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The 71st Frankfurt Book Fair in times of global upheaval

15.10.2019 | 15:05 Clock | Culture
The 71st Frankfurt Book Fair in times of global upheaval

The 71st Frankfurt Book Fair (16-20 October 2019) takes place against a backdrop of global political and social upheaval. Concern about the state of the world in the face of an impending climate catastrophe, but also in the face of the growing influence of anti-democratic forces, has given rise to a new generation of activists. This includes committed authors whose novels, non-fiction, biographies and poetry inspire and stir people around the world. At the same time, the data-driven digital age is reaching new dimensions: The rapid evolution of artificial intelligence and groundbreaking advances in all areas of science are harbingers of disruptive developments that herald a new chapter in the history of humankind.

As the largest international meeting place for an industry centred on content, ideas and stories, the Frankfurt Book Fair is embracing these developments. At the opening press conference today, Tuesday, Book Fair director Juergen Boos appealed to the self-image of publishing in times of major change processes: It is the responsibility of the book and media industry to analyse, evaluate and critically question the paradigm shifts defining the 21st century, he said. International publishing stands for a diversity of perspectives and opinions - and the preservation of this diversity must be protected, he said. "We need authors who denounce grievances, who resist. And we need publishers who prepare this content and find suitable formats for it. Who stand for quality, diligence and credibility," said Juergen Boos.

Heinrich Riethmüller, head of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, said: "The industry is aware of its important social mission. It wants to initiate and help shape debates on the pressing issues of our time: globalisation and digitisation, climate and environmental protection, migration and the development of our democracies. In the process, publishers and bookshops are succeeding in holding their own in the face of growing media competition. Successfully, they are breaking new ground in bringing books to readers."

Olga Tokarczuk, the 2018 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, made a special surprise guest appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair's opening press conference. She spoke about the political responsibility of authors. In her novels, the Polish writer deals with the aftermath of European and Jewish history, sparking controversy in her home country. Above all, however, the trained psychologist is also politically active and was a member of the editorial board of the left-liberal magazine Krytyka Polityczna.

With CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION, the Frankfurt Book Fair is putting culture centre stage and making its stages available to people who meet the challenges of our time with creative approaches to solutions and revolutionary ideas. As the backbone of society, culture provides orientation and a sense of belonging, it provides the framework for intercultural exchange and thus for shaping a future worth living and full of hope. The initiative was developed in cooperation with the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the United Nations (UN), THE ARTS+/B3, ARTE and Spreadshop. Activists and artists such as Luisa Neubauer, Igor Levit, Ai Weiwei and many others are part of the initiative. More information:

The 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair is expected to attract 7,450 exhibitors from 104 countries.

Further focal points of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019

Guest of Honour Norway: "The dream within us"

Cultural wealth, freedom of expression and sustainability are the core themes of the Norwegian Guest of Honour appearance in Frankfurt, which will take place under the patronage of I.HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. At the Book Fair, more than 100 Norwegian authors will present their books and provide insights into Norwegian literature and society. A total of around 500 book titles - including Norwegian literature in translation and books about Norway - will be published by 217 German-language publishers until the end of 2019 (counting from autumn 2018). The "Books on Norway" exhibition, organised by the Frankfurt Book Fair, features over 650 titles from more than 30 countries. The exhibition includes books by Norwegian authors in translation as well as books about Norway in a wide variety of genres.

World Reception 2019 themed: "Anthropocene - the last age?"

Glacier melting, forest fires, mountains of garbage, microplastics: our impact on nature is incalculable, and worldwide. Once at the mercy of nature, humans are now the changing force on the planet. More than 40 events on the stage and in the Salon of the Weltempfang (Hall 4.1 B 81) will examine a wide range of aspects relating to the Anthropocene. Prominent speakers from the worlds of politics and culture will be taking part in the discussions: Environmental activist Luisa Neubauer, the federal chairman of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, Robert Habeck, sociologist and social psychologist Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer, Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth as well as international authors including Maja Lunde, Elif Shafak, Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, Luiz Ruffato, Gioconda Belli, Mercedes Rosende, Bonnie Greer and Patrick McGuinness.

