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At the London Book Fair, there were noticeable publishing trends surrounding Romantasy, Artificial Intelligence, and Palestinian voices.

At the London Book Fair, there were noticeable publishing trends surrounding Romantasy, Artificial Intelligence, and Palestinian voices.


The London book fair was a hot spot for discussions on Palestine, artificial intelligence, and romantasy. Over 30,000 professionals in the book industry, including agents, authors, translators, and publishers, gathered at Olympia London to negotiate deals and exchange ideas on the latest publishing trends and challenges. Our summary includes the key highlights and a glimpse into what we can anticipate in the book market in the upcoming year.

Palestinian voices

During the fair’s opening day, Book Workers for a Free Palestine organized a gathering outside to show solidarity for the loss of Palestinian writers, poets, academics, and journalists at the hands of Israel. Ailah Ahmed, a publishing director at Penguin, reported on the event. In addition, English PEN hosted two seminars centered on Palestine and the importance of freedom of expression. These discussions included featured writers such as Isabella Hammad, who was recently nominated for the Women’s prize.

During a fair, Rafeef Ziadah expressed difficulty in finding space for poetry in the midst of violence. She received messages questioning why she has not written similar poems to her well-known “We Teach Life”. Ziadah explains that poetry cannot be demanded during wartime, as it does not operate on call. Additionally, Profile Books obtained publishing rights for Raja Shehadeh’s book, What Does Israel Fear from Palestine? The book delves into rejected peace opportunities by Israel since its creation in 1948 and analyzes the factors that contributed to their failures.


A discussion was held to recognize books that showcase main characters who are neurodivergent. The author Marina Magdalena was present and spoke about her Antigone Kingsley series, which features a protagonist with ADHD. This series is just one example of the increasing number of books with neurodiverse main characters. Pamela Aculey also gave a talk on how augmented reality can enhance the reading experiences of children who are neurodivergent. Aculey stated, “Not all great minds think alike,” highlighting the importance of diverse perspectives. These conversations were sparked by Fern Brady winning the first ever Nero non-fiction prize for her memoir, Strong Female Character, which reflects on her experience growing up as an undiagnosed autistic person.

on society is estimated to be worth $15.7 trillion by 2030.

AI is projected to contribute $15.7 trillion to society by 2030.

According to Bill Thompson of BBC Research & Development, a writer is a unique entity that cannot be replaced by a machine. However, the publishing industry will experience major upheaval due to advancements in AI. During a discussion about AI and publishing, Thompson stated that copyright, marketing, distribution, e-books, and translation will all be impacted and transformed by AI.

During the discussion, the panel members pointed out that AI models, like ChatGPT, could serve as a helpful tool for writers to collaborate with. While it wouldn’t write the entire book, it would be like having a companion during moments when one’s family and children are unable to assist with things like character development. The AI would always be available and would not tire out or stop working. Additionally, Kate Devlin, a reader in AI and society at King’s College London, shared that she had utilized AI in an adversarial manner. When facing a severe case of writer’s block, she asked ChatGPT to generate an opening for a chapter. She strongly disagreed with the AI’s response which actually helped her overcome her block due to her anger towards it.

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BookTok and romantasy

This year, there was a lot of attention on the fusion of romance and fantasy, known as romantasy, with discussions on BookTok and its impact on the genre’s popularity. Love stories were a big hit with publishers, and there was a high demand for romantasy, according to Lucy Hale, managing director of Pan publishing, as reported by The Bookseller. Del Rey, which is a subsidiary of Penguin, obtained the rights to Laura Steven’s novel Silvercloak, which was described as a romantic fantasy taking place in a world filled with crime and powered by pain and pleasure, where mafia groups await in every corner.

Greek retellings

Recently, there has been a surge of Greek retellings following the success of books like Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. This trend continues as two new acquisitions in this genre were announced this week: Magic Cat Publishing obtained the rights to She Speaks, a feminist retelling of Greek myths by classicist Honor Cargill-Martin. At the same time, HarperNorth acquired Bad Girls of Ancient Greece by first-time author Lizzy Tiffin. This book is described as a “guide to all the notorious female figures of ancient Greece,” including Athena, Medusa, Aphrodite, and Polyphonte.


The subject of sustainability in the publishing world continued to generate discussion this year, with over 20 events hosted at the designated Sustainability Hub. At the fair, Siena Parker, the social impact director at Penguin, shared that the Publishing Declares pledge has brought together 184 participants committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, but no later than 2050. Parker emphasized the importance of continuing to aid these signatories in fulfilling their pledge.

The event also introduced two fresh releases about the ocean: “Ocean” by David Attenborough and Colin Butfield, slated for release on Attenborough’s 99th birthday on May 8, 2025; and “Coastlines: A Four-Billion Year Journey Along the World’s Seashores”by Ben Wilson. Both books will be published by different branches of Hachette.

Source: theguardian.com