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Firsts London 2019

Firsts London 2019 is complete and a huge thank you to everyone who exhibited, visited, spoke or was involved in ensuring this year was a resounding success.

After a rainy morning the fair doors flung open to familiar and warming voice of actor and rare book enthusiast Stephen Fry. Visitors were met with smiling faces of booksellers’ from the UK and abroad all keen to share their latest treasures. This year the ABA was also joined by a special guest, Shakespeare’s Globe for a bespoke exhibition. Highlights from John Wolfson’s Rare Book Collection, including a First Folio, were displayed alongside a variety of props from the theatre. The International Society of Bible Collectors were also present displaying items such as an original Gutenberg Bible from the 15th Century.

The carefully curated program of talks and tours on all manner of rare book and literary themes provided something for any area of interest. Brooke Palmieri’s ‘Cruising the Book Fair’ a tour highlighting the LGBTQ+ items through the fair and Tom Ayling’s ‘Association Copies of Other People’s Books’ were just two of many tours drawing crowds through the fair aisles. Daisy Dunn author of ‘In The Shadow of Vesuvius’ presented her take on Pliny the Elder’s ‘Natural History’ and Sophie Mackintosh’s ‘Remaking Folklore in the Modern Age’ drew considerable interest in her new novel ‘The Water Cure’.

There was also a host of live exhibitors providing anything from demonstrations to advice. Studio 5 Book Arts were once again on hand creating beautiful decorations. St Bride’s book binders showed us how the special objects throughout the fair were originally made. Whilst Firsts London official partner Biblio was providing insights into all things digital.

The fairs positive feel and an overall buzz of activity was remarked on by both exhibitors and visitors and promises for a fantastic Firsts London 2020.