The Frankfurt Book Festival
A Stormtrooper waits in line for a Currywurst and Potter fans flood the underground, scenes that signal it’s Frankfurt book festival time.
A hotter than usual October weekend and book lovers and industry gather for the literary world’s biggest networking event, the Frankfurt book festival has roots that span 500 years.
Cosplay enthusiasts add colour and glamour to the event, dressing as fantasy book characters. At the entrance a Hollywood style red carpet leads you inside and a sign overhead reads ‘ Let a book widen your world ‘. Here the globe opens to envelop you in a world of words, with exhibitors from Catalonia to Kosovo.
Despite its colossal location the event at the Frankfurt Trade Fair has a close intimate feel. The expanse of ground between exhibit halls is broken up with food trucks, modern water features, and a stylish marquee like a decorative Bedouin tent, where top authors meet the public.
One area is particularly busy, it has 2 walls. One wall has the Universal Declaration of Human Rights engraved upon it, the second wall titled “I’m On The Same Page” is an interactive art space.
On the second wall guests are invited to write messages to fellow book lovers. Messages of peace, unity and Dumbledore quotes are colourfully scrawled across it.
In the Children’s book area, an author sings parts of her book, and an art table where children can draw while listening is cleverly next to a stand that advises illustrators. A well thought out environment, whose design stimulates children’s creative senses with storytelling while simultaneously placing a pen in a child’s hand. The children’s area allows the professional and the next generation of creators to meet.
Surprising themes dominate at the large publishing houses : budget cooking, women and girls who change the world, political activism for children, conservation, Beatles music and the artwork of Frida Kahlo feature heavily.
An antiquarian book fair is near the international book art section, and experts and enthusiasts rub shoulders looking into the past while gazing at contemporary art work.
Scotland’s exhibit area had information on the Publishing Scotland International Fellowship Programme with brochures about new books from Scotland readily available and Scottish works showcased on the shelves.
In the international section, meaning the non-English language section, a Siberian Husky called Sybil has special permission to attend because she is so well behaved a French publisher explains to me.
Back in the underground Potter fans wave their wands, hoping to cast festival magic around the city.Why Harry Potter costumes? I ask “We want to show our love for the books, we want to meet other fans. Books are fun and we want to spread that message”.