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Explore the importance of diverse and relevant book collections at this year’s London Book Fair

Published: 29 March, 2022

At this year’s London Book Fair, publishers will have the opportunity to hear about the value of varied and rich book collections, why it matters for people around the world to have diverse books at their fingertips and the efforts of publishers and NGOs to work together to create broader collections. This event will see Book Aid International’s Alison Tweed and their new Chair, Alice Prochaska sit alongside Mkuki Bgoya, Creative Director & Production Manager at Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Farrah Serroukh, the Research and Development Director at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, Sarah Odedina, Editor-at-Large at Pushkin Children’s Books and Felicity Brooks, Editorial Director at Usborne Publishing Ltd. 

 The importance of diverse and relevant book collections around the world      

Time and date: Wednesday April 6th, 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM  

Venue: The Olympia Theatre at The London Book Fair, Olympia London, W14 8UX  

The full event description is below:  
Books can and do change lives – but only if those books speak to the needs and priorities of the people who read them. How we create book collections that are relevant for readers and the role of books written for a different generation of readers remains a complex and even controversial topic.      

In this seminar, the expert panel will look into the value of books that reflect people’s lived experiences, if there’s value in readers accessing books that may not do this and why it’s important for our industry to create broader collections of books. 

Book Aid International’s Alison Tweed said:  
“At Book Aid International, we consistently hear of the value of books that offer windows to new worlds and reflect familiar stories – and we are looking forward to discussing this and more at The London Book Fair this year. We would love for you to join us at this event to explore what more can be done to get diverse and relevant books into the hands of those who need them.” 

For further information about the seminar, visit the London Book Fair website.  


Notes for editors 

For further information and comment please contact Book Aid International’s Communications Manager, Olivia Jones: 

e: olivia.jones@bookaid.org  
t: +44 (0)20 7733 3577    

You can find high-quality pictures of the speakers here: https://bookaid.dash.app/sharing/type/collection/rjyaq-london-book-fair-speakers  

About Book Aid International 

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity sends around one million brand new books to people around the world who would otherwise have very few opportunities to access books and read. 

Book Aid International works with an extensive network of libraries, schools, hospitals, NGOs and other partners to ensure that the books it sends reach as many people as possible. The charity estimates that the books it provides reach 24 million people every year. www.bookaid.org 

Speaker Bios: 
Dr Alice Prochaska, Chair of Book Aid International. Dr Prochaska is a historian and archivist who is active in international scholarly and library organisations. She was Principal of Somerville College University of Oxford and a pro-Vice Chancellor of the University from 2010-17, and University Librarian of Yale University, from 2001-10. Alongside acting as Book Aid International chair, she serves on the board for the Historic Towns Trust and the General Federation of Trade Unions Education Trust.  

Alison Tweed, Chief Executive of Book Aid International. Alison has led the charity since 2012 and is responsible for the organisation’s strategy and development. She is a former publisher of children’s educational materials for the global south and has extensive knowledge of the African publishing sector.  

Farrah Serroukh, Research and Development Director at the UK based children’s literacy charity, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). CLPE works to raise the literacy achievement of children by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. Farrah is an experienced teacher and has held several leadership posts in areas including Literacy, EAL, EMA and Inclusion. She is the author of CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature, which is the first of its kind in the history of UK children’s publishing.  

Mkuki Bgoya, Creative Director & Production Manager at Mkuki na Nyota Publishers. Established in 1981, Mkuki na Nyota creates educational, trade, children’s and art books in Tanzania and Eastern Africa for worldwide distribution. They also work to develop and encourage a reading culture in Tanzania, as well as nurturing indigenous literature as a method of sharing experiences and perspectives with the rest of the world. 

Sarah Odedina, Editor-at-Large, Pushkin Children’s Books. Sarah has worked in publishing for almost three decades during which time she has focused on books for young readers.   She was the Publisher at Bloomsbury Children’s Books for 14 years where she oversaw the publication of the Harry Potter series and edited many best-selling award-winning authors including Neil Gaiman, Celia Rees, Chris Riddell and Debi Gliori. as well as the founder of Hot Key Books for Bonnier Publishing.   Sarah is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press Children’s Books. Sarah works with Deborah Ahenkorah in Ghana working on Accord Literary, an agency which focuses on mentoring and helping develop writers of children’s books based in Africa.  Accord Literary has now found publishing partners for their authors around the world including North America, UK, Italy and Brazil. 

Felicity Brooks, Editorial Director, Usborne Publishing Ltd. Felicity has worked for Usborne for over 30 years and has written and edited hundreds of titles, from books on tractors to genetics, mental health and unicorns. Felicity is an expert in making tricky topics friendly and accessible to young children and recently has been writing books that celebrate feelings, friendship, empathy, families and diversity.