Monday, 2 March 2015

BOLOGNA AROUND THE CORNER and the pace hots up! – Dianne Hofmeyr


How can Bologna be just about upon us already? Every year I plan to go and every year, I leave it too late and am green with envy as the feedback comes in from other authors who are there.

Bologna – where exciting things happen – where the most innovative trends in children’s illustration at a world level are shown and where YA is hot! Heady stuff for authors!

confused authors mixing with the 'suits'
discovering new markets
bored family members trawling shops while writer does deals
tasting exotic food (don't think that's proscecco)
With apologies to the illustrators, Minjee Kim from Korea (first 2 pics), Becky Palmer from the UK (3rd pic) and Michio Watanabe from Japan (4th pic) whose work was on exhibition at last year's Bologna, for taking their illustrations out of context but they seemed to sum up some aspects of Bologna. 

This year I hope to have a YA novel as well as some picture books on offer. In the present picture book market, writer's ideas are often presented to publishers, fait accompli with a chosen illustrator doing a dummy and an example of an interior colour illustration ­– previously almost unheard of. Perhaps this is part of the quickening pace of today’s industry. Potential publishers want to see an idea and run with it as soon as possible. Selling a story with some idea of development hopefully achieves a concept that can be visualized and a fast sale. 

Recently I’ve had the excitement of working with two new illustrators – not new to illustrating, but new to me working with them. And what a great two way process it’s been. Whereas before one hardly knew one’s illustrator, now before the story is shown to a publisher, we are discussing various options and the story becomes more a meld of ideas where I change the text to suit the illustrator and the illustrator comes up with fresh concepts. A proper writer/illustrator collaboration. Marvellous! What an energising process.

So with the date around the corner, good luck to all of you presenting something at Bologna this year! And for those of you going… I'm still green!
twitter: @dihofmeyr

Her latest picture book, Zeraffa Giraffa illustrated by Jane Ray, published by Frances Lincoln, is on The Sunday Times List of Top 100 Modern Classics in the past 10 years.


Joan Lennon said...

I didn't know that about taking a picture book idea with some illustrations already done - interesting times!
Stay-at-homes unite - and wait for the reports here!

Annina said...

Really enjoyed reading your post about the creativity & excitement that is Bologna. Thanks for sharing your insight. I'll be attending for my first time and can't wait to see what it's like

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Thks Joan and lucky you Annina!!! I've been to Frankfurt (by accident... I just happened to be in Frankfurt in October and discovered it was on) But Bologna is on my wish list! Have fun! Hope you meet lots of exciting people and your name gets on everyone's lips. :)