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Stars from all over the world in the spotlight on ARD Book Fair Stage

Cornelia Funke, Irvine Welsh & John Niven, Chilly Gonzales & Malakoff Kowalski, Andrea Petković, Alice Schwarzer, Harald Welzer, and Nell Zink: these authors and many others will put in an appearance – both in person and via live feed – on the ARD Book Fair Stage at this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse Special Edition. In keeping with current requirements, all events can be held before an audience in the Festhalle, whose seating has been configured to accommodate 450 people. The programme for the ARD Book Fair Stage ( in a new window)) is being organised by television broadcaster ARD and its affiliate stations; other partners are 3sat, ARTE, Deutschlandfunk, DER SPIEGEL and FAZ.

Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse: “The ARD Book Fair Stage in the Festhalle will make it possible for us to put a spotlight on many authors and their new works for five days in October. This remarkable collaboration between ARD and many media partners serves one purpose: we want to come together and spend the week celebrating books. I would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts.”

Director of Hessischer Rundfunk, Manfred Krupp: “We are very pleased that this year, despite corona, we can offer an extensive programme featuring compelling guests on the ARD Book Fair Stage in the Festhalle. One of the highlights will be the ARD Book Fair Night on Friday evening, which will feature the winner of the German Book Prize, along with many other authors. Of course, it is very disappointing that we cannot interact with thousands of visitors at our ARD stand this year. Nevertheless, we want to reach as many people as possible: Using our website, we will be streaming live each day of the fair from the ARD Book Fair Stage. This year, that is more important than ever. In addition to the live streams, the website will offer a look behind the scenes, profiles, book reviews and, for the first time, the video podcast “What a Mess” – making the site an expert companion to the fair and the ARD programme.”

Programme highlights on the ARD Book Fair Stage

Weltempfang, a joint project of Frankfurter Buchmesse and the German Federal Foreign Office, is traditionally the place for open exchange and political dialogue. That is where the most important thinkers from politics, culture and business come together to discuss the issues needing to be addressed. This year, the programme will be accessible online. However, the opening will take place in the Festhalle with a podium discussion on the focus topic “Europe – Connecting Cultures”. Guests will include journalist Giuliano da Empoli, founding chairman of the Milan-based think tank Volta. The opening event will be moderated by Gert Scobel (Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 5.30 pm).

On Thursday, 15 October 2020, at 12.30 pm, presenter Markus Brock will be joined by American author Nell Zink, who will discuss her novel Doxology, which explores the lives of three New Yorkers before and after the attacks of September 11.

Reflecting the motto IT’S TIME…, every day at 3.30 pm a discussion will take place of the issues that inspire young people to become politically engaged. Organised by broadcaster ARTE, these events will also create a bridge to Canada, the book fair’s virtual Guest of Honour. Another contribution by ARTE to the live programme at this year’s fair: the Canadian musician Chilly Gonzales and his new book Enya, which he will present together with Malakoff Kowalski on Friday, 16 October 2020, at 5.00 pm. During “Enya – Talking about Taste”, the Canadian musician and entertainer and his fellow pianist ask: Does music have to be smart or can it go straight to the heart? and other questions of “taste”.

On Saturday, 17 October 2020, the two giants of modern Scottish literature will make their first joint appearance in Germany. Irvine Walsh has been one of Britain’s most important contemporary writers since publishing his first novel Trainspotting, whose film adaptation by Danny Boyle has become a pop-culture classic. With his new novel Dead Men’s Trousers, he is bringing the Trainspotting series to a close – with a bang. The book topped the UK’s bestseller lists and has proven highly popular in Germany as well. Originally from a town outside Glasgow, John Niven achieved his international breakthrough with the novel Kill Your Friends, a furious satire about the music industry. His new novel, The F+ck-it List, is a mordant thriller-satire about the United State in the era of Donald Trump.

On Sunday, 18 October 2020, at 3.00 pm, renowned author Cornelia Funke will talk with Bärbel Schäfer about the fourth and latest instalment in her Reckless saga. Funke is one of the best-known German authors of works for children and young adults. Her books have been translated into 40 languages, and many have gone on to become international bestsellers, including The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider and the Inkworld trilogy. She and her family now live in Los Angeles; she will join the event via live feed.

All happenings in the ARD Book Fair Stage programme will be recorded and streamed live ( in a new window)). More information on the programme is available at in a new window).

Tickets for events can be purchased here: in a new window)