes in the publishing supply chain. This new Literary Translation Forum shines a light on this important sector. Two eminent translators will take part in a Translation Slam Italian/English, and speakers from around the globe will debate the current challenges and opportunities for those in the business of translating literature. Event’s partners at Words without Borders will help shape this important and compelling event.