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Melting glaciers, burning forests, mountains of refuse, microplastics: all around the globe the impact humans are having on nature is unmistakable. Once at the mercy of nature, we are now the driving force behind the planet’s transformation. The “Anthropocene” is the name of the epoch in which human activity has become a key factor affecting the earth’s processes. At this year’s Weltempfang – Frankfurter Buchmesse’s centre for politics, literature and translation in Hall 4.1 – it is also the topic that will guide discussion of the relationship between culture and nature.

“This affects us all,” says Tobias Voss, Vice President International Affairs at Frankfurter Buchmesse. “Every day we are confronted with media reports on climate change and natural disasters. We now find ourselves in a situation in which human beings are the cause of numerous changes taking place on the planet. On the other hand, people are becoming more aware of the complex ways we are dependent on the natural world and the interdependencies within nature itself. We are also more aware of how sensitive entire ecosystems are, how much has already been lost, and phenomena that can be neither fully understood nor controlled. How should we respond? And is it still possible to create a future that is ecologically stable and worthwhile? We want to explore these questions and others at this year's Weltempfang.”

Renowned speakers

Speakers from the political and cultural spheres, including prize-winning authors such as Elif Shafak, Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, Maja Lunde, Luiz Ruffato, Gioconda Belli, Mercedes Rosende, Bonnie Greer and Patrick McGuinness, will present their views at this year’s Weltempfang. With more than 40 events on the main stage and in the salon, the Weltempfang (Hall 4.1 B 81) will shed light on numerous aspects of the Anthropocene.

Highlights (selection):

Sick Attitude: The human-animal relationship in industrial livestock production
With: Jean-Baptiste Del Amo (author); Robert Habeck (federal chair of Alliance 90/ The Greens); moderator: Cord Riechelmann (journalist and author)
Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 3.00–4.00 pm, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 4.1 B 81)

Opening of the Weltempfang: The Anthropocene – does culture trump nature?
With: Juergen Boos (Director of Frankfurter Buchmesse); Irmgard Maria Fellner (Director for Cultural Relations Policy and Deputy Director-General of the Department for Culture and Communication at the German Federal Foreign Office); Maja Lunde (author); Dr Friederike Otto (Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University); Prof Harald Welzer (Director, FUTURZWEI. Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit and professor of transformation design at the University of Flensburg); moderator: Jenny Friedrich-Freksa (Editor-in-Chief, Kulturaustausch magazine)
Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 4.30–5.30 pm, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 4.1 B 81)

British Writers on Brexit
With: Jan Carson (writer and community project facilitator); Bonnie Greer (writer, playwright); Patrick McGuiness (writer); moderator: Alexandra Büchler (Director, Literature Across Frontiers)
Friday, 18 October 2019, 1.30–2.30 pm, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 4.1 B 81)

Sinti and Roma Literature – in Germany and the world
With: Veijo Baltzar (author, playwright); Dr Beate Eder-Jordan (literary scholar, University of Innsbruck); Erika Hornbogner (Director, Drava publishing house); Ruždija Sejdović; moderator: Barbara Wahlster (Deutschlandradio Kultur)
Saturday, 19 October 2019, 10.30–11.30 am, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 4.1 B 81)

Populism versus Democracy: What is happening in Latin America?
With: Gioconda Belli (writer, poet and activist); Carlos Franz (journalist and writer); Luiz Ruffato (writer); moderator: Lutz Kliche (translator and literary agent)
Saturday, 19 October 2019, 2.30–3.30 pm, Weltempfang Salon (Hall 4.1 B 81)

Artists, Fighters, Cosmopolites: Women write the 21st century
With: Jennifer Clement (author and president of PEN International); Mercedes Rosende (author and lawyer, winner of the 2019 LiBeraturpreis); Elif Shafak (author); moderator: Juergen Boos (director of Frankfurter Buchmesse)
Saturday, 19 October 2019, 4.30–5.30 pm, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 4.1 B 81)

Between Helplessness and Hope: Is climate change unstoppable?
With: Thore D. Hansen (author); Michael Müller (former parliamentary state secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety); Luisa Neubauer (climate protection activist); Prof Uwe Schneidewind (Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy); moderator: Ulrich Noller (journalist and author)
Sunday, 20 October 2019, 3.00–4.00 pm, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 4.1 B 81)

The entire Weltempfang programme is available at


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).


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Katja Böhne, Vice President Marketing & Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-138,
Kathrin Grün, Head of Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-170,
Ines Bachor, PR Manager, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-189,

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