73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse to bring global publishing industry back together

From 20 to 24 October 2021, the international publishing industry will come together at the 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse under the motto ‘Re:connect – Welcome back to Frankfurt’. 1,500 exhibitors from more than 70 countries along with some 200 authors will once again turn Frankfurter Buchmesse into a marketplace for content and a celebration of books.

06 Oct 2021 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

The motto of the 73rd Frankfurter Buchmesse is ‘Re:connect – Welcome back to Frankfurt’

“The focus of this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse will be reuniting with colleagues and authors from around the world. Books proved themselves to be particularly resilient and popular as a medium during the pandemic. Anyone who wants to comprehend the complexity of our times appreciates the creativity and expertise exhibited by writers and the editorial care required for producing books. Literature connects readers all over the world. This year, the book fair will once again bring together the global industry for one week in Frankfurt – and, naturally, people everywhere around the world will be able to follow all the action live,” said Juergen Boos, president of Frankfurter Buchmesse.

The top priority will be ensuring all participants can visit the fair safely. The city of Frankfurt’s health authorities has given special permission for Frankfurter Buchmesse to take place: 25,000 people will be admitted to the fairgrounds on each day of the fair. Visitors may only enter the premises with a personalised ticket and in accordance with the ‘3G’ rule, meaning they must be vaccinated against, have recovered from, or have recently tested negative for Covid-19. Admission will only be possible once a check has been done verifying all the relevant requirements have been met.

On 20 October, the Guest of Honour will present ‘Canada Night’ in the Festhalle – an evening of literary discussions in which authors and illustrators will participate both remotely via digital feed and in person on stage. Live artistic performances will turn this special event into an unforgettable experience. During the week of the fair, Canada will also present its cultural programme throughout Frankfurt – including projections, interactive activities and illuminations that underscore Canada’s singular plurality.

For the first time in the history of the book fair, a featured country will also welcome the world to a virtual Guest of Honour pavilion, which has been developed and called to life by the Toronto-based company Majestic Media, under the conceptual direction of Gonzalo Soldi, creative director and co-founder of mirari. The virtual pavilion is a collaborative project that will showcase both Canada’s literature and the digital know-how of its creative and technology industries.

A purely digital professional programme in English will take place for the first time prior to the week of the fair, from 11 to 15 October 2021. The programme will include the venues Frankfurt Conference 2021, Frankfurt Studio: Inside Publishing, Masterclasses – Learning from the Best, and The Hof – More than Just Networking.

Monday, 11 October, also marks the start of the new Masterclasses by the Frankfurter Buchmesse and its partners. Until 15 October, two to three Masterclasses will be held daily. In about 45 minutes each, various companies and representatives of the international publishing industry will present business cases and give insights into exciting future fields and current topics – from audiobook production through AI and the digital transformation of the value chain to mentoring and self-censorship in publishing.

The twelve Masterclasses will feature top-class speakers like Jo Surman, Fionnuala Barrett, and Jessica Barnfield of the HarperCollins UK Audio Team presenting ‘Audio Publishing: Behind the Scenes’ on 11 October at 4 pm, and DeGruyter vice-presidents Brian Bishop and Scott Williams, whose class will be on ‘How digital transformation works at a mid-sized academic publishing house’ taking place Tuesday, 12 October, 5 pm.

Frankfurt Studio is Frankfurter Buchmesse’s brand-new hybrid stage. At the Inside Publishing Programme running from 20 to 22 October 2021, trade programming will be broadcast live both on an LED screen on the Agora – the open space between the exhibition halls – and on buchmesse.de. The Frankfurt Studio is a 500 m² fully equipped studio with a 72 m² multifunctional stage. A large part of the events will be streamed live from the studio on the exhibition grounds, some contributions will be pre-recorded.

‘The Future of Independent Publishing’ will be the focus of a two-hour programme originating from Frankfurt Studio on Thursday 21 October beginning at 2 pm CEST when Frankfurt's Juergen Boos will be among speakers, including keynote publisher Nelleke Geel of Amsterdam's Meridiaan Uitgevers; London-based literary scout Rebecca Servadio and Picador UK's Ravi Mirchandani; Paris' Juliette Ponce of Éditions Dalva, Pierre Astier of Astier-Pécher Literary & Film Agency, and Jean Mattern of Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle; and Sandro Ferri of Rome's Edizioni E/O.

Visitors can also expect events on social issues and on current industry topics at BOOKFEST city in the centre of Frankfurt. More than 50 events are planned across all five days of the fair in numerous locations throughout the city – with Ayse Bosse, Gaby Hauptmann, Bernhard Hoëcker, Harald Lesch and Aminata Touré, among others.