Norway to be Guest of Honour at Leipzig Book Fair 2025

Norway has been offered the opportunity to be Guest of Honour at Leipzig Book Fair 2025. This is a golden chance for Norwegian literature in its breadth to reach German readers. Together with the fair the literature festival Leipzig Reads will be happening, filling the city with 3000 events in 350 different venues throughout four days. This makes the festival the biggest of its kind in Europe, placing the joy of reading and the audience in the foreground.

Margit Walsø and Oliver Zille signing the Guest of Honour agreement at the house of The Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association (NFFO).

Literature from Norway in focus at Europe’s biggest reading festival

The literary programme will be presenting a range of different voices of authors from Norway, both at the fair itself and in Leipzig city. The idea is for the programme to mirror topical themes in our day and age, as well as discussing publishing trends in Norway. The main part of the programme will be based on books from Norway recently published in German translation.

In relation to the Guest of Honour project, NORLA will provide grants for translation by German, Swiss and Austrian publishing houses, to stimulate for more Norwegian titles to come out in the respective countries in the run-up to the book fair in 2025. Publishers, book sellers, translators and media will visit Norway in the preparations of the presentation.

More than a book fair

The unique part of Leipzig Book Fair is that it is as much a literature festival as it is a fair. Leipzig has a long literary tradition, as one of Europe’s biggest book fairs. Authors from Norway have been present at the book fair for many years. We are confident that we in 2025 can create engaging events for a wide audience across Germany, and at the same time reach the fair’s German and international industry players, such as publishers, bookstores, and translators, both at the fair and in the city.

– The German market has for a long time been very important for Norwegian literature abroad. Now, we can intensify this contact and bring forward new voices, all of this at a reading fair that aims to inspire the reader and put the author in the front line, says Director of NORLA, Margit Walsø.

The literature country Norway

Oliver Zille, Director for the Leipzig Book Fair, says:
– Norwegian literature is popular and highly-regarded in the German-speaking market. Norway’s stint as host country offers authors the ideal opportunity to introduce new works to a curious audience and to increase enthusiasm for Norwegian literature and culture. Thanks to their broad scope of appeal, the Leipzig Book Fair and reading festival are the perfect venue to increase awareness of Norway and its literary creatives in a sustainable way.

The Guest of Honour project will be organised by NORLA, Norwegian Literature Abroad, who has extensive experience with similar projects, such as through the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 and the Warszawa Book Fair 2022. The project has already been granted support by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now commence the important job of involving the whole book industry both in Norway and Germany, as well as other industry players, organizations, and partners.

Back row, from the left: Alexander Løken (Leader of Norwegian Writers for Children, and Member of NORLA’s board), Joakim M. Lie (Project Manager at the Fritt Ord Foundation), Hilde Lyng (Chair of Norwegian Association of Literary Translators), Arne Vestbø (Secretary General of NFFO and Chairman of NORLA’s board), Andrine Pollen (staff representative in NORLA's board).
Front row, from the left: Brynjulf Jung Tjønn (Leader of Norwegian Authors’ Union, Writer, and Member of NORLA’s board), Heidi Austlid (CEO of Norwegian Publishers Association and Vice-chair of NORLA’s board), Evy Tillman (Literary Agent at Oslo Literary Agency, and member of NORLA’s board), Eystein Hanssen (Chairman of the Board at Forfatterforbundet), Margit Walsø (Director NORLA) and Oliver Zille (Director Leipzig Book Fair). Marit Alette Utsi (SALAS – Sami publishers' association) participated online and is not in the photo.

Great enthusiasm in Norway

For the signing of the agreement, the book fair’s director Oliver Zille and project manager Laura Büching recently visited Oslo. Their program was varied over two full days, with introductions to a wide range of players in the book trade and political leadership in Norway, in addition to meeting NORLA’s board and administration.

The book fair’s representatives met with parties from the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Goethe Institut, several literary agencies, the export commitee of the Norwegian Publishers’ Association, SALAS – Sami publishers’ association, the library Deichman Bjørvika, the Willy Brandt Foundation and also authors.

We are many who look forward to presenting Norway as a Guest of Honour at the Leipzig Book Fair 2025!