The Brussels Book Fair that took place from 9th to 13th of March 2017 is one of the major national events for French-speaking publishing houses. For visitors, it is a unique chance to buy all kinds of books in the same place: everything from the classics to children’s literature including crime novel, romance and detective novels, comics or even specialized works on architecture, photography or translation. Visitors also have the chance to participate in seminars on various topics: creative writing workshops, conferences on the book industry, the role of France within the E.U., the role of women within children’s literature etc. Yet more importantly, this book fair is a unique chance for editors and publishing houses to make a name for themselves.
As a trainee for the Imbernon publishing house located in La Cité Radieuse in Marseille, I had the chance to participate in the Brussels Book Fair. I shared a stand with the Peinture Fraîche bookshop team and together we represented ten other publishers and paper manufacturers: Aparté, Fonds Mercator, Frémok, Louis Vuitton, Prisme, Bec en l’air, Parenthèses, Cercle d’art, Graphius Printing and Arctic Paper. The building we were in was divided into four halls in a row, and we were on the last stand. Although being last was somehow a disadvantage – as people were here for spontaneous purchases and therefore spent their money on the previous rooms – having a spot in such a popular event gave us a chance to make people aware of who we are and what we do.
In addition to working for Imbernon editions and the Peinture Fraîche bookshop, it was also the opportunity to have publishers know about me and my work. As a translation student wishing to become a translator, or at least to work for a publishing house, meeting all these publishers allowed me to talk about my academic background and my professional project. It is usually quite difficult to get in touch with publishers directly, but being present at the same Book Fair, and all the more as a professional and not as a regular job seeker, publishers were more responsive. For instance, I met a publisher working for a children’s literature publishing house who asked me to send her my personal translations to have a look at them. I also met a young woman who wishes to open a publishing house for children’s books and therefore who was interested in my work.
Thus, having the chance to do an internship within my university cursus opened up many possibilities, and participating in this Book Fair turned them into opportunities. The master ACMA (Aire Culturelle du Monde Anglophone) being oriented to finding work afterwards, it offered this internship possibility and I was the first student to benefit from it. This opportunity should be promoted again for the years to come, as students who are interested in translation and book-related jobs will benefit from a first experience will gain a very valuable glance at the professional world, which is highly enriching.
Keywords : Brussels – Book Fair – Imbernon Publisher – Internship