We had plenty of water, and of course, tea, coffee, wine (depending on time of day). In addition to the assorted devices, notebooks and dozens of pens that mysteriously run out of ink, we had our piles of books to rest our devices on and others that are new and exciting on our own lists. By the end of the week we had become experts on setting up our own backdrops and lighting.

So, without moving from our desks, we were able to meet publishers and co-agents from across the world – from the US and Canada, to Australia and across Europe. Instead of a five-day event, we set up meetings across several weeks, spreading them out instead of cramming them in. And it worked so well.

We probably had more meetings with people we already know than with new contacts – those tended to come via the more formal fair events. But nevertheless, these were very welcome, helpful and productive. Whilst not a substitute, it’s good to know that even if the physical fair doesn’t take place we can still have a really meaningful and productive digital event.

We can’t wait to be back at the Buchmesse. To do face to face meetings and make delicious small talk before diving into our catalogues with immense excitement and enthusiasm. There are endless possibilities and so much optimism.

  • Books to bring home. X
  • Snacks for table. Check.
  • Devices. Check.
  • Our Dhokra reading ladies for the table. X
  • Days that are immeasurably long. Check.
  • No voice after a day. Check.
  • Random food. Check.
  • Eye drops. Check.
  • Assorted beverages. Check.
  • Exhaustion. Check.

Jayapriya Vasudevan and Helen Mangham run the Jacaranda Literary Agency.

This series of articles on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on publishing is curated by Kanishka Gupta.