Frankfurt 2019

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

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Director Juergen Boos from the Frankfurt Book Fair om stage as part of the international panel at NORLA's input and planning conference in Oslo, April 2017. Photo: Kristin Svorte.

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, our network Norwegian Arts Abroad 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.

In April 2017, NORLA had the pleasure of hosting an input and planning conference in Oslo about Frankfurt 2019 for 250 enthusiastic participants.

The conference, followed by a reception, was open for all and took place at Sentralen in Oslo (Øvre Slottsgt. 3), Wednesday 26 April, 1 – 7 PM.

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Our aim was to offer interested parties to:

Hear – about what it means to be the Guest of Honour at the world’s largest book fair.
See – all the exciting opportunities found in the cultural programme surrounding the fair.
Meet – people from the Frankfurt Book Fair, key German stakeholders, professionals from the book trade and culture sector, and Margit and Halldór who will be responsible for the entire endeavour.
Come – and bring your own ideas!

See the programme and read more

NORLA’s project organization

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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, Marit Ingvill Sande, Cultural Programme Coordinator (acting), Sunniva Adam, PR officer and Ellen Trautmann Olerud, Project Assistant.
Read more about the project manager and the team here and here.

“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.
See all information about the program here.

The first group, Spring 2017
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 and more about their program.

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© Photographer top left: Linnea Syversen, top right: Kateryna Babkina, bottom pictures: Agnete Brun.

The second group, Autumn 2017
In June, 2017 the second group was announced, consisting of the following six authors;
Birger Emanuelsen, Tiril Broch Aakre, Anders Kvammen, Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Andreas Tjernshaugen og Nina Lykke.
Read more about the authors here.

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Top row from the left: Tiril Broch Aakre, Nina Lykke, Birger Emanuelsen. Bottom row from the left: Anders Kvammen, Mari Kanstad Johnsen, Andreas Tjernshaugen.

The New Voices 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.

The Cultural programme in Frankfurt 2019

The Norwegian Guest of Honour project for the book fair in Frankfurt will, in addition to literature, include an extensive cultural framework programme, where the Guest of Honour nation will present a panorama of its life of arts and culture throughout the entire city of Frankfurt during the autumn when the book fair takes place.
Frankfurt has many good museums and culture institutions that can choose to take part in this, should they find that the Guest of Honour has exciting things to offer.
NORLA is cooperating closely with our network colleagues in Norwegian Arts Abroad about the 2019 cultural programme.

In March 2017, NORLA’s Project Manager Halldór Guðmundsson and Culture Coordinator Marit Ingvill Sande visited Frankfurt and were received with open arms and great interest.
Read more about their trip and the cultural institutions they visited here.


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.

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.

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NORLA’s Director Margit Walsø and Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Director Juergen Boos signing the agreement confirming Norway as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019. Photo: Eivind Røhne

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.

Read more about being Guest of Honour here.

Previous Guests of Honour.

And more about the Frankfurt Book Fair here.

See the brochure “Facts and figures” from the 2016 Book fair here.


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.

Bid book

Below you may download the Norwegian Bid book (“søknad”) Norway as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019.

Further reading

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