A few months back, we were thrilled to read that the Northern Fiction Alliance — a collective of independent publishers based in the North of England — were launching an innovative online book fair “designed for the environmentally-conscious global publishing community.” Namely, the Green Book Fair.

With the event on the horizon — it runs from 27th- 29th September 2023 — now’s the time for international independent publishers to sign up to join this fabulous jamboree! 

Intrigued? Read on to find out more about the great Green Book Fair, and the innovative organisation behind it.

Before sharing details of the upcoming Green Book Fair, please could you give an overview of the Northern Fiction Alliance. Why was it founded? Who’s part of it? Who can join? What are your aims?

The Northern Fiction Alliance was founded in 2016 by Comma Press, having been awarded an International Showcasing Grant from Arts Council England. Comma’s proposal for the grant was to take 4 independent Northern publishers - Peepal Tree Press, And Other Stories, Dead Ink, and Comma Press - to a number of international book fairs under the group identity of the 'Northern Fiction Alliance', where they could showcase and sell the work of their exciting and diverse authors in order to help build a strong cultural identity of British writing, as well as publishing based in the North of England.

Since the initial proposal, the Alliance has expanded to almost 30 publishers, including Fly on the Wall Press, (Manchester), Saraband (Salford), Bluemoose (Hebden Bridge), Valley Press, (Scarborough), Carcanet, (Manchester) and many more. 

So far the Alliance has provided development opportunities to publishers across the North of England in workshops focusing on international and subsidiary rights, and decolonising publishing. It has also visited six international book fairs - including Frankfurt and London, where the Alliance have had stands - and sold a combined total of £44,000 worth of rights into thirteen territories.

The purpose of forming the Northern Fiction Alliance was to work towards the following goals:

  • Exposure to new markets abroad and establishing relationships with international publishers as a result of this.
  • Increased revenue for writers and publishers through international rights sales.
  • Increased author visibility across the international stage, through events and media coverage.
  • To form a working collective structure that provides mentoring and support through the sharing of contacts, skills and resources.
  • Positioning Northern writing and publishing as a culturally distinct product on a global stage.
  • To increase the resilience of the emerging, domestic fiction market in England.

Can you explain how the Alliance supports writers as well as publishers?

Together we are reshaping and redefining the UK's literary landscape, commissioning bold new works, and providing alternative platforms for underrepresented authors. We raise authors’ standing at home (by making their work globally recognised).

Moving now to the Green Book Fair. How did the idea come about? Who is it aimed at? What can attendees expect from this three-day event?

The idea came out of COVID – which showed us how resilient we can be when we work from home, and when we endeavour to work internationally, without the need for carbon-heavy plane travel! Yes in-person relationships are valuable, but many rights deals in translation can be conducted online.

The Green Book Fair is for international independent publishers, looking to foster connections with fellow indies, selling and buying the rights of their books. We will celebrate and promote bold and independent literary publishing through curated sessions, panel discussions, and interactive showcases per territory.

Now for the practical details! How can publishers can sign up for the Green Book Fair

Want to take part in one on one rights selling and buying meetings? Drop a line to isabelle.kenyon@commapress.co.uk for an application form. We will then share fair attendees with you and circulate your catalogue to facilitate meetings.

The schedule looks like this…

September 27th - 29th, 2023 Location: Online, Zoom

Wednesday 27th September 2023

Pre-arranged 1-2-1s

Plus open panel: 10.00am - 11 am Utopian Eco-narratives: a new story for climate change in publishing - Adam Cooper and Sarah France

Thursday 28th September 2023

Networking and showcases

(After each showcase, there will be break-out rooms for networking and rights-based enquiries.)

Australian and New Zealand showcase: 9am - 9.50am UK Time

• 9 AM Nick Tapper, Associate Publisher and Alexandra Christie, Rights Director, present titles and rights available from Giramondo Publishing (AU)

• 9.10 AM 5ever (NZ) presents titles and rights available

• 9.20 AM Dead Bird (NZ) presents titles and rights available

Northern Fiction Alliance Showcase: 10.00am- 12.00pm UK Time

• 10 AM Dead Ink Books, Liverpool UK presents titles and rights available

• 10.10 AM Honford Star, Stockport UK

• 10.20 AM Fly on the Wall Press, Manchester UK

• 10.30 AM Carcanet, Manchester UK

• 10.40 AM Comma Press, Manchester UK

• 10.50 AM Valley Press, Scarborough UK

• 11 AM Bluemoose Books, Hebden Bridge UK

• 11. 10 AM Saraband, Salford UK

Spanish Showcase: 1.15-1.50pm

Rebeca González Izquierdo from Blackie Books presents their titles and rights available

Jacana Media/Johannesburg Showcase: 2pm - 2.30pm

Shay Heydenrych presents titles from Jacana Media.

French Showcase: 3-4pm

3pm Édi8 James Elliott (Rights Director – Non-Fiction and Illustrated books) Presenting their Green Lifestyle and Self-Help titles

3.15pm Denoel Margherita Giubelli Bortolami (Rights Manager)

Friday 29th September 2023

1-2-1s arranged from Thursday

And finally, which events are you most looking forward to?

I’m biased, but I’m really looking forward to the Northern Fiction Alliance showcase!

I love to hear about new books from our members.

To stay up to date with news from the Northern Fiction Alliance, check out these platforms:

Website: northernfictionalliance.com

Twitter: @northfiction