After a quiet year in 2021 the Frankfurt Book Festival was back with a bang. Spain was guest of honour “Spilling Creativity” around the festival and the Spanish royal family was in attendance.
The largest book festival in the world has faced covid set backs the past two years. In 2020 the festival was cancelled and in 2021 it was greatly reduced in terms of attendees and exhibitors. However 2022 marked it’s covid recovery comeback, with the slogan: Translate words, Transfer ideas, Transform minds.
A key theme was inclusion and diversity with publishing houses recognising the lack of diversity within their publishing collections and talent pool. Solutions presented were active recruitment, mentoring schemes and commitment to more books that represent groups overlooked by publishing.
Publishing Scotland returned to the Book Festival in person, with the stand a busy meeting point for publishers and a showcase for new works.
Russia, Iran and Belarus were barred from attending and support for Ukraine was displayed by many countries including the former soviet republic, now independent country, Georgia.
Ukrainian President Zelensky spoke to the Book Festival via Video link: President Zelenskyy addresses the book community in Frankfurt
Speaking with resolve and authority, Zelensky invited authors and journalists to come to Ukraine and document the events happening, describing words as weapons against ignorance:
“When people lack knowledge,” he said, “they’re more easily manipulated by politics. … please, keep writing about the war’
The Gutenberg Museum of Germany had a hands on printing workshop and the chance to discover more about the print press invention by Johannes Gutenberg. An invention that ushered in an information revolution and made books more accessible to people.
Catalonia’s impressive black chic stand with the slogan “Catalonia Land of Books, Barcelona, City of Literature” was a hub of activity. 14 authors represented Catalan literature in different events throughout the fair, and 20 Catalan publishing groups had their own stands, ensuring the strength of Catalan culture and literature was well represented.
2022 marks a confident energetic return for an event that facilitates the exchange of ideas, sharing of knowledge and a love of books. What a necessary event in current times.