Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Bologna Licensing Trade Fair and BolognaBookPlus go ahead with enhanced digital programme as BolognaFiere announces cancellation of in-person events due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions

It is with great regret that the organisers of Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), Bologna Licensing Trade Fair (BLTF) and BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus) have decided to cancel this year’s physical events, scheduled to take place in Bologna, June 14th – 17th. Already postponed from its usual date in April, BolognaFiere committed to giving participants two months’ notice of their decision and have today confirmed that this year’s event will go ahead in a digital-only format.

As much of Europe continues to battle the pandemic, with lockdowns and travel restrictions, Italy is no exception with the region of Emilia-Romagna currently – and for the coming weeks – in a strict lockdown.

Gianpiero Calzolari, President of BolognaFiere says, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, BLTF and BBPlus, offer a home-from-home for the international publishing community to meet, do business and launch new projects. As international travel remains so uncertain during the continuing global pandemic, and therefore the presence of international participation, the painful decision to postpone the physical fair to 2022 was taken thus allowing us to concentrate on the extensive digital programme in anticipation of meeting in Spring 2022 – in Bologna, in person.  This sacrifice affects not just us, as organisers, but our publishing industry colleagues as we miss, once again, the opportunity to meet and do business. We are certain that the vaccination programmes underway across the globe, combined with necessary lockdowns, will be successful in preventing the spread of the virus once and for all, allowing us to bring back BCBF and its parallel initiatives bigger and better than ever next year.’

All planning to date has been hybrid with digital options central to the BCBF, BLTF and BBPlus offer. A comprehensive programme of lectures, illustration exhibitions, conferences, seminars, workshops and awards will continue to go ahead online in June.

The Global Rights Exchange, launched last year, has been redeveloped and boasts many new features, providing a useful and easy to use 365° tool for the discovery, buying and selling of rights.

BCBF Director Elena Pasoli says, ‘It is with a very heavy heart that we cancel the physical edition of BCBF, and its connected licensing trade show BLTF, for the second year. Despite our earlier optimism for an improved global pandemic picture, in order to allow our exhibitors and visitors to plan, we know that the responsible course of action is to share our decision at this point. As last year, we can reassure all our exhibiting partners that where refunds are necessary, they will be made. We are putting all our energies into the digital programme and look forward to welcoming everyone in person in 2022 for the 59th edition of BCBF with BLTF and the 2nd edition of BBPlus.’ 

Guest Director, BBPlus, Jacks Thomas adds, ‘Flexibility is the name of the game in planning any event during these unprecedented times and as the transition to a digital only model has been key in our thinking, we look forward to getting the globe together virtually in June and face-to-face in Spring 2022.’

Highlights from the 2021 Bologna Children’s Book Fair Digital Programme:


  • The presentation of 2021 BCBF Awards:
    • NEW BolognaRagazzi Award Poetry category
    • NEW BolognaRagazzi CrossMedia Award
    • Live announcement of the Bologna Prize Best Children’s Publishers of the Year


  • International conference on children’s poetry within the framework of the BolognaRagazzi Award
  • A workshop on comics translation
  • 3rd edition of the international conference of children’s bookshops

ILLUSTRATION EXHIBITIONS: 9 showcases on BCBF Galleries 

  • Solo Exhibition of Sarah Mazzetti (winner of the BCBF-Fundación SM International Award for Illustration)
  • Online exhibition “Discovering Dante Through Pictures” and a meeting with the authors of the most beautiful children’s books dedicated to the Poet
  • New edition of the “Italian Excellence” exhibition showcasing the new generation of Italian children’s illustrators.

Global Rights Exchange:

The Global Rights Exchange (GRE) is the international copyright trading and content licensing platform created by BolognaFiere/Bologna Children’s Book Fair in partnership with PubMatch within the framework of ALDUS UP project. The GRE has made a number of important improvements and enhancements such as a new licensing section and new highlights and filters specifically targeting the children’s book market that will make the search for titles, authors and publishers quicker and more effective, helping copyright buyers and sellers to meet up more rapidly with the right partners.

BolognaBookPlus Digital Programme:

14 June: Headline conference: Forging Forward: The Pandemic – An Interruption, or an Opportunity to Rethink

15 June:

  • How to Sell Rights & Understand Licensing in Children’s Books
  • Annual Literary Translation Forum

16 June:

  • How to Self-Publish in Italy
  • Book Jackets that Sell in the Digital Era: Illustrators’ Showcase and Workshop (for general publishing)
  • Dante 700 Lecture: Celebrating Dante and his Global Contemporary Literary Greats

About BolognaFiere

BolognaFiere S.p.A. is a leading European exhibition organizer with over 85 events. As a world leader in trade shows across a number of different sectors—including art, children’s publishing, cosmetics, agribusiness, construction and design—BolognaFiere has developed a cutting-edge portfolio of international exhibitions in key Russian, North American and Asian markets, including China with eight exhibitions already established.

About Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF)

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the world’s leading trade show dedicated to the children’s publishing and content industry, attracting 1,500 exhibitors and around 30,000 professional visitors from around 100 countries. Created in 1964, BCBF brings every year to Bologna (Italy) a unique and diverse global audience, made of publishers, agents, developers, illustrators, authors, booksellers, librarians and all the other professionals involved not only in the book but also in the multimedia and licensing businesses for children’s content.

For further programming information please check our website regularly:

About Bologna Licensing Trade Fair (BLTF)

Held in parallel with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, BLTF is a premier event in Europe where major licensors and licensing agencies meet to present the latest market features. BLTF is a great networking and business opportunity for licensors, licensees and distributors. A showcase for the latest products, it also offers sector specialists an exhaustive overview of trending themes in the allied worlds of digital and media, publishing, and kids entertainment.

About BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus)

BolognaBookPlus, launched in 2021, in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association (AIE), runs in parallel with the acclaimed Bologna Children’s Book Fair, aiming to reach a wider professional audience across the global publishing industry. This year, in line with BCBF, it is an online only event, comprising a one-day Industry Conference, a Rights Training Course, a Translation Forum, Publisher Pitches, and a Self-Publishing Conference, Author Ambassador programme and Dante 700 lecture.


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