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“Georgia is exciting, moving and never indifferent”

Interview with Simone Bühler Head of the Guest of Honour programme at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (10–14 October 2018).

News - Georgien

Simone Bühler is Head of the Guest of Honour programme at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (10–14 October 2018). In this interview, she presents the highlights of this year’s Guest of Honour, Georgia, at the Frankfurter Buchmesse and reveals her personal literary highlights.

Simone Bühler

Head of the Guest of Honour programme at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (10–14 October 2018).

Head of the Guest of Honour programme at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (10–14 October 2018).


Georgia is the Guest of Honour this year at Frankfurter Buchmesse. What highlights can visitors look forward to?

Georgia is a really special Guest of Honour — not only is it bringing 70 authors, many recent publications and an exciting programme to the fair, but it’s also bringing along its own alphabet to Frankfurt. The ornately looping letters, the 33 “characters” of the Georgian alphabet, are an integral part of the country’s presence at the fair.

At the heart of Georgia’s appearance at the fair is the Guest of Honour Pavilion (Forum, Level 1) — here, you can experience the slogan “Georgia — Made by Characters” in an installation designed especially for the fair, as well as the special “characters” of Georgian authors.

In the Guest of Honour Pavilion you’ll also find the international book exhibition “Books on Georgia” — 200 publishers from 38 countries showing current titles of Georgian literature in translation, as well as books about Georgia. To cap off the day at the book fair, the Guest of Honour will host a happy hour with Georgian wine and music, daily starting at 5.00 pm.

Georgia will also have a presence almost everywhere at the fair: In addition to the Georgian national stand in Hall 5.0, the country will be present in the Gourmet Gallery, in the areas dedicated to Children’s and Young Adult Media, Education and Science and at the Agora, with events on more than ten different stages.

A particular highlight is the “museum island” at THE ARTS+ in Hall 4.1. Here, for the first time, Frankfurt cultural institutions will present their multifaceted culture programme around the Guest of Honour Georgia, including a copy of the Dmanisi skull displayed in the Senckenberg Museum as well as pictures of the exhibitions and small films made especially for the museum island.

How can visitors experience Georgia beyond the confines of the fair, in the city?

The museum island initiative shows that, in the coming months, Georgia will be incredibly present not only at the book fair, but in Frankfurt as well: The Georgian culture programme includes no less than 16 exhibitions, offering the public unique access to Georgia and its rich art and culture scene and current affairs. In addition to architecture and photography exhibitions, classic Georgian films and much more will be presented. A special highlight for friends of electronic music will be the DJs from the techno club Bassiani, who are real stars in the international club scene.

Just two and a half weeks until Frankfurter Buchmesse: What books from the Guest of Honour do you recommend to make the time fly b

Definitely books by our two opening speakers, Aka Morchiladze, for example Journey to Karabakh, and Nino Haratischwili, whose new novel The Cat and the General has already been shortlisted for the German Book Prize. Her novel The Eighth Life has been translated into several languages. I would also recommend Zaza Burchuladze with The Inflatable Angel, adibas, and Kafka Instant.

You yourself travelled to Georgia this spring and have worked a lot with Georgians. What kind of country is it? What makes Georgia

Georgia is exciting, you can see the influence of a very wide range of different cultures there — yet, at the same time, it is very distinct, full of character, moving and never indifferent. The country is currently undergoing a great deal of social change, and a new generation that looks to Europe is emerging. Georgia has a lot to tell. That’s something I particularly like about it. But that’s still an insider tip for now — though I’m sure that will change with its upcoming appearance as Guest of Honour in Frankfurt!

Thank you very much for the interview!

Frankfurt, 19. September 2018
This interview was conducted by Julia Biermann, Trainee Marketing & Communication at the Frankfurter Buchmesse and translated into English by Sophie Schlöndorff.