and what fun it was... but first:
Helen Oyeyemi has written an excellent review of Feather Man in the New Statesman. It's a thoroughly insightful view of the book and hopefully will help it into the hands of many more people.
And back to the fair, my third and by far the busiest I've been to. There are plenty who find it exhausting, and it is tiring, and plenty who find it symbolic of the less romantic side of publishing, and lots of business does get done, but it's also a gigantic building filled for three whole days with people from all across the world whose common trait is that they are very enthusiastic about books. That, for types like me, makes it a very exciting place to be. Firstly there are the people who you only ever meet once a year (or twice, if you go to the Frankfurt Book Fair, which I haven't), then the people that you meet for the first time; all they want to talk about is books. And then give them to you to read!
We had meetings with people from over a dozen different countries, heard about hundreds of books and committed to reading enough over the next few months to stock a particularly cosmopolitan library. The British Council, English PEN, the Arts Council and more did an amazing job organizing a whole bunch of events, filling gaps in the schedule nicely. And then there's the parties, where there are even more people to meet and talk about books and, of course, gossip about other people who like to talk about books but aren't there.
Although it is possible that I got overexcited; I did apparently introduce myself twice in two days to the same prominent publisher, and was constantly surprised by meetings that had been arranged a long time before.
And now comes the sifting, which is, unfortunately, a lot more solitary...