A visitor’s view

Artists book specialist and, for 22 years chief cataloguer for Tate Library, Maria White explains why she is a regular visitor to Small Publishers Fair and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s Fair.

Small Publishers Fair is one of the highlights of the artists’ book year: a gathering of eminent book artists from Britain and abroad. With over 60 publishers, the fair is a good size without being overwhelming. For collectors, whether for public collections and libraries or private collections, it is the opportunity to see a large range of high level work at one time. Librarians and collectors can meet artists and publishers, make contacts and discuss work.

The fair always has a good atmosphere and its popularity among publishers sees many return year after year. I believe that it is the one place in London can you will meet Coracle, Weproductions, Moschatel Press, Peter Foolen Editions, Boekie Woekie, Uniformbooks and Impact Press together. Other returning presses include Ambeck Design, AMBruno, artistsbooksonline.com, Corbel Stone Press, Ensixteen Editions, Jane Cradock-Watson, John Dilnot, Mandy Branner , Mark Pawson and whnicPRESS. However do not let the fact that there are returning publishers lead you to think that the fair could be stale in anyway. It is certainly not! The continuing production of new and exciting work prevents that.

The fair is accompanied by an exhibition and talks. I am looking forward to seeing this year’s exhibition of work by Nancy Campbell. The display will show selections of her work from the past decade from her own imprint, Bird Editions, and from her collaborations with other artists including Mette-Sofie Ambeck, Abigail Rorer and Roni Gross. Nancy will also be talking about her new book, Proviso on Friday afternoon (3.30 pm). 

The fair has always had a touch of poetry about it so it is not surprising to find a number of poetry titles being launched. These include Orcs!!! by David Ashford, VENUSBERG by Eleanor Perry and Of sirens – body and faultlines by Nat Raha, all published by Veer Books, and a selection of Brian Coffey’s poems in How far from daybreak, published by Etruscan Books. The Saison Poetry Library (South Bank Centre) chooses the fair to publicise its collection by taking a table and holds its open day on the Sunday after the fair.

However for me the heart of the event lies in the fair itself: the opportunity to see exciting artists’ books, talk to the artists and publishers and to purchase amazing books.

Maria White | @maiaewhite