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A look at the themes of the 70th Frankfurter Buchmesse


Frankfurt, 12 September 2018 – The 70th Frankfurter Buchmesse (10-14 October 2018) will once again be the pacesetter for the international publishing industry and a showcase for trends in innovation. “The translation rights and licensing business is booming in Frankfurt”, said Juergen Boos at a press conference in Frankfurt this week. “The Literary Agents & Scouts Centre has been sold out since spring, and a new booking record has been set, with the number of participants growing by 5.6 per cent this year. Emerging regions at the fair include above all the USA, Canada, Africa and Southeast Asia. For the first time in years, Cuba will be represented at the book fair with a collective stand.”

With the catch line “Lettres d’Afrique: changing the narrative”, for the first time this year there will be a multi-day programme of events around the African book market (Hall 5.1 B 125). Publishing houses and collective stands from 19 African countries will present titles at the book fair, amongst others from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Cape Verde Islands, Nigeria and Senegal. The ASEAN Forum will put the spotlight on Southeast Asia. Numerous countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines – will be represented at the book fair this year in the new ASEAN Forum (Hall 4.0 B 106). During trade-visitor days, there will be events around these book markets in the forum. Amongst other things, the individual markets will be presented and the development of the publishing industry in the ASEAN states will be discussed – from academic and children’s book publishing to translation funding programmes.

A dynamic education sector and a focus on children’s media

The education sector is experiencing dynamic development at Frankfurter Buchmesse: Frankfurt EDU is a new international platform at the book fair for innovative concepts, content and technologies from the education sector. “We are going to turn Frankfurt EDU into the biggest event for exhibitors, service providers and technology providers from this sector”, said Juergen Boos. Exhibitors from the education sector will be present in Hall 4.2 (international exhibitors) and Hall 3.1 (German exhibitors). Frankfurt EDU includes new stages and formats in Hall 4.2, including the Education Stage, EdTech Area and LAB, an interactive education laboratory on 500 m² at the weekend. The new start-up area is the ideal home base at Frankfurter Buchmesse for innovative drivers from the EdTech sector.

Frankfurter Buchmesse is also expanding in the field of children’s and young adult media, with exhibitors spread across several halls – in addition to the popular Hall 3.0, Hall 6 will also feature many providers of children’s and young adult media. Books from European countries, Latin America and the Arab region will be presented in Hall 5. And trade visitors can look forward to doing business and networking in the new international children’s book centre “Frankfurt Kids - Foyer 5.1/6.1”. Moreover, Sunday, 14 October 2018, is Family Day in the Frankfurt Pavilion, with a colourful programme for children and adults.

BOOKFEST brings international stars to Frankfurt

An international literature programme with a first-class line-up in the new Frankfurt Pavilion, events with bestselling authors on the exhibition grounds, plus poetry slams, tastings and discussions in popular Frankfurt locations: BOOKFEST, Frankfurter Buchmesse's international festival for literature, stories and ideas, has grown this year, with 28 events planned at almost 20 venues in the city. Internationally known authors including Maja Lunde, Paul Beatty, Håkan Nesser, Meg Wolitzer, Dmitry Glukhovsky, Juli Zeh and Otto Waalkes will be present, as will real-life heroes – the fireman, paramedic and book author Jörg Nießen will report about his everyday life, while Süddeutsche Zeitung journalists Annette Ramelsberger, Wiebke Ramm, Tanjev Schultz and Rainer Stadler will talk about the National Socialist Underground (NSU) trial, which they covered for five years.

70 years of human rights: #onthesamepage international campaign

On 10 December 2018, the United Nations (UN) will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this occasion, Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) are joining in an action group with ARTE, ZDF and DER SPIEGEL to launch the “On The Same Page” campaign with support from the United Nations and Amnesty International. With this campaign, the action group invites everyone to commit to ensuring respect for human rights – because the principles adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 70 years ago remain as relevant today as they were in 1948. And yet, human rights are still violated in many countries and citizens who stand up for them often risk their lives and liberty.
Numerous booksellers will present book tables dedicated to the theme of human rights, and publishers are organising readings and events. A packet with materials to promote the actions is available free of charge. A social media campaign featuring numerous celebrities will be launched in September. At the Frankfurter Buchmesse, Amnesty International will set up an XXL book (over two-metres tall) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the Sunday of the fair, ARTE will dedicate the programme at its stand to the issue (Hall 4.1 D 14) – with, amongst other things, discussions about human rights, which ARTE will broadcast in late November.

Frankfurter Buchmesse – a platform for dialogue and freedom of speech

The 70th Frankfurter Buchmesse comes at a turbulent moment in time: As the idea of a united Europe finds itself on the defensive, populist groups in many democratic countries are growing in influence. A new style of politics that likes to instrumentalise facts has become increasingly popular. At the same time, the economic foundations of the book and publishing industry are changing fundamentally: The number of people who get their information from the established media is shrinking; “alternative facts” have become ingrained in media coverage. For industry players, facilitating the democratic process of helping to shape opinion through well-researched content is a top priority, even as it also represents the biggest challenge, due to the diminishing number of readers and book buyers.

“In light of the pressing issues facing our society today, Frankfurter Buchmesse is an important public platform”, said Juergen Boos. “Ever since it reopened after the Second World War in 1949, the world’s most international book fair has stood for freedom of expression and publication, and for international networking and dialogue. The 70th Frankfurter Buchmesse will also take place in a politically charged climate. And what holds true for all other international book fairs remains true for us as well: We must permit debate – including and above all about controversial issues. Tolerating and refuting (through argumentation) polarising authors and opinions are achievements of a democratic society. These principles are part of our DNA.”

On five days in October, deals will be made, economic tendencies analysed, social phenomena discussed and cultural trends presented in Frankfurt. The Frankfurter Buchmesse itself will take a stand with a programme of events in the Weltempfang – Centre for Politics, Literature and Translation (Hall 4.1 B 81) and in the new Frankfurt Pavilion: Art at the fraught intersection of power and morality, strategies for countering antidemocratic tendencies and the frontiers of political communication will be discussed. The opening press conference on Tuesday, 9 October 2018, will feature a talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose manifesto “We Should All Be Feminists” started a public discussion about feminism. High-ranking international representatives from politics and society have announced their plans to attend, including Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Prof Monika Grütters, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia, the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018.


About Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,300 exhibitors from 102 countries, around 286,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists and 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, Frankfurter Buchmesse offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.  


Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communications, Frankfurter Buchmesse
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications: +49 (0) 69 2102-138,
Kathrin Grün, Director Communications, +49 (0) 69 2102-170,