The Bologna Children's Book Fair, which will be held in Bologna, Italy, March 6-9, has announced its initial slate of programs for Bologna Book Plus, the fair's general publishing education track. The first morning will feature an overview of the Italian Book Market delivered by the Italian Publishers Association.

This year's author ambassador is Lloyd Grossman, the American-British television personality, actor, and author. His most recent book is An Elephant in Rome: Bernini, the Pope and the Making of the Eternal City (Pallas Athene). Grossman will have several staged conversations at the event, including with Jacks Thomas, guest director of Bologna Book Plus; U.K. publisher Richard Charkin; and historian Mark Gilbert.

Grossman will also offer the keynote at the seminar “Call Your Agent: How to Become a Successful Literary Agent” on March 7. The event, which is chaired Jamie Hodder-Williams, will offer sessions focused on best practices for literary agents. Speakers will include Luigi Bonomi, Valentina Colombo, and Lora Fountain. Rosalind Ramsay of U.K.-based RR Scouting will offer a session on scouting.

This program will be preceded by a full day of training for aspiring literary agents on March 7, entitled “How to Sell Rights and Understand Licensing in Children’s Books.” That event is chaired by Tracy Phillips.

Bologna Book Plus will also inaugurate a market of honor program, which this year focuses on Greece. The country's literary industry will be featured in a series of panels and discussions.

Greece's illustration and design culture will be the focus of the “Illustration Book Jacket Design: Celebrating the Best of the Best” event on March 8. On March 9, the “Jackets Off!” exhibition will examine the different interpretations of George Orwell’s contemporary classic 1984 across cultures and languages.

For this year's Illustrators Exhibition, which sits at the heart of the fair, 79 sets of illustrations by 80 artists from 28 countries and territories will be on display. China has a dozen illustrators on the list, which marks the largest number from a single country; just one American, Rahele Bell, made the cut. In all, 4,345 illustrators from 91 countries and territories applied.