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Frankfurt Book Fair 2019: The International Trends

Another year, another Frankfurt Book Fair, and plenty of exciting news from MMLA.

We had already secured numerous deals for our authors before heading to the fair, but the work definitely didn’t stop there. With 5 days, more than 250 meetings, and many, many more cups of coffee than anyone should logically consume, the fair got underway.

The Agents Centre, situated this year in the impressive, domed Festhalle, was our home for the week and during that time we met and talked about books with editors and agents from all over the world, learning about the challenges and successes of individual markets, and getting lots of hot tips on the best books to read!

Something that became evident early on was how much of the international market was now taken up by ‘local’ authors. In past years, international fiction lists were dominated by British and American authors, whereas now there were several excellent homegrown writers coming up to challenge the space in the market. Add to the mix normal market difficulties, both political and social, and competition is fierce. Readers will always want good stories though, and one thing our MM Agency authors do very well is tell a brilliant yarn!

Everyone was still on the lookout for the epic love story, and many editors were keen to find the perfect saga for their list. We had our own love story at the MM Agency in the shape of Jodie Chapman’s fantastic debut, Another Life, which had already sold to Blanvalet in Germany in a huge two book deal, as well as Mondadori in Italy and Suma das letras in Spain before we’d even left London.

Literary fiction, which in previous years has taken a backseat to the more commercial big hitters, found its footing this year, and we were delighted when veteran MM author Emma Stonex took the international world by storm with her literary debut, The Lamplighters ,which has now sold in 15 languages and counting. Not to be outdone, we had more good news on the thriller/suspense side with Katherine Faulkner’s Greenwich Park being snapped up in a brilliant deal by Alison Hennessey at Bloomsbury, and Ben Creed’s The Refrain drawing everyone in internationally with deals in Germany (Droemer), Poland (Rebis) and Japan (Kadokawa). We were also thrilled to announce the 30th international deal for Ashley Audrain’s absolutely brilliant debut, The Push.

Climate change was the headline topic this year, and with Frankfurt being an unseasonable 24 degrees it’s understandable why this important issue had so much focus.

We kept everyone cool talking about Katherine May’s utterly captivating and evocative book, Wintering. Even the Brazilians seemed to be getting on board and embracing the cold! Non-fiction was by far the star of the show this year, and with non-fiction titles easily outselling fiction in several territories this is an area that’s going to continue to have a strong presence at fairs to come.

It wasn’t all work though. We also found time to raise a glass (or two) of fizz with Elizabeth Kay and her 27 international publishers; toasting her debut thriller Seven Lies which will be published around the world in 2020.