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Guest of Honour Pavilion will provide interactive experiences / Spain’s most renowned voices to travel to Frankfurt / Museums and cultural institutions plan comprehensive programme

Whether performance art or the sound of flamenco, whether high culture from the Prado or fun culture in the form of tapas – Spain’s “spilling creativity” can be experienced not only at Frankfurter Buchmesse from 19 to 23 October 2022, but this summer as well in the city of Frankfurt and many other places in Germany. An extensive literary and cultural programme will open a window onto contemporary Spanish creativity, providing insight into the country’s diversity of genres and formats through exhibitions, musical events and dance and theatre performances. Many of Frankfurt’s cultural institutions will also bring a touch of Spain to the Main at exhibitions, concerts and events celebrating Spain’s time as Guest of Honour. A delegation of some 200 people will travel to Frankfurt from Spain for the book fair itself, including well-known authors such as Irene Vallejo, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Javier Cercas, Rosa Montero, Sara Mesa and Fernando Aramburu, who will present their books and new titles. By the end of the year, over 400 books will have appeared on the German-language market since 2019 in conjunction with Spain’s time as Guest of Honour. At the fair, an interactive Guest of Honour Pavilion will provide a look at the country’s rich and vibrant literary and cultural landscape, together with a space for inspiring encounters. The concept behind the Guest of Honour Pavilion was presented today in Frankfurt, along with the literary delegation and accompanying cultural programme.

“I look forward to a Guest of Honour programme that reflects the multi-lingual and multi-voiced literature and culture of Spain today. Visitors will be able to experience the country’s literature and authors at the Guest of Honour Pavilion, whose ambience will take a contemporary approach to ‘Creatividad desbordante’,” says Juergen Boos, president of Frankfurter Buchmesse.

“The Theory of Cherries” at the Guest of Honour Pavilion
The Guest of Honour Pavilion, the centrepiece of every Guest of Honour appearance at Frankfurter Buchmesse, has been developed this year by the Madrid-based architecture and design studio ENORME together with the Vitamin design team. The 2,000-square-meter pavilion will not only offer visitors books, readings, conversations and insights into Spain’s creative scene, it is also designed to make them part of that scene, at least during the days of the fair. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the walls in the pavilion will fill up like the pages of an oversized book with the words and text fragments heard during the fair, and the words themselves will be transformed into multi-hued palettes of colour. The pavilion’s main elements, exuberantly designed in the Guest of Honour colours, are “cherries” – three capsules that house an immersive exhibition, two stages, a happy-hour area and a space for workshops. They offer places for listening, reading, meeting and relaxing, but also for quiet reflection. “The Theory of Cherries” concept originated with the Spanish writer Carmen Martín Gaite, who once said that stories are like cherries: if you pick one, the next appears right along with it.

Spain’s most renowned voices to travel to Frankfurt
Almost 200 authors, translators and book industry representatives from the Guest of Honour country are expected at the book fair in October. “We’re very pleased to be able to present the most renowned voices in contemporary Spanish literature in Frankfurt,” explains Elvira Marco, project manager for Spain’s Guest of Honour appearance at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022. “We’ve been working with the Spanish book industry for four years and now have an extensive list of more than 400 translations into German – with a growing interest in stories written by women. Our extensive programme showcases the Spain of today, 31 years after our first Guest of Honour appearance in 1991. It includes a diverse and balanced selection of authors, focusing on multilingualism and the importance of the Spanish language as a bridge to Latin America. We’re featuring a creative, dynamic Spain that is putting the spotlight on new issues – from the changes affecting gender roles and the family to vivid portraits of urban life in Spanish cities, from the rural exodus to reflections on the past, the use of technology, and climate change."

The literary delegation will include Irene Vallejo and Antonio Muñoz Molina, who will speak at the fair’s opening ceremony. On the last day of the fair, Manuel Rivas will hand over the Guest Scroll to Slovenia, the next Guest of Honour. Spain’s multilingualism is also reflected in its literary delegation, a quarter of which writes in one of the country’s three official co-languages, Catalan, Galician and Basque. A series of events and literary happenings are planned for the fair, including public readings, book presentations and discussions with the major names of Spanish fiction, such as Rosa Montero, Arturo Pérez Reverte, Elvira Lindo, Javier Cercas, Fernando Aramburu and Manuel Vilas. Young authors such as Cristina Morales, Elvira Sastre, Katixa Aguirre and Elena Medel will reflect on the role of women, the meaning of motherhood and relationships in the 21st century. Paloma Chen, Mohamed El Morabe, Nadia Hafid and Margarita Yakovenko will represent the new generation of authors from the Maghreb, Asia and Europe. Ada Salas, Angela Segovia and Raquel Lanseros will embody Spain’s new generation of poets, while María Hesse, Nuria Tamarit and Elisa McCausland will present graphic and illustrated novels. In addition, a tribute to Almudena Grandes and a dramatic reading of works by Chaves Nogales are planned.

