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Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 - No indoor exhibition, but great live programme

10.09.2020 | 09:10 Clock | Culture
Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 - No indoor exhibition, but great live programme

There is good news and bad news about the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020. First the bad news: despite the good hygiene concept, the classic indoor exhibition will not be feasible this year. The reason for this is, in particular, the travel restrictions currently in force. The quarantine regulations that will come into force on 1 October 2020 will also make it virtually impossible for European exhibitors and trade visitors to take part. That's a shame, of course - but there is also good news. Because from 14 - 18 October, the Book Fair will take place as a Special Edition with an extensive live programme on the ARD Book Fair Stage in the Festhalle, around 80 events as part of BOOKFEST city in Frankfurt and an illustrious line-up at BOOKFEST digital. Literary enthusiasts and all bookworms will thus be offered plenty of fodder.

"The Frankfurt Book Fair is not only the biggest book fair in the world, it is also a constantly evolving company. Vibrant, agile and adaptable. In the current situation, this now means foregoing stands in halls due to the Corona restrictions, which are on the rise again. In exchange, events in Frankfurt am Main and other cities this year will make book enthusiasm a live experience on site as well as digitally and at any time," says Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, president of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. "We would like to thank the federal and state governments, in particular Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters, Hesse's Prime Minister Volker Bouffier and Hesse's Minister of Economics Tarek Al-Wazir for their continued support."

Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, concurs, adding, "The Frankfurt Book Fair thrives on international exchange. We would like to thank all exhibitors for their motivation and confidence in getting the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 off the ground physically as well. Now the focus is on our virtual offer and the events in the Festhalle and in the city. In recent months, we have expanded our numerous existing services into a coherent overall digital concept. As a result, international publishing professionals will encounter familiar and also new digital formats that they can use to drive their business forward even in times of Corona. And the reading public has the opportunity to live out their book enthusiasm twice over - both online and at the on-site events."

Those who want to be part of the action can purchase tickets for the events on the ARD Book Fair stage. Pre-registration is all that is required for the free events at BOOKFEST city. From 14 to 18 October, book fans can visit as well as numerous media partners to follow an extensive and varied digital programme of readings, author talks and discussions, as well as discover new releases from publishers.

Frankfurt Book Fair 2020 programme highlights

The German Book Prize and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade will be awarded as planned during the Frankfurt Book Fair: the German Book Prize on 12. October 2020, 6 p.m., as a live broadcast from Frankfurt's Römer, the Peace Prize on 18 October in Frankfurt's Paulskirche, broadcast live from 10.45 a.m. on ARD.

The central stage of the Frankfurt Book Fair is in the Festhalle: this is where the ARD Book Fair Stage celebrates its premiere. Events will take place from 14 to 18 October, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Christian Berkel, Michel Friedman, Cornelia Funke, Andrea Petković, Alice Schwarzer, Irvine Welsh, John Niven, Harald Welzer, Judith Zander, Linda Zervakis, and many more are expected as guests.

The conversation format "Chilly Gonzales and Malakoff Kowalski: Talking about Taste" also brings Canadian musician and entertainer Chilly Gonzales to the ARD Book Fair stage: his first book, ENYA will be published on October 14, 2020. Another program highlight is the ARD Book Fair Night on Friday evening, October 16, with, among others: Ahmad Mansour, Max Czollek, Bas Kast, Stefanie Sargnagel, Klaus Brinkbäumer, Susanne Fröhlich, Elke Heidenreich, Alexa Hennig von Lange, Richard David Precht and Jan Weiler - as well as the 2020 Book Prize winners Jan Böhmermann and David Grossman.

BOOKFEST digital and BOOKFEST city

This year, BOOKFEST will take place physically as BOOKFEST city and, for the first time, virtually as BOOKFEST digital. At BOOKFEST city, the approximately 80 planned events will be spread across many locations throughout Frankfurt over all five days of the fair. A diverse programme full of literature, inspiration and exciting encounters will be provided by Margit Auer, Max von Thun, Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, Bov Bjerg, Kristof Magnusson, Helmut Zierl, Max Giermann, Anastasia Zampounidis, Christian Stöcker, Andreas Steinhöfel, Eric Mayer, Linda Zervakis and Ahmad Mansour, among others.

