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The sun was shining and the halls were packed at the 61st Bologna Children’s Book Fair. With 31,735 trade visitors, reports show that attendance was up 10% on last year’s figures over the four days of the fair.

Pre-fair drinks for the NZ contingent.

Eboni Waitere of Huia publishers, awarded the BOP Publishers of the Year for Oceania.

The eye-catching New Zealand stand welcomed a steady stream of visitors, both those with scheduled meetings and walk-ons attracted by the stunning displays.  With four NZ publishers holding meetings on the stand (Oratia, HUIA, Frances Plumpton and Auckram Publishing) plus a further four in attendance (Gecko Press, Scholastic New Zealand, Beatnik Publishing and Bateman Books) along with our virtual exhibitor (OneTree House), the NZ presence felt stronger than ever.

The highlight of the fair had to be the announcement of HUIA Publishers as the BOP Publishers of the Year for Oceania. Co-Director of Huia, Eboni Waitere’s celebratory dance to the stage to collect the award brought  a roar of approval from the crowd.  If you missed the news, click here to learn more. Eboni was also invited to a special event to read an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in te reo Māori and attend a panel on Origins: Indigenous Voices in Publishing.

We were honoured to welcome New Zealand Consul General Austin Brick to the stand. He was able to learn a bit more about New Zealand publishing. He met the New Zealand exhibitors as well as book fair Director Elena Pasoli and had time to take in the sights of the fair.

Peter Dowling (Oratia), Don Auckram, Sue Heazelwood (of Auckram Publishing) with Consul General Austin Brick.

Our presence at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is possible thanks to the support of Creative New Zealand. Thanks also to our freight partners Book Systems International and Multi Freight Limited.

To read about a publisher’s perspective of Bologna check out Oratia’s blog here.