After monitoring the situation carefully, Reed Exhibitions announced today that The London Book Fair 2020, scheduled to take place next week, has been cancelled following the escalation of COVID-19 Coronavirus. By today several of the large exhibitors including Hachette, HarperCollins, PanMac, Penguin and Amazon had already pulled out of the show. Reed’s press statement reads:
‘The effects, actual and projected, of Coronavirus are becoming evident across all aspects of our lives here in the UK and across the world, with many of our participants facing travel restrictions. We have been following UK government guidelines and working with the rolling advice from the public health authorities and other organisations, and so it is with reluctance that we have taken the decision not to go ahead with this year’s event.
We recognise that business has to continue. With this in mind, we will of course support and collaborate with exhibitors and visitors to keep our world moving during this difficult period. We thank all those from the UK and a multitude of other countries who have prepared over the last year to deliver what promised to be a wonderful book fair showcasing, as ever, the exciting best of the global book industry. The London Book Fair will return, better than ever, in 2021.’
This week I’m celebrating, for the 15th year, the life and work of my friend and mentor Rudi Holzapfel.
Rudi died of cancer on 6 February 2005 and it seems the time has passed so quickly. He was a wonderful, caring and talented man. I first met him when we worked together in a bookshop – me because I was just starting my career, Rudi because he needed to work while preparing his PhD on the works of James Clarence Mangan.
At the time I had never met anyone who said they were a poet. I came to know him very well both at work and outside when we were able to escape the draconian clutches of the shop owners. I was fascinated by how and what he wrote and was fortunate to witness his work first hand when he wrote a poem ‘The Employee’ based on my work in the store. I still have the original written on a sheet of brown wrapping paper. It was published in the The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (1970) and has even been set to music – how and to what end escapes me.
He mentored me, critique my writing and pushed me to that goal. As I browse through my collection of his published works I’m saddened that such a great talent has gone for good. But he leaves behind a wealth of wonderful material. Books and audio readings by Rudi can be found at rudiholzpafel.com
Enjoying the BBC TV adaption of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Corgi Edition 1991). Always a treat to re-read the book to see what’s been charged or missed out altogether, but with scripting by Neil Gaiman for the TV series these might be difficult to find. First published 30 years ago, it’s sold over 5 million copies – not counting a potential sales boost now it’s had a TV airing.
I recall the slightly bewildered reception the book got when I gave away some 20+ copies to encourage book reading on World Book Night back in 2012.