With London's Heathrow airport closed for a second day as a result of volcanic ash being spit into European air space from Iceland, those in the publishing community are dealing with delayed flights and mounting concerns about how, and if, they will be able to get to the fair.
Although fair organizers issued a statement early this morning saying the fair would go on--and that contingency plans are being put in place--little can be done to address the fact that many flight delays are now putting attendees at the fair as late as Tuesday, a full day into the show. In the statement, fair organizers said that information is being posted regularly on unfolding plans at www.londonbookfair.co.uk. While the fair planners said all possible assistance is being offered to exhibitors, healthy attendance at the show looks to be in Mother Nature's hands.
At least one executive at a major American house had his flight bumped from Thursday to Tuesday and a number of other American agents--many of whom are scheduled to leave to today--are concerned. British agent Carole Blake, of Blake Friedmann, said that, even within Europe, attendees are having a hard time coming up with alternative transportation to the show. Speaking to meetings she has planned with some German publishers, Blake said that, after Heathrow closed, they tried to book Eurostar tickets, but the train is already overbooked. "They then thought of booking a large car so they could drive, but all ferries from the Continent to Britain are fully booked." She then added: "Interesting times. It's going to be a surreal fair if this continues much longer, that's for sure."
As more flights from the U.S. to the U.K. were canceled Friday, a growing number of Americans are expressing doubt about making it to Earls Court. Sourcebooks' Dominique Raccah, for instance, posted on her Facebook page that she has been forced to cancel a planned party for 22 authors.
If your flight has been delayed and you're no longer attending the fair, or taking a later flight, and you'd like to let colleagues know about your changed plans, contact Jim Milliot at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, title, and new travel plans. PW will be hosting on its site a list of what people are doing and featuring it in Monday's PW Daily.