Leading writers Caryl Phillips, Holly Bourne and Seno Gumira Ajidarma announced for The London Book Fair Author of the Day line-up 2019

The London Book Fair (12-14 March 2019) has today announced distinguished writer Caryl Phillips, leading YA novelist Holly Bourne and critically acclaimed Indonesian author Seno Gumira Ajidarma, to headline its annual Author of the Day programme for 2019.

A key element of the fair, the Author of the Day programme brings some of the most acclaimed, successful writers working today to the world’s creative capital, showcasing their work and celebrating their achievements.

Headlining the opening day of the fair is Caryl Phillips, whose eminent body of work includes sixteen works of fiction and non-fiction including Crossing the River, A Distant Shore and Dancing in the Dark. Winner of numerous prizes, his work explores issues of identity, emigration, English society and the African diaspora. His most recent book, A View of the Empire at Sunset, follows the life of the late writer and feminist figure Jean Rhys (Vintage, June 2018). Phillips is currently Professor of English Literature at Yale University.

Taking up the charge as Children’s Author of the Day is queen of Young Adult fiction Holly Bourne, author of the best-selling, award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series. Bourne’s straight-talking novels have influenced a generation, championing subjects such as mental health awareness and gender equality. 2018 was a productive year for Bourne who released her first, hugely-successful adult novel How Do You Like Me Now while also returning to her YA roots in her latest book Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? (Usbourne, August 2018).

As part of this year’s Market Focus on Indonesia, one of the country’s leading writers Seno Gumira Ajidarma will headline The London Book Fair on Wednesday 13th March. A critically acclaimed author of non-fiction, short stories and essays, Seno’s work is characterised by its focus on everyday life and scrutiny of contemporary social, cultural and political conditions. He is well known in Indonesia as a consistent advocate of free speech and freedom of publication, writing about sensitive issues, including military violence in East Timor. A journalist, photographer, lecturer, and film critic, his prolific body of work also includes poetry, a cartoon novel, and historical fantasies. His English translations include Jazz, Perfume & the Incident (2012), Eyewitness (2015) and The Mysterious Marksman (The Lontar Foundation, March 2019).

In addition to spotlighting home-grown and Market Focus talent, The London Book Fair has also announced that it will welcome three prominent European authors to the fair as special guests on Tuesday 12th March. To discuss their work and how we maintain cultural ties across Europe will be Germany’s bestselling crime-writer Simone Buchholz, a former journalist whose forthcoming novel (Beton Rouge, Orenda, February 2019) follows an investigation into deaths at Germany’s biggest newspaper; internationally acclaimed Belgian author Stefan Hertmans (The Convert, Harvill Secker, June 2019), considered one of the most outstanding Flemish writers of his generation; and French novelist Antoine Laurain (Vintage 1954, Gallic, June 2019), whose books have sold more than 150,000 copies in English including his debut translation, The President’s Hat, which was a Waterstones Book Club and Indies Introduce choice.

Jacks Thomas, Director, The London Book Fair, said:

“We are delighted to welcome to this year’s London Book Fair such an outstanding line-up of authors whose audiences encompass millennials to boomers and beyond. Their work reminds us of the timelessness of great literature - from inspirational storytelling to stimulating non-fiction that transcends cultural, social and geographical boundaries.”

“As we look ahead to The London Book Fair in March, it’s inevitable that our minds must also turn to the month’s impending Brexit deadline and what this will mean for us both economically and culturally as a global industry; we extend a warm welcome to those whose work demonstrates the best of the best that the publishing world offers today.”

About Caryl Phillips

Caryl Phillips has written for television, radio, theatre and cinema and is the author of sixteen works of fiction and non-fiction. He has won the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the James Tait Black Memorial prize and his book, Crossing the River, was shortlisted for the 1993 Man Booker prize. A Distant Shore won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2004 and Dancing in the Dark won the PEN Open Book Award in 2006. Phillips’s latest novel, A View of the Empire at Sunset, is about the late writer and feminist figure Jean Rhys, was published by Vintage in June 2018.

About Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne is an author and a champion for mental health charity SANE. Holly's first two books, Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, have been critically acclaimed and translated into six languages. The first book in the Spinster Club series, Am I Normal Yet?, was chosen as a World Book Night book for 2016 and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize. The Spinster Club series has also inspired the formation of Spinster Clubs across the UK and Ireland. Before becoming a full-time author, Holly was editor of TheSite.org - a charity-run advice and information website for young people.

About Seno Gumira Ajidarma

Seno Gumira Ajidarma is a prolific author of non-fiction, short stories, and essays. Under his penname, Mira Sato, he has published poetry has well. He is also known as a journalist, photographer, lecturer, and film critic. Much of Seno’s work, both the factual and the fictional, focuses on everyday life and criticizes contemporary social, cultural and political conditions—but he has a great sense of humor as well, and has published satirical essays, playful poetry, a cartoon novel, and historical fantasies. He is well known in Indonesia as a consistent advocate of free speech and freedom of publication, and is the recipient of numerous literary awards, both national and international, including the Khatulistiwa Prize, Indonesia’s top literary award, the South East Asia (SEA) Write Award, and the Dinny O’Hearn Prize for Literary Translation. His work has been translated into English, French, German, and Japanese.

About Simone Buchholz

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as the second Place of the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

About Stefan Hertmans

Stefan Hertmans is the prizewinning author of many literary works, including poetry, novels, essays, plays, short stories and a handbook on the history of art. He has taught at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, at the Sorbonne, the Universities of Vienna, Berlin and Mexico City, at The Library of Congress in Washington, and University College London.

About Antoine Laurain

Born and bred Parisian Antoine Laurain is one of France’s bestselling writers. His award-winning novels have been translated into 14 languages and have sold more than 150,000 copies in English. His debut in translation, The President’s Hat, was a Waterstones Book Club and Indies Introduce choice and was adapted for French TV.

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