7,100 international exhibitors, more than 4,000 events in five days and exhibition halls full of books: this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair will once again bring more than 270,000 visitors to this city on the banks of the Main. It is regarded as the mega event of the international publishing industry.
The book fair has been firmly established in Frankfurt since 1949, but in fact dates back more than 500 years. In the fifteenth century, Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized book printing in Mainz, just a few kilometres away from Frankfurt, after which the book printers Johannes Fust, Peter Schöffer and Konrad Henckis made Frankfurt the main hub for the book publishing trade. To this day, the primary raison d’tre of Frankfurt Book Fair is to bring together publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, scholars, illustrators, translators and authors. They have the opportunity at the fair to present their products and conclude deals. On its last two days, anyone interested can visit the book fair, take part in panel discussions and events and leaf through new publications.
Insight into the Indonesian literary scene
This year’s guest of honour in Frankfurt is Indonesia. 70 Indonesian authors will be presenting their new works in German translation; among them are Ayu Utami, Laksmi Pamuntjak and Leila Chudori, who also explore darker chapters of their country’s history in their books. “Indonesia changed from a colony to a democracy in the space of just 70 years. This social and political transformation is also reflected in its literature, and is accompanied by increasingly professional bookselling structures”, says Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos. Indonesia had around 100 books translated into German especially for the book fair, offering an insight into a dynamic literary scene.
Numerous prizes will be awarded during Frankfurt Book Fair. The most important prize politically is the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, which will be awarded on 18 October to the German-Iranian writer and Middle Eastern studies expert Navid Kermani. The German Book Prize, on the other hand, is awarded by the Foundation of the German Publishers & Booksellers Association to honour the best German-language novel of the year. From a total of 167 nominations, a jury has compiled a shortlist of the following six contemporary works: Jenny Erpenbeck: “Gehen, ging, gegangen” (Go, Went, Gone), Rolf Lappert: “Über den Winter” (Through the Winter), Inger-Maria Mahlke: “Wie Ihr wollt” (As You Wish), Ulrich Peltzer: “Das bessere Leben” (The Better Life), Monique Schwitter: “Eins im Andern” (One in the Other), Frank Witzel: “Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969” (The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969). The winner will receive 25,000 euros in prize money.
Frankfurt Book Fair from 14 to 18 October 2015