58th edition
14-17 June 2021

2021 BCBF Preview

Dear friends of BCBF,

It seems only yesterday that we launched the Special Online Edition BCBF 2020, enthusiastic to meet you on the web but sure we would meet again physically at the next edition. The challenging year continues for everybody throughout the world. It has been a year of waiting and of hard work to redesign and reinvent all our activities.

Today, uncertainty still abounds, but we, at BCBF, have not stood still. We have forged ahead and developed many new features – even more than before – and are ready to welcome you in person here in Bologna for those of you who are able to come, but also offer our services and programs on line to those of you who can’t make it. We will also have the magic of the Guest of Honour Country, Sharjah, bringing us the best illustration and literature being produced in the Arab Emirates. 

There is a time for all things. This is the time to strengthen the bonds of our magnificent friendship that makes us feel part of a community, the BCBF community. The time will soon come when we will be able to meet again in person. For some of us that will be in June this year. For others, it will be in 2022. In the meantime, BCBF will be there for everyone, offering the same opportunities to all.

Here's a preview:

BolognaBookPlus: an initiative that broadens the reach of BCBF to include a wider publishing-industry public. As well as a large international conference on the changes and challenges the book publishing industry is facing, a copyright training course, a translation workshop, publishers pitches, and a conference on self-publishing, BolognaBookPlus will also offer exhibition opportunities and sponsorships. This initiative is developed in partnership with AIE – The Italian Publishers Association.

Open Up – The BCBF Skill Box: the new, completely digital environment where professions, skills and cultures come together to create unique opportunities for exchange - and especially - growth. Accessible over the full 365 days of the year, The BCBF Skill Box is a great online opportunity to learn, dialogue, discover opportunities and enjoy the full immersion experience of being part of the international children’s publishing community.

Global Rights Exchange New Edition: a brand-new version of the BCBF digital copyright-trading platform with a broad series of new functions. These include not only multiple search filters but also customised showcases, chat rooms with translation, and videocall capability directly on the platform. The platform will be online very soon.

BolognaRagazzi CrossMedia Award: the natural evolution of the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award, this new prize acknowledges the transmedia publishing excellence with which storytelling editorial projects for children and young adults have been extended into other media.

Visual Identity 2021: Jean Mallard, the young French illustrator, selected several times for the Illustrators Exhibition, is the artist who, under the guidance of Chialab Design, developed this year’s BCBF identity. Jean has created phantasmagoric, multiform, intangible, heterogeneous ecosystems in which individual characteristics and beings interact and collaborate to create completely new environments and forms that in turn mesh to create new creatures. The relationships, bonds and exchange created mirror the symbiotic network of children’s content that takes place at the book fair.

Illustrators Exhibition: certainly not a new feature, having been the heart of the trade show for over 50 years, the Exhibition nonetheless has a lot that’s new: selection took place entirely online and the Jury proved exceptional in its ability to conduct in-depth discussions on a virtual platform in order to arrive at the selection of 77 talented artists from many different countries. In addition, the Jury decided for the first time to turn the spotlight also on the 227 shortlisted finalists whose work is now presented on the pages of this website.

BolognaRagazzi Award: This year, the special category of BCBF’s historic award will be poetry, in acknowledgement of the wealth of publications dedicated to this special children’s literature sector. Naturally, we confirm the other categories that have long been part of the Award - Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Debut Work – and also the Comics category, added last year.

Comics Corner: Started in 2020, this new space for a longstanding publishing genre – comics and the graphic novel - met with extraordinary acclaim from publishers the world over, and is already a major feature of BCBF. Already in full swing on the Global Rights Exchange platform, we were unfortunately unable to inaugurate the physical space last year, but will do so in June.

This is a first overview of our upcoming activities. But our programme is still in the making, and every day brings exciting new ideas. 

Follow developments here and on our social networks and stay fully updated. 

Stay tuned! 

Elena Pasoli, Exhibition Manager, and all the BCBF Team