All locations participating in BOOKFEST city comply with the protection ordinances of the state of Hesse. Limiting the number of participants allows for compliance with spacing regulations. Pre-registrations and the final BOOKFEST program will be available in mid-September at

BOOKFEST digital will air on Saturday, 17. October 2020, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., featuring a diverse program and presenting Elizabeth Gilbert, Jenny Erpenbeck, Ayad Akhtar, Eliot Weinberger, Peter Wohlleben, Kirsten Boie, Don Winslow, Karin Slaughter, Clemens Meyer, Olga Grjasnowa, Joachim Meyerhoff, Iris Wolff and Ralf König, among others. BOOKFEST digital will be broadcast on two channels, available at

Attendance at all BOOKFEST events is free of charge. The full program will be available in mid-September at

Open Books

Parallel to the Frankfurt Book Fair, numerous cultural events will also take place in the city of Frankfurt as part of Open Books. Nothing will change in the plans of OPEN BOOKS this year; on the contrary, new collaborations will further expand the program. For the 11th time, the city's reading festival will take place with almost 100 live events around the Römer and at other locations in Frankfurt. Furthermore, the traditional reading marathon "Literatur im Römer" will be held on Book Fair Wednesday and Thursday. This year, OPEN BOOKS will be hosting "The Blue Sofa" as a joint opening at the German National Library and for the first time with two crime fiction evenings, 3-sat Buchzeit, the DFB Cultural Foundation with a football evening and the SWR Best List as well as the authors nominated for the Swiss Book Prize 2020. OPEN BOOKS Kids will take place at the German National Library.

Presented will be new publications in all categories, i.e. fiction, non-fiction, poetry and comics. Participants include Jan Assmann, Zsuzsa Bánk, Christian Berkel, Helmut Brandstetter, Andreas Buck, Friedrich Curtius, Katja Ebstein, Zoe Beck, Roman Ehrlich, Melisa Erkurt, Veit Etzold, Iris Hanika, Oliver Hilmes, Andrea Petkovic, Ijoma Mangold, Kristof Magnusson Alfons Kaiser, Ralf König, Wladimir Klitschko, Wladmir Kaminer, Benjamin Moser, Ursula Poznanski, Rüdiger Schaper, Ronen Steinke, Tilman Spreckelsen, Andreas Winkelmann, Johannes Willms, Klaus-Peter Wolf and Nell Zink. Admission is free, and the program will be posted on from mid-September.

Signals of Hope - a digital event project for new confidence

The crisis year of 2020, with the Corona pandemic, climate change and the struggle for equality, has put an abrupt end to many certainties. Amid a culture of uncertainty and conspiracy theories, the Frankfurt Book Fair wants to make a statement: With its virtual project "Signals of Hope", it is highlighting the potential of the principle of hope and ideas for new approaches to action. "Signals of Hope" starts in mid-September with a social media campaign and can be experienced on all days of the Frankfurt Book Fair as an event programme at

Prominent Opinion Leaders in World Reception

Leïla Slimani, Nora Bossong, Kirsten Boie, Nina George, Francesca Melandri, Thomas Meinecke, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Matthias Lilienthal and many more opinionated personalities discuss in Weltempfang 2020. The first digital edition of the Weltempfang - the socio-political stage of the Frankfurt Book Fair - is themed "Europe - connecting cultures". Digital Weltempfang events will take place on each day of the Book Fair (14-18 October 2020) and will be broadcast on The World Reception is a joint project of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Federal Foreign Office.

Guest of Honour Canada

Canada is preparing a series of virtual programme elements showcasing the diversity, creativity and uniqueness of the Canadian literary and cultural scene. Canada will unveil its program in September. Canada's major physical appearance will take place in 2021.

Frankfurt Rights

With Frankfurt Rights, the Frankfurt Book Fair has developed a platform around the international rights and licence trade. This is where all the players in the rights and licence trade come together. Rights traders make and consolidate important business contacts here, share sample chapters or other viewing material and send and receive messages from colleagues and business partners.

Digital Conference Programme: Frankfurt Conference

The Frankfurt Book Fair's first purely digital conference series - Frankfurt Conference - offers a virtual specialist programme from Monday to Thursday (12-15 October 2020). The discussions, Q&A sessions and short lectures with international experts are aimed at members of the international publishing industry, who can further their education, exchange ideas in the virtual space and make new contacts. Over four days, conferences will be held on Academic & Scholarly Publishing, Rights & Licensing, Publishing Insights and Audio.

Registration with My Book Fair is required to attend the free professional events. This will be available from mid-September at

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