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13 German authors travel to Taipei / 37 exhibitors and 28 events at the German collective stand

Premiere for “German Stories” in Taipei: the German collective stand at the Taipei International Book Exhibition opened today with Taiwanese Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Taiwan's Minister of Culture, Cheng Li-chiun, in attendance, accompanied by Dr Thomas Prinz, Director General of the German Institute Taipei, Dr Marla Stukenberg, Director of the East Asia Region at the Goethe-Institut, and Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. 

“German Stories” is the theme of Germany’s role as Guest of Honour at the Taiwanese book fair from 12-17 February 2019. The German delegation traveling to Taipei includes 13 authors, who will present their work in tandem with Taiwanese authors. Germany’s collective stand offers space to 37 exhibitors, and 15 publishing houses will send representatives to attend the fair. A total of 28 events will take place as part of the Guest of Honour programme during the week of the fair. Ten book collections with more than 600 current German titles will provide insight into the diverse range of German stories. 

The Guest of Honour programme has been conceived, planned and organised by Frankfurter Buchmesse, Goethe-Institut Taipei and German Institute Taipei, working in close collaboration. These partners are also liaising closely with the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, which organises the fair, and with publishers and agencies locally. Germany’s appearance as Guest of Honour is financially supported by the Federal Foreign Office. 

“Taiwan has an exceptional publishing industry and a superior culture of reading. Every year, 5,000 publishers bring out 40,000 books, generating sales of over 600 million euros. That might not be much compared to the electronics industry, but the value of books is not expressed in sales figures alone. In this case, it shows the high degree to which Taiwan has developed as a free and democratic society,” said Dr Thomas Prinz, Director General of the German Institute Taipei. 

“We want to use the presence of ‘German Stories’ at this year’s Taipei International Book Exhibition to further deepen the close relations between the German and Taiwanese publishing industries. Publishing houses have a special responsibility when it comes to upholding freedom of opinion and ensuring free speech. Reading is crucial in this digital age for forming political opinions and for participating – something that begins in early childhood. The considerable interest that Taiwan’s publishers have shown particularly in German nonfiction and in children’s books is a sign that publishers are taking this responsibility seriously,” said Juergen Boos, Director of Frankfurter Buchmesse. 

“Germany’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Taipei International Book Exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to present Germany’s literary spectrum and deepen the cultural exchange between Taiwan and Germany in various ways. German and Taiwanese authors, publishers, agents and institutions will further develop their networks during the week of the fair. This exchange will undoubtedly produce the relevant impulses for new partnerships. We are very pleased that we can actively contribute to the multifaceted programme through our many years of experience as a German cultural institute in Taipei, our contacts in the literary and publishing scene, and our ideas. The Taipei International Book Exhibition is also this year’s cultural highlight for the Goethe-Institut Taipei,” said Dr Marla Stukenberg, Head of the Goethe-Institut’s East Asia Region. 

Programme highlights – AI, fake news and coming to terms with the past 

Speaking with Taiwanese authors and journalists, Dr Regina Bittner, Theresia Enzensberger, Sebastian Fitzek, Arne Jysch, Marc-Uwe Kling, Miriam Meckel, Axel Scheffler, Wilhelm Schmid, Ronen Steinke, Stephan Thome, Holger Volland, Ferdinand von Schirach and Alexander von Schönburg will discuss phenomena that are playing a key role in the 21st century: fake news versus coming to terms with the past, artificial intelligence versus justice. The German perspective will be communicated through a variety of formats – in book presentations, workshops and discussion groups. All events will be held in German and Chinese and will be translated consecutively, unless otherwise noted in the programme. Musical accompaniment for the opening of the German collective stand will be provided by the Leipzig-based vocal ensemble amarcord. 

100 years of Bauhaus – inspiration for stand design 

Scaffolding poles and velvet curtains, wooden planks and bright pink overhead banners: Germany’s 414-square-metre collective stand is made from simple materials which, when assembled, provide a stage-like atmosphere: temporary and synthetic, functional and inspiring. 

