During a festive ceremony, Flanders and the Netherlands, Guest of Honour of the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016, handed over the ‘GuestScroll’ to the 2017 Guest of Honour, France.
Frankfurt, 23 October 2016 – Each year, the specially designed ’GuestScroll‘ is enriched by another literary quote from the Guest of Honour. Flanders and the Netherlands have chosen an 11th century verse from West Flanders: “All birds have started making nests, except me and you, what are we waiting for?” This short verse of love, written by a monk in an English monastery, marked the beginning of Dutch literature. For 2017, France has chosen a quote from Paul Ricoeur:
“Hospitalité, où le plaisir d’habiter la langue de l’autre est compensé par le plaisir de recevoir chez soi, dans sa propre demeure d’accueil, la parole de l’étranger.”
“Linguistic hospitality, in which the pleasure of occupying the language of the others is repaid by the pleasure of receiving the word of the stranger in one’s own home.”
Bart Moeyaert, artistic director of the Guest of Honour programme of Flanders and the Netherlands, sums up: “You have travelled a long way with us during this project. I suggest we do not part in a mood of farewell. We shouldn’t keep a static image of ‘Flanders & the Netherlands’ in our minds, but a movement we have ignited. It’s about sharing one’s language, dynamics and history, in the sense of past and future. After having been Guest of Honour in 1993 and in 2016, the story continues. I hope we will remember this intense and enriching time, and pass on this positive experience.“ Bas Pauw, project manager of the 2016 Guest of Honour team, carried on, saying: “Like German the French language is one of the greatest languages which surround the ‘low countries’ and have always enriched our culture and our literature, and will continue to do so. It was an honour and a great pleasure to be invited by the Frankfurter Buchmesse, and thus also by our German neighbours. We are delighted to have now the privilege to hand this honour over to our Southern neighbour, France. We are already looking forward to France’s Guest of Honour presentation in the upcoming year. Bon courage!”
The President of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, Juergen Boos, said: “Every year, the Guest of Honour of the Frankfurter Buchmesse has the opportunity to create an international network, to intensify its trade in rights and licences and to present itself not only with its literature, but also as a cultural region. Flanders and the Netherlands have made use of this opportunity in an excellent way, in every respect. For those 12 upcoming months we wish the French committee a lot of strength, creativity and joy for the preparation of their Guest of Honour presentation in 2017.”
During the press conference on 20 October 2016, the Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, reminded the audience of the meaning of this exceptional invitation – almost 30 years after France already had the privilege to be Guest of Honour of the Frankfurter Buchmesse 1989: “Culture, and particularly literary culture, has always been at the centre of the special relationship between both countries.” This message was underlined by the chairman of ‘Francfort en français’, Paul de Sinety, during the handover ceremony: “This invitation is an opportunity to deliver strong messages: Culture, the book and writing itself are central to the welcoming of the other. With our first partner, Germany, we want the youth of Europe to stay open to the world. And with the francophone literature present all over the world, translated in more than 40 languages, the French language reaches out beyond frontiers and carries the essential values of freedom and hospitality within itself.” French is the second most translated language in Germany; and German is the third most translated language in France. Furthermore, both countries have reciprocally committed themselves to the harmonisation of the rights of cession and the promotion of the fixed book price at a European level.
Beyond France, the French language and the francophone literature will be celebrated in 2017 through three themes: innovation and the new fields of the creative digital economy, the French language, closely tied to humanistic values, and youth. With events taking place all over Germany, starting next January, 2017 will highlight novels, specialised books, children and young adult literature, comics and poetry, and also new artistic currents. In addition to events at many cultural locations in Frankfurt, readings, exhibitions and other events will also take place in other German cities.
About the Frankfurter Buchmesse
The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with 7,100 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, around 275,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and approximately 10,000 accredited journalists – including 2,000 bloggers - in attendance. It also gathers key players from other media, including the film and games industries. 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. The 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. With its Business Club, the Frankfurter Buchmesse offers essential services and an ideal setting for the activities of publishers, entrepreneurs, pioneers, experts and visionaries. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a subsidiary of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association. www.book-fair.com
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