For the third year, Bologna Children Book Fair organised its fellowship programme in the framework of Aldus network, in cooperation with the Italian Trade Agency.
The Fair invited a group of young professionals working in publishing for a series of meeting with Italian publishers, networking and training, plus the possibility to attend the 2019 edition of the Fair.
We asked the partecipants to describe their experience and summarise it with three keywords.
Fiona Scoble, Fiction Editor at Nosy Crow, London UK
Keywords: Comprehensive, friendly, inspiring
The Aldus Fellowship granted me a comprehensive insight into the unique culture and opportunities that Bologna Children’s Book Fair presents, both at the fair itself and through the network that surrounds it.
We were introduced to a variety of Italian publishing houses, from the small, highly creative Topipittori to the incredibly varied and innovative lists of publishing giants Giunti Editori and Mondadori. I found meeting these publishers, and equally, meeting the other editors on the fellowship, very inspiring. It was fascinating to discover how publishers’ relationships with bookshops and the public differs between countries, and to discuss our markets. Our conversations inspired me to increase my awareness of international authors and illustrators.
I was struck by how much the fair embraces artists and creativity, and how effectively it weaves this together with business. There are a huge number of talks for authors and illustrators, and “the illustrators’ wall” runs around the entrance hall and is a free-for-all for artists wishing to show their work. The fair also works with organisations in Bologna like the beautiful Giannino Stoppani Children’s Bookshop and Hamelin Associazione Culturale, facilitating numerous exhibitions and workshops around the city. These provide rich opportunities to discover new talent, and to introduce local families to new books and authors.
The Fellowship provided fantastic opportunities to meet a huge variety of people connected to the fair. The friendly nature of the programme made everything feel accessible, and it was really a privilege to be granted this unique insight into the fair and the incredible network that surrounds it.
Inga Abelite, Managing editor of Latvijas Mediji, Latvia
Keywords: passion, community, development
Aldus Fellowship for me was and still is all about passion, community and development. The organisers have managed to ensure that we as young professionals get more insight in many aspects of publishing industry – we had possibility to meet and have conversations with professionals from different publishing houses, artists, cultural foundations and book-sellers, companies of various size and experience, and all of people with great passion for books and culture. It emphasized one more time that every amazing and successfully done project starts with a great idea and excitement. I enjoyed also the cultural program of the Fellowship, because it is always good to understand more of customs of the country from where comes the companies you work with. We were introduced not only with Italian Book market but also with Italian way of living which are both very valuable knowledges.
The Fellowship helped us to understand how to work in Bologna Children’s Book Fair – thanks to guided tours and explanations we had next time in Fair we will be able to get the best of it without getting confused or missing something.
Taking part in Aldus Fellowship gave another meaning to my understanding of the community of book-publishers and other people related to industry. It was not only very enriching to get known with many very welcoming and ready-to-share-their-skills people; being in Fellowship helped us to enlarge our list of connections, starting with 5 other well-chosen fellows.
Every day of the Fellowship was very intense – filled with meetings and events which brought new ideas for the work we do at home. I look on Fellowship as on the one of the milestones of my career – definitely the one with an impact.
The Aldus Fellowship gave me possibility to attend the conference “The Kids Want Mobile!” which was conference specialized entirely on digital products for kids. The publishing house I work for doesn’t yet work in this area therefore I was interested to hear the experience stories and tips for the beginners. Even I must admit that big part of the conference was more suitable for those who have hands-on experience I found it well balanced and easy to follow – if you are in the field this is definitely the conference you must attend.
Jovita Markutėlytė, Head Editor, Children’s and YA Fiction at Alma littera (Lithuania)
Key words: Italian publishing, inspired, culture
Aldus programme was a true professional adventure of Italian publishing. It is a great opportunity for young publishers to make first contacts with publishers, literary agents and authors from all around the world, and to feel the spirit of the most famous children’s book fair in Europe. It was my first time in Bologna and left a special impression.
The programme was very intense but worth it. Meeting with professionals from Topi Pittori, Mondadori, Rizzoli, Giunti, based in gorgeous places in Milan and Florence, was a very interesting experience. Every one of them who we met had a passion for children’s literature and it left me inspired.
Monica’s and Roberta’s warm welcome and hospitality played a huge part in this journey of professional and cultural experience as we ate delicious food in great Italian restaurants and met new interesting people every evening.
I’m very fortunate that I was given the opportunity to see Bologna’s Children’s Book Fair. I’m sure that I will keep in touch with other fellows and exchange experiences of the world of publishing.
Ruth Case-Green, Rights &Co-edition at Scholastic, London UK
Keywords: insightful, enjoyable, memorable
When I found out I had been selected to be part of the Bologna Aldus Fellowship for 2019 I was so excited. I currently work as the Rights Assistant at Scholastic Children’s Books so have heard many tales of the Bologna Book Fair. I was intrigued to see it for myself!
From the second we arrived in Bologna our lovely hosts, Roberta and Monica from BCBF, made sure that we would see as many publishers, book stores, illustrators and cultural associations as our schedule would allow. I loved visiting all the Italian publishers, and it was so interesting to see the similarities and the differences between publishing houses and offices in Italy and the UK (I think we all had office envy when we visited Giunti’s stunning mansion house in Florence!). One of my favourite parts of the trip was visiting the studio of Laura Manaresi and Giovanni Manna. We learnt about their process of working and creating books together and we were also able to have a sneak peek at their beautiful new book about Leonardo da Vinci.
Ina Steinman, Children’s book editor at Cappelen Damm (Norway)
Keywords: Immersive. Informative, Inspiring
Being a part of the Bologna Aldus Fellowship Programme is one of the major highlights of my publishing career so far. Our group of six young female editors and publishing professionals became good friends over the course of the nine days we spent together, and I’m convinced that we will keep in touch. Our time in Italy was immersive, our days long and eventful, but everything we did was inspiring and fun. It felt extra special to visit with Italian publishers in Milano and Florence before the start of the fair, and we also got to know Bologna quite well. While the meetings with all the Italian publishers were extremely interesting and useful, the conversations we had within our group proved equally informative and educational. The book fair itself was massive, overwhelming (in a good way!) and inspiring. Seeing the sheer number of illustrators who leave their art on the walls, listening to the talks and visiting various stands was incredibly interesting, and it was extra fun to explore with other members of the fellowship group. While this was my first big international book fair, I definitely feel like I gained both the knowledge necessary and confidence to attend many more fairs in the future. I hope to return to Bologna next year, and I’m so thankful to the Aldus Fellowship Programme for preparing me in the best possible ways.
Katja Škapin, editor at DIDAKTA Publishing House (Slovenia)
Keywords: informative, diversity, well organised
I believe the program was very well organised, we were able to meet so many important and interesting people and got inspired by them. I liked the fact that events we attended and places we visited covered pretty much all areas that you get in touch with when working in publishing. For me as an editor the most attractive places were of course Giunti, Mondadori, Pulce and Topipittori publishing houses.
The program was also very well balanced with formal and informal activities. Some events were more business and formal (I liked the visit of the library and the bookshop Giannino Stoppani) while other ones were informal, like the meeting of a couple of writer and illustrator in their home which added a more friendy and homey tone to this big international event, called Bologna Book Fair. The same goes for dinners where we were able to make new contacts with different people in publishing field and share our experiences with them. Roberta Chinni and Monica Garuti from BCBF did a great job, I would recommend to anyone who is young and new in publishing field to apply for Bologna Fellowship.