Canada Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2021


Canada was due to take centre stage at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020 as the Guest of Honour county, however with the cancellation of the physical fair due to the pandemic, the postponed programme will take place in October this year. With this year’s fair operating in a hybrid environment, it will be the first time that there will be a hybrid Guest of Honour programme, building on Canada’s digital presence from 2020 with a literary playlist headlined by author Margaret Atwood. The project has been in the making for over 4 years now with a team of 6 people have been working hard to draw together the various strands of the programme, reporting to a board of directors representing the diversity of the book industry in Canada.

Under the banner CANADA FBM2021 Singular Plurality, the official pavilion will be built as usual in the FORUM hall of the Messe fairground, with a stands for publishers doing business in Halls 6.0. and 4.1 An accompanying virtual counterpart to the Guest of Honour pavilion will also invite exhibitors and participants who are unable to make it to the Book Fair to access and engage with Canadian literary and cultural content from home. Authors, illustrators, and artists will be participating in the hybrid programme, due to be announced in a press event before the book fair. As is usual with the Guest of Honour exhibition, there will be a ‘Books on Canada’ exhibition curated by the Frankfurt Book Fair and made up of current titles from publishers around the world relating to Canada. English and French are the official languages of Canada, and both languages will be used to represent English, French and indigenous members of the Canadian book community. A translation funding initiative was set up a few years back by the Canada Council for the Arts to incentivize German publishers to buy the German translation rights for Canadian-authored and -illustrated works. At this writing, spanning 2020 and 2021, 350 Canadian books have been translated and are available for sale, or are about to be launched on the German market this fall and winter.

Gillian Fizet, Executive Director of Canada FBM2020 said, “The Canadian publishing industry is grateful to have had its Guest of Honour year deferred to 2021. Being able to showcase our literature to the world via the Frankfurt Book Fair’s international network is an unparalleled opportunity and will have a lasting legacy on our industry for years to come.”

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-Emma House

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