News from NORLA

Norway confirmed as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019

Margit walsø 2 cut

On 12 May at 2 PM, 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.

Signering 1

See more pictures from the ceremony here.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair) and Guest of Honour status
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. Now, Norway was chosen Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Guest of Honour in 2019, and will present the 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.

Broad support for the Guest of Honour initiative
The Norwegian book industry as a whole views Norway being named Guest of Honour of the Book Fair in Frankfurt 2019 as an important cultural initiative and a wise investment. The response of the cultural sector in Norway has been enthusiastic. 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. Germany is not merely an important market for Norwegian culture abroad, but also Norway’s most important partner in Europe. As such, the Book Fair in Frankfurt represents a unique opportunity for the participation of Norwegian trade and industry.

The objective of the Norwegian Guest of Honour initiative
As Guest of Honour in Frankfurt, we wish to show the breadth and diversity of Norwegian literature and culture. The project aims to introduce new voices within Norwegian literature, alongside established authors. Today there are a handful of well-known international authors from Norway, but the golden age of Norwegian contemporary literature actually comprises an entire generation. These authors are now prepared to present themselves to the world.

NORLA will build on and develop its large network both in the German and international book industry, and with German translators throughout the period leading up to 2019.
Extensive visitor programmes will be formed, facilitating visits by Norwegian authors to Germany, and German publishers, agents and journalists to Norway. Translation subsidies will be increased, and a programme for PR and information will be developed in cooperation with a German communications agency. In the Guest of Honour programme, all aspects of Norwegian art and cultural life will be presented, in collaboration with Norwegian cultural institutions from all disciplines. NORLA would like to make the most of the Book Fair as a global meeting place.

The project organization
NORLA – the export body for Norwegian literature – will establish an effective project organization based on solid collaborative relations with the publishing world, writers organizations, literature organizations and export organizations for all art disciplines, and culture and knowledge institutions. A dialogue with these stakeholders will provide a good basis for the choice of main concepts for the Norwegian Guest of Honour project.

Read our previous articles on the Norwegian initiative here.

Read more about Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair here.

And read more about the book fair itself here.

(Photos: Eivind Røhne)