17 October 2017 Book Industries – book trade meetings at the Conrad Festival

The situation of the book market and of the writers’ milieu constantly changes. Writers’ agencies develop, new creative alliances are made, new, so far unknown book promotion methods via the Web are created.

What does it have to do with us –  participants in the cultural life? Of what importance are these changes for the literary world? What are the results for the readers? Experts from the book industry and other representatives of the literary milieu will talk about all that at the Conrad Festival. Under the strand Book Industries we will deal with the condition of the contemporary book market, and  think how to upgrade competencies of the people involved. The meetings are open – everybody is invited to debate.

During the festival we will talk what happens when the position of the writer vis à vis publishers changes. Literary agents Marcin Biegaj and Magdalena Dębowska  will talk about the writers’ agents -- who they are and what role they play as intermediaries between the author and the publisher. We will learn when the agents help the writer and when they are a problem. Marcin Wilk, a critic and consultant to literary programmes will moderate the discussion on Tuesday (24 October), as on other days of Book Industries strand.

On Wednesday (25 October),  Hugh Howey, an American science fiction writer and a guest of the Festival, and Katarzyna Kosik , a co-owner of Powergraph publishing house will be trying to find an answer to the difficult question of self-publishing: what it changes in the life of a writer, for whom it pays the most and when it changes the publishing market.

Closed workshops for children will also be held at the Conrad Festival. Katarzyna Olbrycht, a graphic designer of children’s books, will run the workshop for the youngest readers, above 3 years of age. They will learn to design, and then they will make their own book covers. During the part of the meeting addressed to the grown-up audience Marta Lipczyńska will talk with Marcin Wilk about how to make a magazine about children’s literature. The panel for grown-up participants and the workshop for children running in parallel titled ”The 10th anniversary of Ryms” will be held on Thursday (26 October). 

A discussion with Jorge Carrión – a Spanish writer and essayist, author of travelogues, will be the opportunity to talk about the situation of small bookshops, who should support small bookselling points and what we practically mean by saying that bookshops should become cultural institutions. The meeting will be held on Thursday (26 October). 

Organisers have also an interesting proposal for senior citizens on storage. On Thursday (26 October) during a two-hour practical workshop, run by Katarzyna Kubisiowska, participants will be working with texts, will familiarise themselves with techniques of developing narration, methods of building dialogues and scenes and creating characters. The workshop will be run in cooperation with the Villa Decius Association.

Does ecology have anything to do with readership? When are telephone booths suitable for mini- reading rooms and how do portable libraries change Berlin? On Friday (27 October) Konrad Kutt, a guest to the meeting ”Berlin Inspirations” will answer these questions. We will be shown positive examples of literature and readership promotion in he capital of Germany. The meeting has been organised in cooperation with Goethe-Institut in Krakow under the project #bln_krk.

Selected Krakow bookshops will invite the audience’s participation in events held during the Festival at the bookshops: on Saturday (28 October) in De Revolutionibus. Books&Cafe, where the popular blogger Michał Michalski (bookrage.org) will explain how bookrage works. He will deal with an important issue of unquestionable benefits of this sale practice for writers, publishers and readers. The question about the conditions for book sales to help the publishing and creative environment will also be asked. 

Associations supporting authors in their contact with publishers and institution facing which the writers are often helpless are also of interest for the Conrad Festival. Why do writers need associations? Are the associations supposed to regulate good practices and what models will the new association follow? Olga Tokarczuk – an initiator of the newly emerging Writers’ Association, and  Michał Zabłocki – the Presidents of the Association of Polish Writers in Krakow will talk about it on Wednesday (25 October).

The Conrad Festival also offers workshops for bloggers. On weekend (21 –22 October), participants will have workshops on the theme of writing as lost innocence. The motto is closely connected with the leading theme of this year’s Conrad Festival – Unrest, i.e. the condition one experiences under the influence of literature, politics, and last but not least, literary criticism. The participants will discuss how to write about conflicts, wars, violence and atrocities. Paulina Małochleb and Marcin Wilk who will run the workshop will also try to answer the question why sometimes critical writing is dangerous and what is important when dealing with books about sensitive issues. 

Book Industries is not only devoted to trade meetings at which prominent experts discuss the future of the publishing market and the methods of readership promotion. It also includes initiatives addressed to all those interested in books.  

For the second time already there will be two additional awards at the Festival in addition to the Conrad Award. They will be devoted to people who work for book industries. The awards will go to the best moderator of the festival meeting and the best interpreter selected by the audience who will vote at the Festival Centre after every meeting in recognition of the moderator’s and the interpreter’s contribution to the creation of the Festival’s atmosphere.  

The Conrad Festival also includes events running in parallel with the Festival. Crowds of avid readers come to Krakow and that occasion. The largest Polish publishing houses have the opportunity to showcase. Meetings with hundreds of authors are organised. People from all over the world visit the city. A number of thematic events are held – 21st International Book Fair will be held in Krakow on the fourth day of the Festival, the opportunity to meet the greatest literary names from Poland and abroad. Every year a few dozen hundred book fans meet with their favourite authors. The Krakow Festival Office, the operator of the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature is a strategic partner of the Book Fair, so  many interesting discussions on Polish and foreign literature are held at its stand.

The Book Industries series runs under the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature programme, aimed to support literature and book issues as an important element of the creative economy.