LONDON, England—The publishing world descended on London from April 8-10 with exhibitors from around the world discussing and negotiating contracts at the London Book Fair. For the second consecutive year, Armenians were represented in a unique formula under the banner of the Armenian Pavilion, incorporating authors and publishers from Armenia and the diaspora.
After a difficult start to this journey and with no funds allocated, it required imagination, coordination, and fortitude to see the bigger picture. The Armenian Pavilion would not have been repeated for a second year were it not for the generosity of Raffi Tanielian and his sister Nyree who funded a very large portion of the project, allowing the Pavilion Committee the ability to concentrate on the core work needed to create the Pavilion. With additional contributions from the Benlian Trust, Armenian Relief Society (London), and individual members of the community, the project finally came to life.
This year the Pavilion registered 33 exhibitors from Armenia, France, Germany, Lebanon, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States—compared to 12 registered exhibitors last year. For the first time at any exhibition, the Hrant Dink Foundation and the Aras Publishing House from Istanbul were present, and have promised to return next year. Rouben Galichian and Ara Sarafian of the Gomidas Institute also participated.
The Armenian Pavilion Committee, headed by Charle Malas, owes a debt of gratitude to the Armenian Embassy in London and the Armenian Community Council of the United Kingdom for their support. The embassy, in particular, liaised with the Ministry in Yerevan and hosted a special visit by Armenian Deputy Minister of Culture Nerses Ter-Vardanyan.
The Pavilion exhibited a rich array of books in all categories and generated significant interest from visitors from around the world, which included many from Turkey—perhaps breaking down the barriers at a literary level. Yet, much of the buzz surrounding the Pavilion was due to the “First Armenian Literary Agency” from Armenia, which held majority of its meetings at the Pavilion, thereby adding to the attraction of the stand and the books on display. Interestingly, organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair requested that this formula be exported and used at the exhibition in Germany.
One of the highlights during the fair was the surprise visit by Varujan Vosganian, the former Romanian Minister of Economy and Finance. A politician, economist, essayist, and a poet, Vosganian is a published author and hopes to exhibit his books at the Pavilion next year.
The London Book Fair is an important event in the publishing calendar. It resonates literary wealth and global exposure. It is considered the second most important book fair after Frankfurt, which is the world’s largest. The purpose of the Armenian Pavilion is to share Armenian culture, literature, and history with the world through books and through our authors and writers, who have been scribbling away in the shadows for far too long. It is up to the Armenian communities throughout the world to work collectively and give our publishers, authors, and writers the platform to launch into the global markets. See you in 2015.
For more information, photos, or to leave a comment, visit www.facebook.com/ArmenianPavilion. Publishers, authors, and booksellers interested in participating in Armenian Pavilion 2015 should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.