Skip to main content

Political discussions and artistic positions at the 68th Frankfurt Book Fair

Frankfurt, 15 September 2016 – Brexit, the attempted coup in Turkey, armed conflict in Syria, the refugee crisis and populist tendencies in Europe, the election campaign in the USA: This year, the political events of the day are sure to dominate conversations at the Frankfurt Book Fair – and will be taken up in numerous events and panel discussions. After all, “Europe!” is this year’s slogan for the Weltempfang, the Book Fair’s cultural-political platform in Hall 3.1. “Since a purely economic approach to the European project clearly doesn’t have the necessary integrative power, we’d like to launch new discussions about substantive issues”, said Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, on the occasion of a press conference in Frankfurt today. “We don’t want these discussions to take the form of navel-gazing by member states, but rather to incorporate current events and perspectives from around the globe and, in particular, debates about values such as freedom of speech and publication”. Boualem Sansal, Elif Shafak, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Ian Kershaw, Herfried Münkler, Timothy Garton Ash and Bernhard Pörksen are just a few of the prominent thinkers and academics who will help shape the programme in the Weltempfang – Centre for Politics, Literature and Translation.

The Frankfurt Book Fair’s Guest of Honour this year provides an excellent example of how we can overcome borders and, together, focus on similarities in 2016. For, this year, the Guest of Honour in Frankfurt isn’t a nation but a linguistic and cultural region. Flanders and the Netherlands’ exceptionally high number of new releases attests to how actively and successfully they have worked together: 422 titles in a wide range of genres, including literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s and young adult literature, comics and graphic novels. Compare this to the annual average of 85 new translations published in the German-speaking world in recent years.

What brings David Hockney, Jeff Jarvis, Julia Stoschek and Christiane zu Salm to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year? Why are many museums and institutions, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Google Cultural Institute exhibiting here? The answer is: THE ARTS+, a new fair within the Frankfurt Book Fair. With THE ARTS+ – which will take place for the first time from 19 to 23 October – the Frankfurt Book Fair is breaking new ground. With a one-day conference (Wednesday, 19 October 2016) and a five-day fair (Hall 4.1), THE ARTS+ offers an ideal place to discuss digitisation as an opportunity and to get new business models in the culture and creative industry off the ground. Using artificial intelligence for content development, 3D printing in the fields of architecture and fashion, virtual reality environments in museums and for urban planning, and digital marketplaces for creative products are just a few examples of how new technologies can be integrated into the cultural sector. But how can stakeholders benefit from this? These questions will be debated at THE ARTS+. (

Just four weeks before the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair, it looks as though the number of exhibitors will be roughly the same as last year, while a slightly higher number of trade visitors is expected. The Frankfurt Book Fair shows strong growth in the field of children’s and young adult books, one of the best-performing segments in the industry worldwide. A new area for international children’s and young adult publishers in Halls 5.1 and 6.1 will bring together 300 publishers – including many first-time exhibitors. Yet children’s and young adult books aren’t the only booming area for rights and licensing – 460 tables have been sold in the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg), and 692 agents from 31 countries will represent their authors here.

The awards an author receives are another measure of his or her importance and international standing: A new collaboration with the Man Booker Prize, one of the most important literary prizes in the English-speaking world, highlights outstanding literary voices – a number of which are expected in Frankfurt. The prize will be awarded in London on 25 October 2016. “There’s no doubt that the Man Booker is special, recognized as one of the most sought-after awards worldwide”, says Juergen Boos. “Winning it can lead to an enormous increase in sales – to say nothing of the potential for the sale of foreign, television and film rights. There’s no better place than the Frankfurt Book Fair for industry pros to initiate business talks”.

For fans and supporters of the Frankfurt Book Fair, “Friends of the Frankfurt Book Fair” has been established this year. Founding members include not just representatives of the city of Frankfurt am Main, but also businesses such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Fraport AG, Messe Frankfurt and Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main, as well as associations such as DEHOGA Hessen and the Frankfurt Hotel Alliance. They all know how important freedom of the written word is, and value – and wish to actively support – the Book Fair as the largest and oldest event of its kind in the world. “Friends of the Frankfurt Book Fair” offers businesses and institutions a place to network with new international target groups from the economic and cultural sector. In addition, the idea of “Friends” is also aimed at visitors to the Book Fair and will allow, for the first time, 1,000 of them (along with their plus-ones) to attend the trade-visitor days from 19 to 21 October 2016.

More information about the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016:

About the Frankfurt Book Fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with 7,100 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists – including 2,000 bloggers - in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. Since 1976, the Book Fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. The Frankfurt Book Fair organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. With its Business Club, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.

Contact for the media:
Press & Corporate Communications, Frankfurt Book Fair
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-138,
Kathrin Grün, PR manager, Tel.: +49 (0) 69 2102-170,
> Press information online >
> Photos in print quality >