Armenian Pavilion Secures Spot in London Book Fair

The Armenian pavilion at the London Book Fair

LONDON—The London Book Fair will be held from April 8 to 10, 2014, and will again include the Armenian Pavilion stand, organized with the support of the Armenian Embassy in London and the Armenian Community Council of the United Kingdom.

The Armenian Pavilion first participated in the London Book Fair in 2013, and featured a rich collection of books on art, history, literature, children’s themes, and religion. Publishers from both the Homeland and the Armenian Diaspora introduced their books alongside authors Rouben Galichian, Noune Sarkisian, and Nouritsa Matossian. The stand also featured a unique Facsimile copy (reprint) of the 16th-century “Urbatagirk” by the first Armenian publisher, Hagop Meghapart, presented by the publishing house Edit Print.

The official opening of the Armenian Pavilion on the first day was attended by sponsors and honorable guests. The stand was very well attended by visitors to the fair who approached the stand with a spirit of excitement, inquiry, and curiosity (in part, perhaps, because of the offerings of Grand Candy Chocolates and Ararat Brandy, sponsored by both companies). It is due to this success that the community has decided to repeat the event in 2014, and has already secured the space in Hall 2 at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in Central London.

What makes the idea of the book fair so unique is the presentation of publishers and authors from Armenia and the diaspora on the same stand—which perfectly fits the Armenians as a nation and dispersed people. Diasporan publishers and authors would normally have their books displayed on stands of their respective countries and/or publishing houses; however, by applying this formula, these very same publishers, while still listed under their respective flags, would display their books in the Armenian Pavilion, giving them more concentrated exposure and a wider variety of opportunities.

Prior to registering the Armenian Pavilion, for example, Lebanon showed only one exhibitor. Hamazkayin Publishing and the Catholicosate of Cilicia Printing House increased Lebanon’s listing to three in 2013, but both books were displayed at the Armenian Pavilion stand. This was also the case for U.S. and UK authors and publishers. Were it not for the Armenian Pavilion, Armenia, too, would not have been represented at the book fair.

Coincidently, the market focus of the London Book Fair 2013 was Turkey. Armenian participation did nevertheless take place, and books on the Armenian Genocide were on display. “Turkey in all its colors,” as branded by the fair, did not present authors from Turkey’s minority communities—namely Greek, Kurdish, and Armenian authors. Talks were held during the event on how minority literature, its publishing, and translation were hampered by Turkey’s state policy.

The London Book Fair was a powerful experience for all those who were involved in its organization, as well as for the exhibitors. It provided a solid platform for the publishers, agents, booksellers, and authors to establish links, long-term partnerships, and business connections. It was also an opportunity for Armenians to present their literary heritage and legacy to the UK and the world.

Exhibiting is free to qualifying participants, who will be asked to exhibit at a fair held by the UK-Armenian community immediately after the end of the London Book Fair. For more information, e-mail armenian.pavilion@gmail.com.

The London Book Fair will be held from April 8 10, 2014, and will again include the Armenian Pavilion stand

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