The Bologna Children’s Book Fair has changed its dates for 2021, moving from April to June 14–17. In addition, the fair has announced the launch of BolognaBookPlus, a new general publishing conference that will take place alongside the Children’s Fair. The new conference will be run by Jacks Thomas, who retired as director of the London Book Fair this spring and will serve as the "guest director."
Elena Pasoli, director of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, told PW that she could not offer any details of next year's programming as the events are still in the planning stages, but did say of BolognaBookPlus, "It is not a book fair, but a conference. There will be a few tables and a mini stand. The idea is to explore having a rights component for adults."
With the switch to June, Bologna joins the London Book Fair in moving to the summer months next year in the hope that the Covid-19 pandemic will have subsided enough to allow the convocation of a physical fair. The London Book Fair had originally been scheduled for March, but announced it was changing to June 29 to July 1, 2021.
Recently, Bologna has had success collaborating with book fairs abroad, including the Moscow Book Fair and the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair. The Shanghai fair, which took place from November 13-15, hosted a hybrid physical and virtual book fair that with 350 exhibitors from 21 countries and territories, of which 150 were international companies who were represented by their Chinese counterparts, attracted 18,963 visitors.
Pasoli said success of the event in China was a good omen for the new events in 2021. Commenting on the date change and new programming, she said in a release, "We continue to work in exceptional times and the book industry has once again proved itself to be hugely resilient. The children’s book market is arguably more important than ever before and we are delighted to be able to offer this date change in 2021, to give us the valuable opportunity to meet again as an industry, prior to moving back to our usual time-frame of April. Bologna is wonderful in April and even better in June – we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to our book fair in which al fresco meetings will be the norm!"
Marco Momoli, director of business unit culture at BolognaFiere, said that the changes reflect Bologna’s intention to remain “the premium destination for the children’s publishing world.” He welcomed Thomas to the Bologna team, noting she will help them stay current with new trends.