Canadian Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary May Simon opens Frankfurter Buchmesse | 2,000 companies from 80 countries exhibit on site | Spotlight on over 300 authors | Guest of Honour Canada creates first hybrid pavilion | Focus topic: “How do we want to live our lives?” | International industry leaders participate in “Frankfurt Studio – Inside Publishing” trade programme
Two thousand companies from 80 countries have come to Frankfurt as exhibitors in keeping with the motto “Re:connect – Welcome back to Frankfurt”. In the coming days, the spotlight will be on more than 300 international authors, who will be discussing their new works of fiction and nonfiction, their debuts, poetry and reportage. Two thousand media representatives from around the world will report on all the action take place in the exhibition halls. “The desire for in-person interactions is once again bringing the international book and publishing industry together in Frankfurt. The 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse puts the focus on an industry that has shown itself to be resilient, creative and innovative during the pandemic. ‘Back to business’, however, does not mean things are now ‘back to normal’: the book fair will look different this year from what we’ve known in the past. However, trade visitors and exhibitors from many countries are able to exhibit in Frankfurt this year. Those who cannot attend due to travel restrictions, could participate the Frankfurt Conference and the Masterclasses last week and will be able to watch ‘Frankfurt Studio – Inside Publishing’, a compelling digital trade programme in which many of the industry’s opinion leaders will have their say,” said Juergen Boos, President of Frankfurter Buchmesse, at the press conference opening the book fair.
“The pandemic has been one of the biggest stress tests in history and we have passed it with flying colours. Publishers, bookstores and book logistic companies have worked hard to stay close to their clients and ensure that books reached people despite these challenging times", said Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Chairwoman of Börsenverein (German Publishers & Booksellers Association), today at the press conference to mark the opening of Frankfurter Buchmesse. "Social distancing did not mean distancing from books. People used the time at home to read more often. Books can fulfil important needs in challenging times: They provide answers to pressing questions, giving substantiated information in a clear and comprehensive format. A book can broaden our view, open up new worlds and show us other ways of living. It can offer food for thought, give courage and hope.”
The 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse has been made possible by generous financial support from the German government’s NEUSTART KULTUR programme. “The pandemic has had an existential impact on the entire trade fair industry. To that extent, we are very pleased that Frankfurter Buchmesse is one of the first international book fairs to take place once again, albeit in a somewhat altered form in this transitional year. In 2021, Germany’s Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Prof. Monika Grütters, has provided the book fair with substantial funding from the NEUSTART KULTUR programme. That has allowed us to give our exhibitors planning security. In addition, a large part of the funding has been or will be used to implement our hygiene and security plan, to develop and improve sustainable digital offerings and to make it possible for exhibitors and visitors to attend,” said Boos.
German Minister of State and Culture Commissioner Monika Grütters: "After 18 months, when reading was food for the soul even more so than usual, the Frankfurt Book Fair is turning the page. I would like to thank everyone for the creativity and energy they have invested in keeping the book industry alive, and for bringing it through the pandemic largely unscathed. I am aware of how much authors, publishers and other creatives in the book industry have suffered due to the pandemic. That is why I hope all the more that this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair will open a new chapter in the success stories of many individuals and businesses."
Frankfurter Buchmesse – safety first
The top priority is ensuring the safety of all participants while they are at the fair. Admission to the exhibition grounds is only possible with a personalised ticket and in keeping with the “3G rule”. Visitors can only enter after showing that they meet the relevant requirements: they must prove that they are fully vaccinated against, have recovered from or have tested negative for Covid-19. Information on the hygiene and safety plan is updated regularly and can be accessed at buchmesse.de/en/visit/hygiene-concept.
Guest of Honour Canada: Singular Plurality – Singulier Pluriel
Following the press conference, media representatives were given a preview of the Guest of Honour Pavilion in the Forum, Level 1, which will be officially opened on Tuesday evening by Canada’s Governor General, Her Excellency Mary May Simon. Visitors can expect to make their way through an installation that features elements from the Canadian landscape: water, light, minerals, soil, mountains, air. The pavilion – which will have a virtual counterpart this year for the first time – showcases the creativity and diversity of Canada’s literary and cultural scene. A total of 60 Canadian authors and illustrators will give shape to the country’s literary programme – including eight outstanding literary figures who will represent Canada in person in Frankfurt this year: Michael Crummey, Michel Jean, Dany Laferrière, Catherine Mavrikakis, Paul Seesequasis, Vivek Shraya, Kim Thúy and Nancy Vo. In addition to readings and interactive events involving these eight artists on the fairgrounds, over 50 authors will participate in a wide range of digital events, including virtual appearances by Margaret Atwood and Joséphine Bacon at the opening ceremony. The programme not only showcases the Guest of Honour’s vastness, but also the diversity of its culture, languages and traditions. Under the motto “Singular Plurality”, the topics “Language and Culture”, “Indigenous, Political and Social Issues”, “Space and Territories”, “Children’s and Young Adult Literature”, “Women in Literature”, “LGBTQ2 Perspectives” and “The Environment” will also be addressed. The exhibition “Books on … Canada” in the Guest of Honour Pavilion will present nearly 400 new titles on Canada from 165 publishers.
On 20 October, this year’s Guest of Honour will present “Canada Night” in the Festhalle – an evening of literary discussions in which authors and illustrators will participate both virtually from remote locations and in person onstage. During the week of the fair, Canada will also present its cultural programme at sites throughout Frankfurt. The events will include projections, interactive activities and illuminated installations that highlight the country’s Singular Plurality.
For the first time in the history of the book fair, a Guest of Honour will also welcome the world using a virtual Guest of Honour Pavilion. The virtual pavilion is a collaborative project that showcases both Canada’s literature and the digital know-how of its creative and technology industries. buchmesse.de/en/highlights/guest-honour-canada
Focus topic “How do we want to live our lives?”
The question “How do we want to live our lives?” runs like a thread through the programme of this year’s book fair. The ARD Book Fair Stage in the Festhalle will present 75 events with high-profile guests addressing topics such as justice, sustainability, diversity, living and working, education and digitalisation. Participants will include Stefan Aust, Alina Bronsky, Bülent Ceylan, Jenny Erpenbeck, Elke Heidenreich, Julia Franck, Hallgrímur Helgasson, Prof. Dietrich Grönemeyer, Carolin Kebekus, Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, Helen Macdonald, LiBeraturpreis-winner Pilar Quintana, Nicole Seifert, Edgar Selge, and Sahra Wagenknecht.
Television broadcaster ARTE will also take up this central topic in a documentary that follows several thought leaders as they develop a shared vision in just a short amount of time. The participants come from the worlds of art, culture, science, business, innovation and education. They include Sophia Fritz, Dmitry Glukhovsky, Katharina Grosse, Francis Kéré, Raul Krauthausen, Van Bo Le-Mentzel, Mithu Sanyal and Daniel Schreiber. Isabell Šuba is the director. ARTE will be documenting the entire process in the broadcast “Wie wollen wir leben?” (“How Do We Want to Live Our Lives?” which will be shown on 23 October 2021, at 11.10 pm, as part of ARTE’s programming on the book fair). The project was presented at today’s press conference opening Frankfurter Buchmesse.
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