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Canadian writers and artists will be in the spotlight at more than 20 virtual events at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 Special Edition


GATINEAU | CANADA: 24 September 2020. The eyes of the literary world will be on Canada as the Guest of Honour for the very first Special Edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair this October.
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced Canada’s virtual programming for this year’s special edition, in a video message today. The following events will be available to the general public on the Canada FBM2020 website:

Cultural Events

Canada in Harmony
A series of performances from Canada Day 2020, featuring pianist Alexandra Stréliski, hip-hop artist Haviah Mighty and singer-songwriter Leela Gilday, among others.

Literary mini-documentaries

Margaret Atwood
An exclusive 60-minute conversation with Margaret Atwood, author of some of Canada’s most celebrated poetry, fiction, literary studies, essays and graphic novels. The discussion will be hosted by Charles Foran, prize-winning author of works of fiction and essays.

Hope Against Despair with Alix Ohlin, Jocelyne Saucier, and Joshua Whitehead
It often appears that humanity is tormented by a somber shadow, beset with environmental, social and political crises. What is the role of the artist in helping us face calamity? What do we require from our artists: resistance, empathy, insight or all of the above?

We Contain Multitudes with Kim Thúy, Esi Edugyan and Catherine Hernandez
The idea that we as individuals create and inhabit different identities is widely accepted these days. But how do these various identities affect a writer's work, shape their readers’ responses and determine their position in the literary community? Does one identity inevitably become more predominant?

Picture Perfect with David Alexander Robertson, Sydney Smith, and Guillaume Perrault.
As far back as cave paintings, perhaps even longer, humans have used pictures to tell stories. Graphic novelists and children’s book illustrators have a growing audience eager to explore and enjoy the interplay between words and visual language. This event will be lavishly and profusely filled with images and examples by some of Canada's most successful author/illustrators.

The minister was joined virtually by the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Canadian Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe, Juergen Boos, President of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, and Caroline Fortin, President of Canada FBM2020. The government is also proud to announce a virtual delegation of nine authors and illustrators who will represent Canada on the world stage in Frankfurt this year.

Canada’s role as guest of honour country will continue into 2021 with in-person literary and cultural events leading up to Canada’s live guest of honour participation in Frankfurt 2021. Canadian Heritage and its key partners Canada FBM2020, the Canada Council for the Arts, Global Affairs Canada and Telefilm Canada are pleased to help German and international audiences discover Canadian authors and illustrators, as well as artists in film, music and the performing arts. This major event supports our creative industries, including publishers, in achieving international export objectives through our Creative Export Strategy.

Over the next year, the government will announce more Canadian events in Germany. For the latest information, please visit in a new window).

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“Canada is proud to be the guest of honour country for the Frankfurt Book Fair Special Edition during this unique year. We are proud of our amazing Canadian talent and appreciate this opportunity to highlight our country’s diverse and talented writers and artists with this unique platform. By investing in this initiative, we are helping introduce Canadian artists to international audiences and generating significant economic benefits for the publishing industry and other creative sectors.”

—H. E. Stéphane Dion, Canada's Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe
“The pandemic has left many people in isolation around the world. But we are always in good company with an interesting book. These difficult times highlight how much literature, and the arts in general, are an essential part of life. This is one of the key reasons why, this fall and next year as the featured country, Canada will do everything to promote its rich literature and diverse cultural expressions, as part of the Frankfurt Book Fair, by far the largest of the world. I wish everyone a fantastic, successful and joyful fair!”

—Juergen Boos, President of the Frankfurter Buchmesse
“When we started celebrating Canada’s Singular Plurality earlier this year, no one had the slightest inkling of what 2020 would bring. The huge literary program that Canada FBM 2020 had prepared for several years, along with Canada’s diverse publishing industry, could not be realized due to pandemic travel restrictions. However, we look forward to a number of Canadian highlights this autumn. As part of Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Special Edition, our partners have put together an impressive online program that will also be presented as part of our Bookfest digital. The program features many great Canadian voices, including Esi Edugyan, Jocelyne Saucier and David Robertson. I am very pleased that German translations of more than 240 books by Canadian authors will be published by October. They will further spark our anticipation of Canada's guest of honour presentation in 2021.”

—Caroline Fortin, President of Canada FBM2020
“The Canadian publishing industry is delighted to be part of this special edition of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. This will be an opportunity to virtually promote authors and illustrators from our literary delegation. Our current reality has forced us to be even more creative and innovative, but our goal remains the same: revealing our singular plurality on the world stage to better showcase our powerful Canadian writers and illustrators from all literary genres. Canada FBM2020 is thrilled to continue its primary mission of actively supporting Canadian literature while helping increase sales of Canadian books in the German market.”

Quick Facts
Canada’s delegation of authors and illustrators includes: Alix Ohlin, Catherine Hernandez, Esi Edugyan, David Alexander Robertson, Guillaume Perreault, Jocelyne Saucier, Joshua Whitehead, Kim Thúy and Sydney Smith. These authors will be participating in three mini-documentaries and discussing on a variety of topics.

On September 8, the Frankfurter Buchmesse announced that, due to COVID-19, it has replaced its on-site exhibition with an extensive digital program for the Frankfurter Buchmesse Special Edition.
On July 7, the Government of Canada announced that it will extend its guest of honour year into 2021 as well as provide virtual programming for the 2020 fair.

The role of the guest of honour is a year-long initiative throughout Germany, which helps promote Canada’s publishing industry, as well as its literary and creative sectors, on the international stage.

The theme for Canada’s literary program for the Frankfurter book fair is “Singular Plurality.” The slogan captures Canada’s diversity and culture, where everyone is unique but connected by shared values.

Associated Links
Video Announcement – Canadian Programming for Frankfurter Buchmesse Special Edition 2020 in a new window)

Canada FBM2020 in a new window)

Canada’s Creative Export Strategy in a new window)

Frankfurt Book Fair / Frankfurter Buchmesse in a new window)

“Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 – Special Edition: online and in the city of Frankfurt, but without traditional on-site exhibition” in a new window)

Canada Council for the Arts in a new window)

For more information (media only), please contact:

Canadian Heritage
Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage in a new window)
Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
1-866-569-6155 in a new window)

Embassy of Canada to Germany
Thilo Lenz
Press Relations
Embassy of Canada
Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin in a new window)
Tel: +49 30 20312 265 | Mitnet: 466-3265

Frankfurter Buchmesse
Simone Bühler
Head of Guest of Honour Programme
+49 69 2102 249 in a new window)
Kathrin Grün
Director Communications
+49 69 2102 170 in a new window)

FleishmanHillard Frankfurt (German media)
Anke Baur
+49-69-405702-464 in a new window)

Canada FBM2020
Jennifer-Ann Weir
Associate Executive Director
1-514-516-7524 in a new window)

Canada Council for the Arts
Ashley Tardif-Bennett
Acting Manager, Communications and Engagement in a new window)
1-800-263-5588 | 613-566-4414, ext. 6030