Seven must-visit sessions at the 2022 London Book Fair: from Ben Okri to Maggie O’Farrell

The three-day event will feature an appearance by award-winning authors

Author Ben Okri will appear as part of the 2022 London Book Fair. REX/Shutterstock
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One of the world’s biggest publishing gatherings returns to the UK after three years.

The London Book Fair, taking place at Olympia London from Tuesday to Thursday, will bring together hundreds of authors and publishers for discussions surrounding the latest trends and challenges sweeping the industry.

This is the first time the book fair has been held since 2019. The subsequent two events were cancelled as a safety measure against Covid-19.

Director Andy Ventris said the event will be a much-needed reunion for an industry affected by the pandemic. “As we return to Olympia for the first in-person London Book Fair since 2019, we welcome not only publishers and readers, but award-winning poets and bestselling authors, and look forward to hearing them share their stories and discuss what is happening at the forefront of our literary landscape.”

Here are seven key events to attend:

1. ‘Why does the publishing industry not better recognise the merits and importance of commercial fiction?’

Tuesday from 10.30am GMT on the Main Stage

It’s time to get serious about commercial fiction. Despite its popularity, the genre has relatively few champions within the publishing industry. This is a mindset that Louise Moore, managing director of Penguin Michael Joseph (home to bestselling titles from authors such as Stephen Fry, Clive Cussler and Gregg Hurwitz), aims to dispel in her session.

2. ‘Walid Nabhan in Conversation’

Tuesday from 11am at the Poet’s Corner

Born in Amman, Jordan to a Palestinian refugee family, the Maltese naturalised author won the 2017 European Prize for Literature for autobiographical novel Exodus of the Storks, written in Maltese and recently published in English. Nabhan will discuss the work as well as read from his poetry collection On My Way Towards Her and Of Flesh and Blood, which deals with the yearnings of displacement.

3. ‘Covid-19: What's next for publishing?’

Tuesday from 11.45am on the Main Stage

Representatives from publisher Harper Collins, Amazon Publishing, Bookouture and the Booksellers Association will unpack how the pandemic has affected the industry and how it may shape the future of the book world.

4. ‘Maggie O’Farrell In Conversation’

Tuesday from 1.30pm at the English PEN Literary Salon

Women’s Prize for Fiction winner Maggie O’Farrell delves into her writing process and the inspiration behind her acclaimed 2020 novel Hamnet. The Northern Irish author will also reveal details of her highly anticipated next novel, The Marriage Portrait.

4. ‘Ben Okri: Art in a Time of Crisis’

Wednesday from 11am on the Main Stage

What does art have to say about the challenges of our time? The Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet will make a defiant case for creative expression and how it can provide insights to help us navigate through tumultuous times.

5. ‘From Book to Screen: Crime and Thrillers’

Wednesday from 1.15pm at Author HQ

Crime writers Peter James, Kate Ruby and Louise Candlish all know how to keep readers and television viewers gripped through their share of best-selling novels and script writing for adapted movies and TV dramas. The trio will share secrets and pitfalls of taking their pages to the screen.

6. ‘Building A Better, Greener Business’

Thursday from 10am at Olympia Theatre

Nielsen Books, one of the publishing world’s leading data providers, will share information on how Covid-19 has affected publishing supply chains. The session will also offer ways on how the book world can bounce back and build a more sustainable and resilient system.

More information is available on

Updated: April 05, 2022, 3:39 AM