Frankfurt Book Fair
|Frankfurt Book Fair|
Exhibition Hall in 2008
|Venue||Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds|
|Location(s)||Frankfurt am Main|
modern era: 1949
It is held annually in mid-October at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The first three days are restricted exclusively to trade visitors; the general public can attend on the last two.
Representatives from book publishing and multimedia companies from all over the world come to the Frankfurt Book Fair in order to negotiate international publishing rights and licensing fees. The fair is organised by a subsidiary company of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. For five days more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors take part. The Frankfurt Book Fair is considered to be the most important book fair in the world for international deals and trading.
The Frankfurt Book Fair has a tradition that spans over more than 500 years. Soon after Johannes Gutenberg had developed printing in movable letters in Mainz near Frankfurt, the first book fair was held by local booksellers. Until the end of the 17th century, it was the most important book fair in Europe. As a consequence of political and cultural developments, it was eclipsed by the Leipzig Book Fair during the Enlightenment. After World War II, the first book fair was held again in 1949 at the St. Paul's Church. Since then, it has regained its pre-eminent position.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is a critical marketing event for the launching of books, but it is also an important event to facilitate the negotiation of the international sale of rights and licences. Visitors take the opportunity to obtain information about the publishing market, to network, and to do business. Publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, academics, illustrators, service providers, film producers, translators, printers, professional and trade associations, institutions, artists, authors, antiquarians, software and multimedia suppliers all take part in the events and business climate of Frankfurt Book Fair. In 2006, more than 11,000 journalists from 66 countries reported on the fair which brought together 7,272 individual exhibitors from 113 countries, and more than 183,000 trade visitors. In 2009, there were 7,314 individual exhibitors from some 100 countries, presenting over 400,000 books. Some 300,000 visitors attended the fair.
The fair is also the birthplace of the Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year, a humorous award which is given to the book with the oddest title.
Parallel events and joint ventures
The Frankfurt Book Fair is at the origin of other initiatives which would not exist without it, and which are very closely linked to its goals and, up to a point, management structure.
On the occasion of the 1980 Fair, was founded Litprom - the Society for the Promotion of African, Asian and Latin American Literature. As a non profit association, it monitors literary trends and developments and selects the best examples of creative writing from Africa, Asia and Latin America for translation into German, and to promote them in Germany, Switzerland and Austria by encouraging contacts between authors and publishers from the "Third World" and those in the German-speaking region; it serves as an information centre and clearing house about literature from Africa, Asia and Latin America; it helps establish and encourage a forum of debate about "Third World" literature.
In 2006, Litcam, a campaign first of all against illiteracy began. In this context, the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2007 also started a short story project named "Who's on the line? Call for free" by and for people with migration background.
Guests of honour, focuses of interests
Since 1976, a guest of honour, or a focus of interest is named for the fair. A special literary programme is organised for the occasion (readings, arts exhibitions, public discussion panels, theatre productions, and radio and TV programmes). A special exhibition hall is set up for the guest country, and the major publishing houses are present at the fair.
|Year||Guest of honour / Focus of interest||Motto|
|1976||Latin America||Latin American literature|
|1978||Kind und Buch (Child and book)|
|1986||India||Indian literature||Wandel in Tradition (Change in tradition)|
|1988||Italy||Italian literature||Italienisches Tagebuch (Italian diary)|
|1989||France||French literature||L’Automne français (French autumn)|
|1990||Japan||Japanese literature||Then and Now|
|1991||Spain||Spanish literature||La Hora de España (Spain's hour)|
|1992||Mexico||Mexican literature||Ein offenes Buch (An open book)|
|1993||Flanders and the Netherlands||Flemish and Dutch literature||Weltoffen (Open-minded)|
|1994||Brasil||Brazilian literature||Begegnung von Kulturen (Encounter of cultures)|
|1996||Ireland||Irish literature||Und seine Diaspora (And its diaspora)|
|1997||Portugal||Portuguese literature||Wege in die Welt (Paths into the world)|
|1998||Switzerland||Swiss literature||Hoher Himmel – enges Tal (High skies – narrow valleys)|
|1999||Hungary||Hungarian literature||Unbegrenzt (unlimited)|
|2001||Greece||Greek literature||Neue Wege nach Ithaka (New ways to Ithaka)|
|2002||Lithuania||Lithuanian literature||Fortsetzung folgt (To be continued)|
|2003||Russia||Russian literature||Neue Seiten (New pages/perspectives)|
|2004||Arab world||Arab literature|
|2006||India||Indian literature||Today’s India|
|2007||Catalan Countries||Catalan literature||Singular i Universal (Singular and general)|
|2008||Turkey||Turkish literature||Faszinierend farbig (Fascinatingly colourful)|
|2009||China||Chinese literature||Tradition & Innovation|
|2010||Argentina||Argentine literature||Kultur in Bewegung (Culture in motion)|
|2011||Iceland||Icelandic literature||Sagenhaftes Island (Fabulous Iceland)|
|2012||New Zealand||New Zealand literature||Bevor es bei euch hell wird (While you were sleeping)|
|2014||Finland||Finnish literature||Finnland. Cool.|
|2015||Indonesia||Indonesian literature||17.000 Inseln der Imagination (17.000 Islands of Imagination)|
|2016||Netherlands and Flanders||Dutch literature|
Some choices aroused criticism and controversy. The 2007 fair attracted criticism from both the Spanish and German media. German news magazine Der Spiegel described it as "closed-minded" for its policy of not including the many Catalans who write in Spanish in its definition of Catalan literature. The decision to exclude any element of "Spanishness", defined as literature exclusively done in Spanish, from the fair was made in spite of the fact that the Spanish government contributed more than 6 million euros towards the cost of the fair.
The Guest of Honour in 2009 was China, stirring a controversy about the country's record on human rights.
- Frankfurt Book fair – A 500 year old tradition !
- Peter Weidhaas, Wendy A. Wright: A History of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Dundurn, October 31, 2007, ISBN 978-1-55002-744-0
- A Controversial Homage to Catalonia: Commerce Replaces Politics at the Frankfurt Book Fair – International – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News
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