An Alien in London

By A.G.Billig
Apr 13th, 2015
Somewhere in Kensigton

Somewhere in Kensigton

The first time I came to London, I was editor in chief of a teenage magazine called Popcorn. It was the year of Kylie Minogue’s one -off “Body Language” special show at Hammersmith Apollo, of Robbie Williams’ “Live at Knebworth” DVD release screening at Odeon Theatre in Leicester Square and a round table session with Pet Shop Boys. I remember being struck with awe and not being able to utter a single question. I remember sharing a room (no bath, just a tiny sink) with three other fellow journalists in a hotel located in Vincent Square  (Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage – does it ring a bell?), the white clean sheets that covered the homeless asleep on doorsteps, my brand new suitcase handle getting broken right at the beginning of the journey, Camden, its stores, punk people and MTV headquarters, travelling a lot by bus because I wanted to see as much of London as possible, night walks around Westminster, the hotel lobby with a curry odour, some policemen riding on amazing, beautiful horses. Forgetting my hand gloves in a cab. Walking in the light rain to Buckingham palace (it was November and the only rainy day was the one when George Bush came to London), an old woman wearing sandals (no socks), the hypnotising image of London from the sky – like a dragon made of fire and gems.

The second time was all about fashion. It was London Fashion Week, the ON OFF category for new designers. Being a PR girl in and advertising agency and wishing I was someone else. I remember eating sushi at Harrods’ (not my idea), a tiny hotel room, feeling lonely, Covent Garden deserted by night.

The third time, was the lucky one. It was 2012, London Book Fair. Meeting, accidentally,  Maria Smith and Mark Pearce from MP Publishing and getting a publishing deal for my first book. Quite a big deal for a girl came out of nowhere, from a small Eastern European country with no important literary contribution to the grand, universal literature.

Here I am, again in London. Feeling a bit like an alien. Running away from the crowded area, seeking the peace and solace on the cosy street of  Kensington. London Book Fair made me pack my bags again. Only this time I have no manuscript. Just an open heart and readiness to let myself to be inspired by what I am about to see and hear, by the people I ‘m going to meet. Based on my previous experience, London Book Fair is an even I strongly recommend to any emerging author. Based on what I’ve seen on the event’s website, LBF2015 is going to be a great experience. It was really hard to chose from all the events and seminars especially since some of them are overalpping. If you wonder what’s on may agenda for the first day of the fair, here are a few hints: Kindle Direct Publishing (self-publishing is an option I’m considering for my next book), Effective PR & Marketing (see how well I did in the past and what I need to improve), Publishing in The Digital Media. And more!

See you tomorrow. Maybe at the Fair 🙂

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