Every year the Bologna Children’s Book Fair invites new publishers from all across the world to join in the fair. On occasion of the 2018 edition, we welcomed a delegation from New Zealand for the first time to the Book Fair, thanks to the attendance of the Publishers Association of New Zealand. BCBF met Peter Dowling, President of the Association, and asked him about his experience with us.
What is the goal of your Association?
The Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) represents about 80 trade, educational, scholarly and digital publishers and suppliers to the industry. Our mission is to advance the interests of publishers both in New Zealand and internationally through a range of activities: advocacy and government relations, member training, liaison with booksellers and authors, protection of copyright and freedom to publish, international marketing, and more.
At an international level the Association manages New Zealand’s presence at book fairs including Frankfurt, Guadalajara and Taipei, and looks after translation and author promotion programmes. We have a very busy office in Auckland!
This was the first time that New Zealand attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, what were your expectations at the Fair?
We were delighted to have the first New Zealand stand at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, with six publishers and one literary agent in attendance. It was a modest stand and we were here in part to explore what the fair could offer for New Zealand publishers, authors and illustrators. We also expected to advance business relations with colleagues from around the world and sell rights and co-editions to our books, and so it was!
What are the main trends of children’s illustration in New Zealand?
There is a growing pool of talented illustrators in New Zealand expressing a wide range of styles. We’re tending to see more exuberant illustration in recent years, driven by the growing profile of Māori and Pasifika artists, as well as Asian and American influences. One of our most successful illustrators, Donovan Bixley, was at Bologna giving a couple of presentations, and illustrator-publisher Martin Bailey was also at the Illustrators Survival Corner.