Norway as Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 is the country’s largest overall cultural initiative abroad. The main goals set for the initiative by NORLA were achieved. The goals were to renew the foothold of Norwegian literature in Germany, to create new international interest in Norwegian literature, to showcase Norway as a modern cultural nation and to revitalize the relationship between Norway and Germany through cooperation on literary and cultural projects.
The Frankfurter Buchmesse is beyond doubt the world’s most important book fair when it comes to the sale of foreign rights and international dissemination of literature in all genres. The Norwegian guest of honour status was used as an arena for the presentation of a myriad of voices from Norway, as well as sparking the joy of reading and, not least, it served as a platform for promoting freedom of speech.
Internationally, literature from Norway is in an incredibly strong position. 2019 was the year that Norway featured as Guest of Honour at the world’s most important book fair – Frankfurter Buchmesse – with the motto The Dream We Carry. NORLA planned and implemented this initiative on behalf of the government and the book industry.
Thanks to the Guest of Honour initiative, the number of books that were published in German reached a record high in 2019: 510 titles from or about Norway. One hundred authors from Norway came to the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair, with 100,000 people visiting the pavilion. Almost two hundred authors participated in a program in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland in 2019, and a total of 1120 literary or cultural events were held in German-speaking regions. Norway set a record for media attention as guest country, being mentioned 14,997 times throughout the autumn of 2019.
“Thanks to all the publications in German during its year as Guest of Honour, Norwegian literature has a bigger window on other languages too. With targeted efforts in the future towards other markets, we will be able to see the long-term ripple effects of the work behind the guest-country initiative,” says Margit Walsø, director of NORLA.
POSTPONED: Due to the latest developments concerning the coronavirus and new guidelines from the Institute of Public Health, the conference marking the end of the Literature Go Global program is postponed.
This is seen as a necessary measure to limit the risk of spreading the corona virus. At the same time we are doing our best to set an alternative date for the conference.
According to German sales figures six books from Norway made it to the bestseller lists for 2019, the year Norway was Guest of Honour at the world’s most important book fair; Frankfurter Buchmesse:
Today is the Sami National Day, and everyone at NORLA offers our warmest congratulations to all our Sami friends and the Sami people: Læhkoeh biejjine – Vuorbbe biejvijn – Lihkku beivviin – Gratulerer med dagen!
See below for pictures from some of last year’s events at Frankfurter Buchmesse featuring Sami authors and literature.
We also recommend the Book Fair’s official Guest of Honour film from Norway’s pavilion, which includes Sami joik from 03:40 mins. and a soundtrack by Elle Márjá Eira – who also performed at the opening ceremony of the fair.
Watch the film here
In connection with Norway being Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse in 2019, NORLA and Grafill collaborated on a touring exhibition with Norwegian book illustrations. As a finale, the exhibition is now coming to Norway, and Grafill’s premises in Oslo and will be on display January 9 – February 2.
The exhibition "Georg Grosz meets Mulysses on Slush Mountain. Modern illustration from Norway” includes work by eleven Norwegian illustrators, selected from a variety of new Norwegian picture books for both children and adults, all of which can be found in books that are translated and available in German.
During 2019, the exhibition has been shown in a number of cities in Germany and Switzerland: Berlin (2 times), Bremen, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Zofingen and Wohlen.
A great year for Norwegian literature exports is now behind us. Norway has been the Guest of Honour at the world’s most important book fair and this huge endeavour, which NORLA has worked on for more than six years, has been a success; never has a Guest of Honour drawn so much media attention in the German-speaking countries and sales figures are record high. The literary program at the book fair engaged the public and the cultural program attracted attention all over Germany.
You can find out more about these figures here.
We are happy to share some key figures from Norway as a Guest of Honour at this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse. NORLA’s Guest of Honour project report will be presented in the first quarter of 2020:
As the Frankfurt project is coming to an end, project manager Halldór Guðmundsson will be leaving NORLA ahead of Christmas, and be moving back to Iceland.
Also for some of our other project colleagues, their temporary appointments have come to an end; Sunniva Adam, Ellen Trautmann Olerud, Marit Ingvill Sande, Hege Langrusten and Anna Schüller. Andrine Pollen is back in her former position as senior adviser at NORLA.
We would like to thank you for the most wonderful and enriching collaboration – and wish you all the best in the future!
In January, we were very excited to start Norway’s Guest of Honour year ahead of the Frankfurter Buchmesse by offering a brand new series: Poems of the Week, all through 2019!
The poems are available both in English and German translations – as well as in Norwegian – at our Guest of Honour website norway2019.com.