Buchmesse 2017, Guest of Honour France: A diversity of voices

Guest of Honour France A diversity of voices

Buchmesse 2017, Guest of Honour presentation dedicated to a diversity of voices: “Moving towards a more harmonious Europe”

At today’s press conference concerning France’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (11-15 October 2017), details about the literary programme and the Guest of Honour Presentation at the Book Fair were revealed.

134 authors and artists from France, the French-speaking region of Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Africa, Asia and the Maghreb will present their work at the Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Wajdi Mouawad is expected as literary speaker at the opening of the Book Fair (Tuesday, 10 October 2017). The author, actor and dramaturge of Lebanese origin, is currently Director of the Théâtre national de la Colline in Paris. His background and approach to language in all its variety make him an ideal representative of the Guest of Honour. France’s participation as Guest of Honour will be accompanied by an impressive list of translations: 130 publishers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are translating 473 novels, works of nonfiction, children’s and young adult books and graphic novels to German (effective June 2017).

“With the presence at the Frankfurter Buchmesse of well over a hundred French-language authors and with hundreds of cultural events at and beyond the Book Fair, ‘Francfort en français’ stands as a symbol of a new upturn in the relationship between France and Germany and conveys a very powerful movement towards a more harmonious Europe”, says Paul de Sinety, Chairman of France’s participation as Guest of Honour.

“At a time when Europe is under increasing political pressure and there are deep rifts within its population, France’s presence at the Frankfurter Buchmesse is helping to consolidate the close ties between Germany and France. At the same time, it creates a vibrant cultural space that reaches far beyond geographical borders. In a few weeks, we will see authors in Frankfurt who are grappling with their (adopted) homeland, questioning and reinventing France’s image in the world and doing away with prejudices and clichés. And this irrespective of whether they were born in France, or have adopted French as their langue de préférence for professional, political or personal reasons”, said Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurter Buchmesse at the press conference.

The Guest of Honour Presentation: An experimental space for multilingualism

The Guest of Honour Presentation is at the heart of France’s participation as Guest of Honour. Covering 2,500 square metres in the Forum, Level 1, it is a three-dimensional Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art that allows visitors to experience the great range of French-language literature.

“The Pavilion has been designed as a space for exhibitions, panel discussions and encounters with authors. It is a library that houses the wide variety of French-language literature. At the same time, a supporting framework of wooden boards gives it the appearance of scaffolding, which symbolises the process of emergence and becoming. Finally, the Presentation is also meant to offer guidance. In the name of hospitality and exchange, the Guest of Honour Presentation will provide a stage for the vibrant and borderless French-language literature”, says Ruedi Baur, the artistic director of France’s presence as Guest of Honour. A number of exhibitions will be presented, including a selection of Belgian-French graphic novels and an exposition of the over 200-year history of French publishing.

The history of book printing can be explored thanks to a replica of the famous Gutenberg press. The Pavilion is based on a design by the professors Denis Coueignoux and Éric Jourdan in collaboration with students of the Ecole supérieure d’art et design de Saint-Etienne (Saint-Etienne School of Art and Design) and with the support of the City of Saint-Etienne.

Guest of Honour programme in Frankfurt

In October, culture lovers can discover French-language authors and artists all across the City of Frankfurt.

On Sunday, 8 October 2017, writers, historians and philosophers will gather for the event “Je vous écris d’Europe”, which will debate what is being written, thought, remembered and forgotten about Europe.

Michel Houellebecq and Yasmina Reza, amongst others, will appear onstage at the Schauspiel Frankfurt. Additional readings and discussions with French intellectuals will take place at the Romanfabrik, Literaturhaus and Goethe Universität.

>> full programme

The French cultural year

France’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (11-15 October 2017) is the high point of a French cultural year that has been taking place throughout Germany, with a wide-ranging and multidisciplinary programme that is being carried out in collaboration with the Institut français Deutschland.

In 2017, under the label “Frankfurt in French”, more than 300 events are taking place across Germany: theatre, contemporary music, visual arts, film, literary encounters and much more with 250 participating artists and French-language authors.

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