( At the London Book Fair/British Council/Publishers Association reception held at the British Council, New Delhi held on 11 January 2017, Jacks Thomas announced the LBF 2017 edition will see a special Spotlight on India. Here is the full text of her speech reproduced with her permission. )
Thank you Alan, and indeed the British Council team who with Gill Caldicott have made this evening possible. Thank you also for attending our reception, held jointly with our strategic partners, the Publishers Association of the UK and British Council.
Last year, a year long-programme to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and UK cultural ties was announced by our Prime Ministers during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK. Less significantly — but importantly — and said perhaps with a hefty dose of British irony — 2016 was also the year that I first visited India. Not just once, but twice.
My visits were all part of very much wanting to meet the Indian book community and to extend my knowledge of your interesting and talented industry. Imagine my delight therefore on discovering the plans for The Year of Culture which will see an exciting festival of events celebrating the vibrant cultural history and present of the 2 countries. As part of these celebrations, 2017 will now also see a special Spotlight on India at The London Book Fair 2017.
Working with Capexil, there will be an exhibiting presence over three pavilions with many Indian publishers already
having confirmed their participation. The Spotlight will feature an author programme to showcase selected authors from India, an especially curated Rights catalogue of Indian writing co-created by FICCI and LBF, a professional programme of trade seminars organised with the UK Publishers Association on the Department of International Trade Export Theatre, product demonstrations of Indian publishing and printing technology and expertise as well as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the National Book Trust of India. All activity underpinned, of course, through the support of FIP and API.
Books and literature are significant assets in our understanding of both a changing world and each other’s worlds. Getting the literature of one country into the hands of another’s is important.
I believe The Spotlight on India is important.
So, may I ask us simply to raise our glasses to our cross country literary collaboration.
12 January 2017