It seems that the unprecedented closure of airspace across Britain and large parts of Northern Europe is set to continue into the weekend, after the volcanic eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland has sent a massive plume of ash into the atmosphere. So overseas visitors to the London Book Fair might be rather thin on the ground this year. My agents in Singapore and in Turkey have both had to cancel appointments with me because they can't get here. It's a great pity. I am still hoping to see my agents from Brazil, Spain and Italy. They haven't yet e mailed me to say they can't make it but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't show. Still, never mind, my publishers will be there and I'll get the chance to catch up with a few contacts and friends as well as meet some booksellers I know.
International publishers are a huge feature of London Book Fair. South Africa is the Market Focus at this year's London Book Fair with Chinese and Russian authors, and Arabian poets in the line-up of seminars and talks, not to mention rights agents from Europe and publishers and agents due in from America.
But let's spare some time to think not only of those whose travel plans have been disrupted but also those 800 and more people who have been displaced in Iceland due to widespread flooding caused by the eruption. What's missing a mere book fair in comparison to that?
Here’s hoping it all blows over soon and that the Icelanders can get back to their homes and those stranded away from loved ones can return safe and soon.