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This report is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

Two Book Fairs Michael Schmidt
At Islington Town Hall and at the Barbican Centre two book fairs were held in March and April. The first was the Radical and Third World Fair, the second the London Book Fair. Both were international in scope, well-organized as such things go and well-attended. In different ways they illustrated trends in contemporary publishing.

The Radical and Third World Book Fair invited the general public to attend, and the general public accepted the invitation in large numbers. Books were on sale and several radical publishers who generally eschew the usual bookselling outlets and concentrate on community shops displayed their lists. In connection with the Fair there were various events, including one very successful poetry reading which brought together English-language writers from the Black Commonwealth and provided an opportunity to hear and buy their work. The Fair itself had the feeling of an extremely large and colourful church bazaar. Among the publishers I was glad to discover was the Paris firm Editions Caribbeens, with their distinguished list of French-language Caribbean books-poetry, fiction, history and sociology. The displays were, by and large, functional. A number of major publishers with specialist lists exhibited.

By contrast, the London Book Fair in the Barbican Centre was a business fair. The general public only got in in disguise, and very few braved the guards at the door. There were literary agents, librarians, some teachers and lecturers, foreign publishers, printers, and an assortment of journalists and other people whose trade is connected with books. ...


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