The Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest convention for the publishing, multimedia, and communications sectors, is gearing up for the annual five-day event with South Korea as guest.
The Frankfurt Convention Center will be buzzing in about a month
From Oct. 19th to the 23rd, the financial center on the Main River will play host to the world's largest trade fair for the publishing industry. For the first time, more than 7,000 individual presenters are expected. The featured country this year, South Korea, has organized more than 5,000 cultural events in all of Germany in cooperation with the book fair.
Jürgen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, has been involved with the event for over 20 years. In the past he came to the Fair as a presenter or a professional visitor. Now he is in charge of organizing the nearly 3,000 events, including 1,000 author appearances that take place under the Frankfurt Book Fair's auspices. This year, the fair aims to introduce the Korean book world to a German audience, which knows little about the country and its culture.
"With Korea we have a country as a guest about which we in Germany know relatively little -- much too little. About 40 Korean authors will be here including, as far as we can tell, North Korean authors," said Boos. "Our guest country will present itself at the book fair, in the city, and across Germany with a broad program ranging from literature to visual arts."
More than a book fair
The Frankfurt Book Fair: more than just books
Not just a literary convention, the book fair's Korean guests will use the open area of the Frankfurt convention center grounds to showcase other aspects of Korean culture, such as Korean dance, martial arts, and Korean cuisine.
Jürgen Boos is hopeful that the high-profile fair will increase interest in translating Korean literature into German. "The number of Korean literary works that get translated into German has remained disappointingly small," Boos said. "We would be pleased if it were possible to make Korea known in Germany as a country of literature and to establish one or the other Korean writer as a canonical figure," he said in an interview.
Boos is also proud of the Frankfurt Book Fair's status as a growing convention. "With a 6 percent growth rate, the Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the few leading trade fairs in the world that continues to grow," said Boos at a press conference on Tuesday. Presenters from over 100 countries are expected to attend this year's event.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is also collaborating with the "Reading Country: Hesse" festival, organized by the Hessian Ministry of Arts and Sciences.
Important for publishers
The world's largest trade fair of its kind: The Frankfurt Book Fair
Not just a book fair for the general public, the Frankfurt Book Fair also has strategic importance to publishing professionals. In catering to the specialized crowd, Boos has overseen a variety of new exhibition areas within the overall trade fair. "This year we have placed a lot of importance on increasing our offering of information for the publishing branch," Boos said. New exhibition areas include the antique book sellers area, the "PresseMesse," a gaming exhibit called "Spiele und Spielen," and forums on textbooks and publishing house production. The focus area "Film and TV," popular with past fairs, will be continued with offerings for film producers and publishing house employees.