By Megan Thomas 

Europe is undoubtedly a literary hub. From within the walls of the much-loved Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris, where famous authors like Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald spent much of their time, to bars in London’s Covent Garden area where Charles Dickens famously wrote and set his works. You could, in theory, float between cities and you would likely find something suitably “bookish” to do. However, if you’re especially fond of book exhibitions and fairs, these are the unmissable big five. 

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of Europe’s foremost exhibitions for children’s publishers, authors and eager parents, so it was with great sadness that the fair was cancelled due to COVID-19. However, in an incredibly swift and professional fashion, the team have pulled together an online version of the exhibition, which will be taking place 4 to 7 May 2020 on their online platforms. Known for sharing their unrivaled expertise on all manner of literary topics, the organisation will continue this ritual through awards, conferences, talk, masterclass, webinar, live streaming, interviews and special projects – all enjoyable and attendable from the comfort of your living room. 

The Frankfurt Book Fair 

The Frankfurt Book Fair, or The Frankfurter Buchmesse, as it would be called locally in Germany, is the biggest in the world. Thus, not just an essential European book exhibition to attend, but an international one at that. It is considered by many in the industry as the most vital book exhibition in terms of trade and international deals and is hailed as an innovative epicenter for both industry professionals and curious citizens of the world. 

The London Book Fair 

London is often regarded as a cultural capital of the world, and it should come as no surprise that the book exhibition put on annually is of international acclaim. It takes place in Olympia London, otherwise known as the Olympia Exhibition Centre, which has a reputation for facilitating some of the world’s most pertinent conferences due to its size and architectural vitality. Coinciding with the exhibition is London Book and Screen Week, which is the version you’ll want to focus on if you are less interested in trade negotiations and conferencing and more focused on the culture of reading. 

Paris Book Fair

The Parisians won’t be calling it the Paris Book Fair, but rather the Salon du Livre. Though others, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, maybe “more famous”, the venue for the Paris fair is arguably the most iconic of all the exhibitions in Europe. Taking place in the remarkable, modern Porte de Versailles, this is a fair with flair. 

Thessaloniki International Book Fair

The literati flock to Greece for the Thessaloniki International Book Fair, which is run by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. They place much emphasis on the need for the democratic sharing of ideas and practices, and make sure the fair offers a platform for discourse, interactive learning and engagement. Last year’s fair saw the most people it has seen yet, so there’s no doubt that the world is starting to recognize Thessaloniki as not only the home to Greece’s largest university, Aristotle University, but one of Europe’s most highly regarded book exhibitions. 

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