Managing rights at Little Island is an exciting and challenging role. We love to see our books travel to new places and for this reason we attend about two book fairs a year. We work with skilled agents who promote our books in diverse territories, including China, Germany and Poland and we also have built up a network of like-minded publishers and scouts who we meet at rights fairs each year and keep updated about our forthcoming publications, reviews and prizes for our recent and backlist publications. However we are always looking to find new people to meet and introduce to our books and I was delighted to have two new opportunities for promoting our books, authors and illustrators and creating new partnerships with international publishers and cultural bodies in 2023, travelling to both Barcelona and Guadalajara, Mexico.
From the 11th to the 15th of September, I participated in the Institut Ramon Llull Fellowship for International Publishers. The Fellowship offers international publishers (both those specialised in adult fiction and books for children and young people) an insight into the world of Catalan literature, illustration and publishing. In total there were 18 publishers from a mix of publishing houses, including larger and smaller, independent publishers from all over the world, including China, the USA, Latvia and Norway. Each of the participants received a customised schedule of professional meetings with Catalan publishers and agents. I met with publishers and agents with exciting lists; it was truly inspiring to see the range of novels, non-fiction and illustrated books (including graphic novels). I also met with Catalan authors and illustrators and was introduced to their work. I later shared these new connections with my Little Island colleagues and we will hope to work with some of these talented artists in the future.
The programme also included introductory sessions about Catalan literature and the Catalan publishing world, as well as informal meetings with writers and illustrators and visits to iconic bookshops and other cultural landmarks in Barcelona. The visit to the Escola d’Art i Disseny La Massana (the School of Art and Design La Massana) was a real highlight as was the visit to the children’s bookshop and event space, Casa Anita.
It was a wonderful experience: with thanks to the Institut Ramon Llull for the invitation. The team were fantastic hosts and curated an amazing programme. Thanks also to Literature Ireland for their support.
In November I participated in the EU professionals programme at the Feria Internacional de Libros in Guadalajara, Mexico. The European Union was the guest of honour at the book fair, the largest literary event in the Spanish-speaking world. To celebrate this, the EU invited publishers, agents and professionals from the EU member states to apply to participate in a professionals programme. I was honoured to be selected along with 34 others and to travel to Mexico. The programme ran for three days and included ‘speed dating’ with publishers, cultural bodies and publishing professionals. It was fantastic to be part of the EU group and to meet partners from Latin and South American countries. The programme also included a series of talks and panel discussions and I participated in a panel on independent publishing within the EU and South America. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to speak about the publishing network and support systems that exist in Ireland.
Literature Ireland had an Irish stand at the Fair and led the Irish delegation at the FIL, with Colm Tóibín, Louise Nealon, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, Megan Nolan and Naoise Dolan. Their participation created a lot of excitement at the Fair and it was lovely to be part of a big and interesting group from Ireland.
For me, the highlight of the trip was the visit of school children to the stand on the Thursday after the Professional Programme. I gave a brief introduction on how publishing works from submission to printed book, and was happy to show the children some of the books from Little Island. I read a mix of old and new poems from I Am the Wind: Irish Poems for Children Everywhere (edited by Lucinda Jacob and Sarah Webb and illustrated by Ashwin Chacko) accompanied by the harpist, Séamus Ó Flatharta from Harp Ireland, whose music was nothing short of magical.
Thanks to the EU for the invitation to participate and to Literature Ireland for supporting the opportunity. Thanks also to the Irish Ambassador to Mexico, Maeve von Heynitz and her team at the Mexican Embassy in Mexico for supporting the Irish events at the FIL.
Rights Manager and Art Editor at Little Island
Preparing for a day of meetings in Barcelona
Speaking on a panel in Guadalajara
With our spanish agent, Íñigo Cebollada, from Ute Körner Literary Agent