A lover of reading and all things independent, we jumped at the chance to speak to the Katie Brown, publishing assistant at Mira Publishing, about Leeds’ first cross-cultural book fair taking place this July.

With two full days packed with a variety of events, exhibitors and activities, Leeds’ first cross-cultural book fair, promises a day full of diversity, knowledge and unity for lovers of reading and writing alike.

Over 500,000 book titles are published in English every year, yet, the prevailed high street bookshops select only 70,000-80,000 titles to display on their bookshelves. This means that less that a tenth of the fantastic, diverse titles in existence are actually made readily available to us. Leeds Cross-Cultural Book Fair 2013 hopes combat this barrier, and Katie tells us how.

Who, what and where are you?

Leeds Loves Books, Leeds’ cross-cultural book fair, which will be held in St. Johns Centre on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 July 2013.Our company, Mira Publishing House is a non-profit charity based in Leeds. As a community interest company webelieve in the role of literature and its ability to enhance an individual’s awareness ofthemselves. We also aim to promote social cohesion andinternational understanding through our publications, translations andeducational projects.

What do you offer that other places in Leeds don’t?

We are the first cross-cultural ‘indie’ book fair for independent publishers, bookshops, artists and musicians in Leeds!

What can the people of Leeds expect from the fair?

The book fair aims to bring diverse literary cultures together and celebrate diversity. There will be an obvious emphasis on translations – English Pen statistics show that only 3% of worldwide literature is available in English.

Our guests will also represent the rich and diverse subcultures that have settled in the United Kingdom. With less than a tenth of titles displayed on the mass-market bookshelves, this offers little hope for non-mass market cultures. Other titles therefore have little chance of being available for the ordinary reader, so we are aiming to raise public awareness about alternative literature by encouraging local writers to book a stand at the event and for people to be enriched by what is on offer over the two days.

What sort of things will be happening over the two days?

On St John’s outside balcony will have volunteer actors reading passages from exhibited books, with an emphasis on world literature.

St Johns inside balcony will have a book-signing event where every hour, and two authors will have the opportunity to present their work to the general public.

At The Arch Cafe there will be Academic and professional seminars, suitable for all. We are currently working with the School of Modern Languages and Culture andTranslation Studies at the University of Leeds on this exciting programme. Alternatively, we are also encouraging the people of Leeds to contact us with ideas to debate.

Who will be exhibiting at the event?

Independent publishers and bookshops, grants programmes such as English PEN and SI Leeds Literary Prize, artists and designers.

What do you think makes Leeds so awesome?

Leeds is becoming a more and more exciting place to live and work. We are proud to be proving articles like this wrong and showing people that Leeds is just as capable of being cultural than anywhere else in the UK!

Where do you like to hang out in Leeds?

The Reliance is a recent favourite discovery. We also love The Arch Cafe of course!

More information can be found at the fair’s dedicated website, where you will find details ofdates, times, price and a programme of events. See you all there!