Prior to the fair, authors from Spain will be presenting their new books at acclaimed literary festivals in German-speaking Europe. For example, literaTurm, the FrankfurtRhineMain literary festival, is dedicating an evening to Spain on 1 July with appearances by Spanish authors Esther Paniagua and Mónica Subietas. From 28 June to 21 July, Spanish authors Marta Sanz, Javier Isusi and Isaac Rosa will meet with literature students from the universities of Cologne, Bremen and Jena. At the international literature festival berlin ILB (7–17 September), Spanish writers such as Ray Loriga and Irene Solà will present their books and participate in discussions of current topics. And from 28 to 30 October, Spain will be Guest of Honour at Literaturtagen Zofingen.

Literary and cultural programme celebrates Guest of Honour
Spanish authors will also appear as guests beyond the fairgrounds, for example at the OPEN BOOKS reading festival, which will showcase the literature of this year’s Guest of Honour. Romanfabrik will be the location for three events with a Spanish theme, from a flamenco evening to a reading with Elvira Sastre. IG Metall will host a roundtable discussion with Isaac Rosa, José Ovejero and Rosa Ribas. Frankfurt’s public library, together with Weltlesebühne e.V., is organising the workshop “Transparent Translating”, dedicated this year to the book When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene Solà. The organisers will also hold readings in school libraries with Elia Barceló, Aina Bestard, Rocío Bonilla, Patxi Zubizarreta and Jokin Mitxelena.

Other facets of Spanish creativity will be evident thanks to an extensive cultural programme, with 200 cultural happenings planned for the entire year. As early as this summer, museums and institutions in Frankfurt will be staging numerous exhibitions and events related to Spain. Among the highlights is the Prado Museum in the Streets project, for which reproductions from the famous art gallery will be presented at the fairgrounds in Frankfurt and on Alexanderplatz in Berlin. The Frankfurt Film Museum is presenting a series on Spanish filmmaker and multimedia pioneer José Val del Omar. Sculptor Alicia Martín will be creating an artistic installation for the Cervantes Institute in Frankfurt. Fotografie Forum Frankfurt will be dedicating a retrospective exhibition to Carlos Pérez Siquier (1930–2021), one of the leading figures of modern Spanish photography, including works that have never been seen before. Frankfurter Kunstverein will present the exhibition “12 art stories told from Spain,” curated by Rosa Ferrer and Ana Ara, on the role of fiction in artistic practice in the current Spanish context, and Städelschule Frankfurt will mount an exhibition of artists' books. Visitors to the Museumsuferfest can look forward to culinary and musical delights from the Guest of Honour country, including an appearance by Rodrigo Cuevas, Spain’s Freddy Mercury, and flamenco in its purest form as performed by Antonio Andrade and Ursula Moreno.
Other highlights in the cultural programme, which is being organised by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), are the two high-profile events in Opelvillen Rüsselsheim: an exhibition by Spanish performance artist Esther Ferrer and one dedicated to photographer José Ortiz Echagüe. “In addition, there’s the support provided to the Spanish artists invited to Documenta in Kassel, the series of contemporary Spanish documentary films that will travel to different German cities, performances like those by Niño de Elche at Mousonturm in Frankfurt and Compañía Nacional de Danza in Bonn, the publication of a monograph with a Spanish narrative by Granta magazine and comic books with outstanding stories – all of which show the quality and diversity of Spanish culture,” says Isabel Izquierdo, programme director at AC/E.

From 25 to 28 August, the Kampfnagel International Summer Festival in Hamburg will host the German premiere of Spanish performance artist Cuqui Jerez’s hilarious musical experiment “Magical and Elastic”, while Kunstfest Weimar will premiere “Terebrante” by Angélica Liddell. Before that, the acclaimed director and multidisciplinary artist Robert Wilson can also be experienced in a disussion at Kunstfest Weimar 2022. He’ll be bringing along replicas of the Miró figures into which he breathes new life in the spectacular art installation and performance MIRÓ Y WILSON, which can also be seen in Palma de Mallorca in October. Moreover, a concert is planned with Catalan soprano Nuria Rial, who specialises in baroque music. Spanish music will also be featured at the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival: four concerts from the Guest of Honour country are on the festival’s programme, which runs until June 25. To mark the 100th birthday of world-famous Spanish cellist and composer Pablo Casals, an unpublished piece by his brother Enric Casals will be performed at the Moritzburg Festival in Dresden (6–31 August) by Spanish soloists and the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra under the direction of Josep Caballé.

Events for booksellers
“Spain will be extremely visible in bookstores as well,” promises Elvira Marco. Events with Spanish authors will be held in bookstores in Frankfurt and Munich in the coming weeks as a way of introducing booksellers to the latest literature from the Guest of Honour country. In addition, a group of German booksellers will travel to Madrid to discuss literary trends with their colleagues there, and to visit bookstores and meet authors. Starting this summer, bookstores will also be able to order decorative materials in the Guest of Honour design.

Press kit Guest of Honour Spain: in a new window)

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Contact for the media:

Press & Corporate Communication, Frankfurter Buchmesse, in a new window)
Kathrin Grün, Head of Communications, Phone: +49 (0) 69 2102-170(opens in a new window), in a new window)