Frankfurt 2019

Norway is Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019!

2016 signering av avtalen foto eivind røhne
The signing of the agreement by Margit Walsø and Juergen Boos. Photo: EIvind Røhne

Norway as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019 is possibly the biggest cultural Norwegian initiative abroad ever made, and represents huge international possibilities for Norwegian literature and other forms of cultural expression.
NORLA is in charge of the process towards 2019, and will be cooperating closely with authors, publishing houses, literary agents, art institutions and other cultural entities in order to create a solid and attractive Guest of Honour program.

Below you will find more information on the project.

NORLA’s project organization

2017 prosjektteamet foto mette børja
Photo: Mette Børja

NORLA is responsible for the Norwegian project. Project Manager for Frankfurt 2019 is Halldór Gudmundsson, who is reporting to NORLA’s Director Margit Walsø. Also part of the project team is Andrine Pollen, Coordinator Literary Programme and Marit Ingvill Sande, Cultural Programme Coordinator (acting). The team will be expanded in due course.
Read more about the project manager and the team.

“New Voices”

Cultivating new literary voices internationally is an important part of the Norwegian 2019-endeavour. NORLA’s development programme has been established in collaboration with Talent Norway (Talent Norge) and the Norwegian Publishers Association.
In the years leading up to 2019 a number of writers will have the opportunity to participate in a development programme that focuses on the international dimensions of the writing profession. The programme is for writers from all genres, fiction, non-fiction, and literature for children and young people.

2017 nye stemmer 1 se fotokred.
© Photographer top left: Linnea Syversen, top right: Kateryna Babkina, bottom pictures: Agnete Brun.

In the autumn of 2016, the first four participants were chosen; Simen Ekern, Sigbjørn Mostue, Roskva Koritzinsky and Nils Henrik Smith. They met in January 2017 for the first session in the program.
Read more about the authors here.

The programme will address the public and international aspect of being an author. It will provide insight into the work of translators, give participants media training, knowledge about international book markets, language practise, practical experience and international contacts. The scheme will entail sessions in Norway, and travel abroad. We will take advantage of NORLA’s large international network to produce a solid programme that will include participation at festivals, book fairs and translator’s seminars. The programme is not intended to be a writing school; the idea is rather that meeting with a foreign readership will enhance an awareness of and open up new perspectives on the participant’s own vocation as an author.

Groups of three−five participants will be accepted twice a year up until 2019. Each participant will attend the programme for one semester. A total of some 20 participants with representatives from all literary genres will take part in the programme.

In the Spring of 2017, editorial staffs of all publishing houses in Norway were invited to nominate new candidates.
The deadline for nominations was 15.03.2017.
Read more.


For several years, NORLA’s staff have worked towards Norway becoming Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In the spring of 2015 it became official that the Norwegian book industry whole heartedly backed the descision to apply for Guest of Honour 2019. And in October 2015 the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, backed the application by NOK 30 million. Read more.

2016 signeringen er gjort foto eivind røhne
Photo: Eivind Røhne

And finally;
On 12 May 2016, in the lobby of the National Theatre in Oslo, NORLA’s Director Margit Walsø and Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Director Juergen Boos signed the agreement confirming Norway as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019, in front of an enthusiastic audience.

Read all about the ceremony and see pictures here..

Press reviews from the ceremony here

The Frankfurt Book Fair and being Guest of Honour

The Book Fair in Frankfurt is the world’s largest marketplace for the international literary and media industry and is held every year in October.
More than 10,000 journalists, 7000 publishing houses and 300,000 visitors – creative professionals from around the world – attend the book fair and thus underline the fair’s slogan to be “The World Capital of Ideas”.

Every year a country is singled out for profiling as Guest of Honour at the fair. Norway is chosen Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Guest of Honour in 2019, and at NORLA, we look forward to present our country’s literature and culture – which will include a designated about 2000 square metre pavilion. A comprehensive cultural and literature programme will be initiated three years beforehand and escalated gradually. In addition to literature, books and authors, other art forms will be promoted through a large number of events and media segments. There is no other venue in the world offering such a large-scale, concentrated focus on a single country.


The Norwegian Parliament and Government’s commitment to the project demonstrates the strong motivation behind the overall Norwegian investment. The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries will each cover their respective third of a state subsidy totalling NOK 30 million. The initiative will also receive funding from the private sector in the amount of NOK 13 million, from the book trade and foundations. A number of private stakeholders from trade and industry are now being invited to take advantage of the promotional opportunity the Guest of Honour project represents.

Further reading

You will find NORLA’s articles on Frankfurt 2019 here.