New Theme Worlds: Frankfurt Audio and Frankfurt Authors

The concept of themed worlds, which was successfully introduced in 2018 with the international areas Frankfurt EDU (Halls 3.1 and 4.2) and Frankfurt Kids, the area for children's and youth media (Hall 3.1 and Foyer 5.1/6.1), will be further developed: two new areas will be added in 2019 with Frankfurt Audio (Hall 3.1) and Frankfurt Authors (Hall 3.0).

Audio is one of the fastest-growing segments in the media industry internationally. In the new Frankfurt Audio Area, the trends surrounding audio books and podcasts can now be experienced in a central area at the fair. On more than 600 square metres of floor space, German-language audio book publishers can be found alongside international streaming platforms in Hall 3.1. A top-class specialist programme for players from the publishing and audio industries will be complemented by events featuring well-known authors, audio book speakers and podcasters: at the Frankfurt Audio Summit, Michael Krause from Spotify will be a keynote speaker. The Frankfurt Audio Stage (Hall 3.1 L 59) will feature Rafik Schami, Rita Falk, Lars Amend, the author couple behind Iny Lorentz, Mieze Katz, Giuseppe di Grazia and Julian Reichelt, among others.

Creating a place all about writing - that's the idea behind the new Frankfurt Authors area. Frankfurt Authors is the further development of the previous Self-PublishingArea - with a new stage, signing area, lounge as well as specialist programme and networking events with Melanie Raabe and Sascha Lobo, among others. In addition to the presentation opportunities for authors, there are also new themed days organised by genre: the programme on the Friday of the fair is all about crime and thrillers, on the Saturday of the fair everything revolves around romance and on the Sunday of the fair the fantasy genre determines the programme.


Premiere for the Frankfurt Book Fair's Literature Gala: As part of BOOKFEST, award-winning writers will come together for an international literary gala on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at 7.00 pm (Saal Harmonie, CMF). Margaret Atwood, Maja Lunde, Elif Shafak and Colson Whitehead, in conversation with hr presenter Bärbel Schäfer and radioeins presenter Thomas Böhm, will present their new books - complemented by German text excerpts presented by Bela B Felsenheimer and Nina Petri. In addition, Ken Follett will be a guest with his action "The Friendship Tour".

With more than 50 events in Frankfurt's city centre and almost 30 events at the Frankfurt Book Fair, BOOKFEST 2019 presents a varied programme including.with Samantha Cristoforetti, Thomas Gottschalk, Die Lochis, Nele Neuhaus, Jo Nesbø, Sophie Passmann, Peter Schilling, Rita Süssmuth, Thees Uhlmann, Max von Thun, Ulrich Wickert and Peter Wohlleben, among others. The Frankfurt Book Fair's international festival of literature, stories and ideas offers exceptional experiences in a special atmosphere. On all five days of the fair (16-20 October), poetry slams, tastings, parties, concerts, talk rounds, lectures and cooking events can be experienced in over 20 locations in Frankfurt city centre as part of the BOOKFEST.

Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) with new location

This year, the Literary Agents Centre presents itself at the new location in the Festhalle: 355 agencies and publishers from more than 30 countries are represented in the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre (LitAg) and in the Publishers Rights Corner. The majority of the agencies represented in Frankfurt come from the USA (80 agencies) and the UK (67 agencies).

Innovation and international appeal: THE ARTS+ and B3

For the first time, THE ARTS+ is cooperating with the B3 Biennale of the Moving Image: the renowned B3 exhibition, which includes film, media, games, and technology-based installation art, will be shown at the Frankfurt Book Fair in THE ARTS+ area (Hall 4.1). Both festivals will present an extensive conference and stage program.

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