Friday, March 26, 2010

Bologna: Business as usual
Liz Thomson - BookBrunch

Among fair-goers in Bologna, there seems little sign of recession. The restaurants are busy and the so-called Pink Bar – actually an ice cream parlour and cake shop where book people gather until the early hours, sipping Prosecco and Amaretto and other native libations – was as crazy as ever. There are birthdays to celebrate - Chicken House’s 10th, Walker’s 30th, Puffin’s 70th and Scholastic’s 90th - and authors to fete. Orion hosted an international dinner for Michelle Paver, while Cornelia Funke, visiting from Coldwater Canyon in LA (where she lives in a house once owned by Faye Dunaway), turned the tables and invited all her international publishers to dinner. Her agent, Andrew Nurnberg, said it was a characteristically generous gesture – and, it has to be said, unusual among authors in general.
Regular attenders confirmed that the fair was busier than livelier than the 2009 event. But it has not returned to the level of activity it saw before the recession.

A handful of books made early running: Mice, “an electrifying psychological drama about two women and an intruder” aimed at young adults and written by Gordon Reece, which is coming from Allen & Unwin Australia, was snapped up by Pan Mac’s Maria Rejt for her new list, Mantle, and, in the US by Viking for a six-figure sum, with Simon & Schuster the underbidder.

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