Bologna on the horizon

January 31, 2008

It’s a beautiful day here in lovely Virginia and the sun is pouring through the white plantation shutters of the Greenhouse. The floor is occupied not only by piles of papers and manuscripts, plus accoutrements of my smart new Blackberry, but also by the resident Greenhouse dog – an elderly, snoring Golden Retriever named Hogan, comatose under my desk. But it’s also a scene of great activity! Apart from the fact that I’m reading the most dazzling manuscript (just revised by one of my wonderful debut authors), which is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up with excitement, I’m also in full throttle booking appointments for the upcoming Bologna book fair. For those of you who don’t know, Bologna is not only a gorgeous, ancient Italian town – it’s also the scene of the annual international children’s book fair where all the children’s publishers of the world gather to network, do business, exchange tips on what’s hot and what’s not – and eat some glorious dinners. For me, this Bologna will be one of the most exciting ever – my first time as an agent, and the first Bologna outing for the Greenhouse. In three days of meetings – roughly every half-hour from 9am – 5pm (or later) I shall be seeing American and British publishers, film scouts and other industry movers and shakers. It’s a glorious opportunity to talk about my authors and what excites me about their work. Then it’s out for dinner and it all starts again, laced with some great food and wine, until one staggers ‘home’ somewhat late, all ready to be up bright (well, maybe not) and early for next day’s appointments. This is what makes children’s publishing so fantastic – friends and colleagues all over the world, all with a common passion for good writing, all looking for the very best books for their particular market.So the schedule’s starting to fill up and my thoughts are turning to Italy . . . Roll on, March 30! (Oh, and if you’d like to meet up with me in Bologna, do drop me a line!)