Publishers from 66 countries congregated last week for the 9th Istanbul Publishing Fellowship, one of the premier networking and rights opportunities in the international book world. 

I was privileged to be among the 258 foreign publishers and agents invited (and could lay claim to having travelled the furthest to get to Istanbul, the closest competitors having come from Brazil and Indonesia …).


Oratia’s rights table at the Rami Library


Joining the visitors were 125 Turkish publishers and agents, affording a unique opportunity to talk books and rights in what is a buoyant market of 80 million people, and to network with many Middle Eastern, Central Asian and European colleagues.

At the entrance to the spectacular Rami Library complex 


Held from 5 to 7 March in the historic Rami Library in Istanbul’s Bayrampaşa district, the fellowship focused on one-to-one business meetings, alongside speaker sessions, a gala dinner and informal exchanges.

Following disruptions over recent years due to Covid-19 and the tragic earthquakes of 2023, this year’s event marked a welcome return to business as usual. 


With Turkish publisher Selahattin Arslan


Mexico featured as the focus country this year, and it was a pleasure to catch up with Mexican colleagues including former IPA president Hugo Setzer and Editorial Planeta rights coordinator for Latin America, Carol Reyes.


I learned a great deal from meetings with publishers from countries as diverse as Azerbaijan, Egypt, Greece, Japan and Slovenia, and meetings with Turkish publishers confirmed their country’s reputation for being welcoming and open to new ideas.

Now to the pile of reading and follow-up that always ensues from such fertile exchanges.


At the Gala Dinner with publishing friends from Türkiye, Greece and Slovenia


I would hope that more publishers from Oceania can make the trip to Istanbul in future years, because the interest in our books is certainly keen — many of those I met are looking to bring new voices to their publishing lists, and have great curiosity about our corner of the globe.


Fellows gathered on the event’s last day

As a case in point, being in Istanbul happily coincided with publication by major publishing house Pegasus Yayınları of four books from our bestselling New Bum! Series by Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird.


It was a delight to receive samples of these Turkish editions and celebrate with Nazlı Gurkas of Black Cat Agency, who brokered this rights deal. 
My sincere thanks to the Istanbul Publishing Fellowship team for this valuable experience. 
The Turkish Press and Publishers Copyright and Licensing Society organised the event, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
İstanbul’da tekrar görüşmek üzere!
– Peter Dowling, in Istanbul