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Petra Roth, Former Mayor of Frankfurt am Main

Petra Roth

© privat

Frankfurter Buchmesse, I still remember an incident from 1967 when I was working at the Herder Verlag stand. It must have been on the first or second day: I came to the entrance in the morning, directly in front of me was a young man with slightly longer hair, arguing – the cashier insisted on a ticket, the man in front of me insisted on free admission, and I decided to intervene.

With my badge already in hand, I explained to the cashier: this was Peter Handke, an author who had books here at this fair, who simply had to be let in! Finally the cashier relented: „Fine, then take him with you.“

Decades later, in 2001, I met Peter Handke again at an award ceremony. Siegfried Unseld had invited me to congratulate him with a few words, which I gladly did. It was about the „Blauer Salon Preis“ of the Literaturhaus, and even though Peter Handke didn't recognise me there, that of course made it come full circle for me.

For me, the story also fits in well with the anniversary of this wonderful book fair, which has always seduced me with a lot of passion to fight to keep this fair in Frankfurt and not to move to another city. That took a lot of strength, but the authors and publishers thanked me for it afterwards. Even today, I am still a great friend of Frankfurter Buchmesse. Congratulations!