Who ever said that January was a boring month?  At IPR our 2018 has started with a bang, and this week has been especially busy.  

We kicked off on Monday night when we attended a really important panel event put on by Byte the Book at The House of St Barnabas in Soho, London.  A really stunning venue, with the talk taking place in the chapel, lit by candles.  With the discussion entitled ‘New Voices: How Can We Support Diversity in Writing, Publishing and Reading in the UK?’, the panel consisted of Joy Francis (Director of Words of Colour), Sharmaine Lovegrove (Publisher at Dialogue Books, Little Brown), Natalie Jerome (Brand and Licensing Director at Bonnier Publishing UK) and Chris McCrudden (Author and Director of Strategy and Media Planning at Golin). It was ably chaired by Julia Kingsford (Director of Kingsford Campbell Literary and Marketing Agency) who, along with Nikesh Shukla, recently won the Frankfurt Book Fair ‘Disruptor of the Year’ category at FutureBook Awards.  There was much talk about how we can encourage new voices in publishing and how can we support diversity across the industry, with key words like ‘monoculture’ and ‘intersectionality’ running throughout the debate.  One of the most striking things we took from the evening was a comment from Sharmaine Lovegrove who explained that time and time again she has been told by publishers that there is ‘no audience’ for books written by BAME authors and about BAME issues.  Based on what statistics, you might well ask? Not a lot it would seem!  So, despite, raising awareness about the lack of diversity in writing, publishing and reading, we still have a long way to go…

On Wednesday, we linked up with our Frankfurt Book Fair colleagues Robert Liebermann (Director of Strategic Marketing) and Martina Wolff de Carrasco (Key Account Manager for Science and Education) for Bett 2018, at ExCel in East London.  For those who haven’t been to Bett before, it’s a huge trade fair where you can see all the latest innovation in EdTech, and catch up on all the exciting new technology being used in today’s classrooms.  It’s also a really important insight into how schools and colleges are striving to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, and looking ahead to the future of education.  It was an impressive event, with lots of cool stands, a stand-out presentation by Microsoft about the skills needed by the Class of 2030, and a simply massive screen (a bit like an IMAX cinema!) in the Bett arena.

Finally, we were chuffed to be invited to the 8th Annual Publishing Birthday Tweet Up in King’s Cross on Wednesday evening.  Organized by the wonderful trio Alastair Horne, Suzanne Kavanagh and Suzanne Collier, it was a great opportunity to network with publishing colleagues, swap some industry gossip, and to meet some new faces.  Thanks for asking us along, guys, and Happy Birthday!  You don’t look a day over 21, and we loved the beetroot sandwiches….

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