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London Book Fair 2008: First Impressions

Kirsty reports from the London Book Fair.

First impressions? Wow.

I have never been to the London Book Fair before, and I’m not sure I knew what to expect as I approached the forbidding entrance to the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. As soon as I was through the front door, though, I was swept up in a mush of people and sound, everyone and everything seemingly zooming in a multitude of directions. After a minor panic of “where the hell am I going?” I found the ‘Exhibitors’ door, flashed my snazy LBF badge and that was it. I was in.

Chaos presented itself to me, albeit it suited and booted chaos, and I decided the first order of business was to find the OUP stand. L605 my post-it note said. “That’s all well and good,” says I, “but where on earth is it? And more the point, where on earth am I?”. There was no use looking at the map on the wall. There were so many people peering at it that I fear it might have well as been a Tube map for all the good that was to come out of it.

But, we bloggers are brave and hardy souls, so I took a deep breath and threw myself into the throng. As luck would have it, the OUP stand has a large blue tower in the middle of it, so I located it relatively quickly, accdentally swinging my laptop bag into only a handful of other visitors. It, like its partners around it, was a seething mass of table and chairs, and what I presume to be very important meetings. I wouldn’t disturb anyone, I would just go wandering. Who knew what bookish delights lay in wait?

And here is the highlight of Day One so far: crabcakes. Freshly cooked crabcakes, prepared before my very eyes. Look! See?

They were delicious. And as if that wasn’t enough, look what I, er, accidentally stumbled upon next door:

Champagne, you say? Well, all in the name of blogging! See what I do for you readers? Such a hardship.

Catch up with me over the next three days as I bring you the best of the London Book Fair 2008 – and especially check out the edited highlights of tomorrow night’s Oxford World’s Classics Official Launch! I can’t wait. I love my job.

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