Four days before CCBF actually opens its doors, in the dim light of November’s early morning, driver Ren and his Costa minivan already await at the gate of one our official hotels, ready to kick off to crisscross the city from publishing houses to book stores to schools to libraries. On board is a very special group of people. They are around 12 editors, publishers and other children’s book professionals coming from all around the world specially for a very special programme: SHVIP.
The SHVIP fellows are the first guests to get in town for CCBF and they are also the ones to stay for the longest period of time because 6 days is what is takes to visit up to 5 locals publishing houses, 3 or 4 book stores around Shanghai, attend the Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Award… and still have two full days to be around CCBF to do business with local publishers and talk at conferences and seminars.
But who are the SHVIP fellows and how are they chosen? Every year around April, CCBF launches an application that lasts around 2 months. Over this time, international publishers send a detailed file to explain why they want to join our most selective programme.
152 applications from 45 countries hit our mailbox this year: this is the highest and most diverse number ever reached! Following this is a very complex selection process to create a group harmonious and varied at the same time… This is a very difficult task as so many elements need to be taken into account when chosing the candidates: in other words, making a good SHVIP group is like a cooking recipe, you need many ingredients! Large publishing groups, small independent companies, famous publishers and more junior editors, people speaking as many different languages as possible, people from different backgrounds, different origins, tastes and interests… But there are also very important things that unites them all: their passion for children’s books, their professionalism, their enthusiasm to discover the Chinese publishing market.
For the first CCBF edition executed in cooperation with BolognaFiere, it was important to make a very special SHVIP. The fellowship is exceptionally offering 12 positions instead of the 10 usually attributed in this programme, making of the group the largest and most diverse.
New countries are also included for the first time, and we are happy to welcome companies from Japan, Russia and Rwanda! SHVIP is also bringing together some of the largest publishing groups in the world, including Penguin Randomhouse UK (the second most influential foreign publisher in China according to BookDao Publishing News Research), Grupo SM, leader on the Spanish-speaking market in both Europe and Latin America, or AST, the largest Russian publishing house. Other participants strike by the numerous awards they have been earning all around the world: let’s mention for example Fukuinkan Shoten (Japan) and Corraini (Italy), both winner of the prestigious Bologna Publishers Award.
Finally, while you will meet in this year’s SHVIP some very promising young editors, we are also very happy to welcome seasoned professionals like Barry Cunningham (The Chicken House UK), who is one of the best known names in publishing after he signed up J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book at Bloomsbury in 1992.
Here is the list of 12 outstanding SHVIP fellows you will meet at CCBF. Stay tuned to know where and when to meet them.