Bologna – It Does Begin

FINALLY – I get around to posting about Bologna. Many folks know that a few weeks ago I was in Bologna attending the Bologna Book Fair. Every second year the SCBWI hosts a booth at the fair. This year it was mega … bigger booth, more people, lots of great attractions and a crew of very worn out SCBWI folk survived from the Sunday afternoon set up through to Thursday afternoon putdown to that night when we collapsed!

So, over the next few posts I will add some photos and commentary about what went at our booth, the gatherings, the people, the showcases and a few about the wonderful things that were spied in Bologna.


Our booth – a Susan Eaddy and Sarah Baker creation – was stunning. Twice the space, more than twice the impact and lots of fun. I met Susan at her hotel at lunchtime on Sunday and then we taxied off to the fair … of course we don’t have a trolley so lugging TWO boxes of wall hangings was interesting. Luckily Susan was able to ‘borrow’ a trolley and in no time at all were at the booth and the wall hangings were being hung. it looked stunning.

Marilyn and Margo from New England arrived and were a super strength to Susan and to me throughout the whole fair. I am sure that they spent more time at the booth than wandering the halls. They actually flew in on the same plane as I did from Rome airport so we already had caught up at the airport and over dinner before arriving at the booth. Patti (Germany) and Elisabeth (Switzerland) trained it into Bologna and with Steve and Sally along from Headquarters the booth was soon done! With setup finished it was time to party at our favourite Bologna Book store where SCBWI Bologna host a dance party each year we are there. Our hosts are so generous and some of the crew danced (sort of) and partied away (lots of) for hours while others (like me) retreated to hotels early in preparation for the beginning!

Duelling Illustrators is always a HUGE drawcard for us – two illustrators have 2 minutes to draw their response to a stanza of an unpublished, unseen, approximately 10 stanza manuscript. It’s fun, as long as you are not the illustrators although I am reliably informed the the illustrators love doing this. Some even come back year after year to battle!

Tables for Personal showcases for members to showcase their talent and these are usually always illustrators. popped love watching them create art works while sitting directly in front of them. Somehow writers don’t seem to garner the same enthusiasm!

… and Regional showcases for regions to display their members’ PAL books. The books are then on display on our shelves.

For the first time we registered paid critiques and Martha Rago (the Executive Creative Director for Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group who oversees all of the art departments for the Random House Children’s Book group) was super at this. Feedback was that we had some very pleased illustrators.

and we have our very own Illustrator Wall that at the end of the fair was three panels filled with scribblings!

Booth party launching our BiG gallery … This year our nine BiG (Bologna Illustrators Gallery) illustrators finalists were featured in the wall hangings and they made a stunning display. We also held a public voting for these and the winner will be revealed at the summer conference in Los Anglese … yes i do know who won that vote!!

Social Media is integral in today’s bookworld and SCBWI Bologna was right there blogging and twittering thanks to  Elizabeth Dulemba and also from Elisabeth Norton. These posts can be uncovered at or #bol16SCBWI or our Bologna Connections Facebook page. And publisher’s Weekly even stopped by our booth for a chat … see what I said here.

The SCBWI booth is a homebase for SCBWI members from around the world. It’s nice to see a familiar face or a place to stop and take a breath! There is constant activity at the SCBWI booth … a lot of our neighbouring booths drop in for a chat too and there is much networking, buildings relationships, and spreading the word about SCBWI.

And, hopefully, a few deals were hopefully done too.

2 Responses to Bologna – It Does Begin

  1. Great wrap-up Chris! Cheers!

    Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner April 28, 2016 at 1:31 am Reply
  2. Thanks to everyone who was at Bologna or giving us a taste of what it was like. I promise I’ll be organized and ready for the one in 2018! 🙂

    A. Colleen Jones April 28, 2016 at 2:04 am Reply

Leave a comment