“Making connections, adopting a new vantage point, changing perspectives – that’s what Germany’s presentation as Guest of Honour is meant to facilitate”, explains architect Sabine Weismüller from the Düsseldorf-based architectural firm Scheßl Weismüller, which developed and implemented the idea for the stand together with the Frankfurter Buchmesse. 

The German collective stand comprises three different thematic areas which are connected by a central element: the Storyline, a series of tables running across the stand, inviting guests to take a seat. The Storyline allows publishers, authors, translators and visitors to come together as equals. 

The thematic area “Children’s and Young Adult Literature” is presented around air-cushioned recliners. The book tables are low enough that visitors can lie down and relax while browsing. From there it is only a few steps to the next area: “100 Years of Bauhaus” in cooperation with Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau. Here, visitors become active players, since they have the opportunity to don and be photographed in reproductions of three costumes made for Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet. This presentation will be accompanied by short films and a selection of books about the legendary art school. Freely based on Schlemmer’s drawings and designs, the costumes were conceived and created in cooperation with the award-winning Frankfurt-based social business Stitch by Stitch, which brings refugee tailors from Syria together with fashion designers from Frankfurt. Working together, they produce limited production runs for local fashion labels. 

The next thematic area is dedicated to current book production in Germany: visitors see, floating before a velvet curtain, the names of books honoured by the competition The Most Beautiful German Books 2018. TV broadcaster Deutsche Welle will present a series of short films describing 100 German novels, and visitors can view the clips on iPads. Book sales at the German collective stand will be handled by the bookshop Sunny Books from Taipei. 

The stand’s central space suggests an arena: steps rise above each other and can be used both as a stage for events and for tribune-like seating. Visitors who sit down for a break will enjoy a view of the fair’s hubbub and can take the opportunity to leaf through the book collection “Artificial Intelligence”. 

“When I think of Germany” – interaction at the German stand 

New texts will continually appear on the LED displays over the Storyline tables. The source of the feed for the displays will be texts written by visitors, who will be asked to jot down whatever they associate with Germany. Portable typewriters, stamps and writing utensils located on the Storyline tables will encourage visitors to become “stand scribes”. 

The German collective stand at the Taipei International Book Exhibition is located in the World Trade Center, Hall 1, No. 5, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd., Taipei City 

Press materials for journalists 
Biographic information on authors, the list of exhibitors and the complete programme for the German collective stand at the Taipei International Book Exhibition are available here: 

Information about the Taiwanese book market 
Within the Greater China region (mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong), the Taiwanese book market is the second largest after mainland China. As a result, Taiwanese publishers are strategically important rights partners for German publishers. Taiwan’s great interest in German culture and language is reflected in the steady number of translation rights sold, which fluctuated between 81 and 107 per year during the 2013-2017 period. 

About the Taipei International Book Exhibition 
With more than 600 exhibitors from 59 countries, the TIBE is one of the most important book fairs in Asia, inviting around 580,000 visitors to participate in an interactive reading experience every year. On some 30,000 square metres in the centrally located Taipei World Trade Center and the extensive adjacent conference complex (Hall 3) 1,180 events will be held, covering a wide spectrum of literary genres – from children’s and young adult literature to non-fiction and fiction – for Taiwanese and international audiences. 

Official website of the Taipei International Book Exhibition 2019: 

About Frankfurter Buchmesse 
Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,500 exhibitors from 109 countries, around 285,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and some 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It is the most important international marketplace for content – from novels and children’s books to academic databases and stories for films, games and virtual reality experiences. Publishing professionals from around the world meet here with partners from the technology sector and from related creative and cultural industries, sparking new partnerships and business models. A strong conference programme ensures that Frankfurter Buchmesse is a major source of inspiration for content experts from around the world. 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. Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association).

Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communication, Frankfurter Buchmesse 
Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 
Kathrin Grün, Head of Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69

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