Frankfurt’s guest of honor Spanish program meets the press

As many as 450 Spanish works could be published in translation by the October 19-23 session of this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse.

During the press conference at the Goethe-Institut Madrid on the Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Guest of Honor Spain programme, we find, from left to right, Miquel Iceta, Spanish Minister for Culture and Sport; Juergen Boos, CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair; and Irene Vallejo, author of “Infinity in a Reed,” who will attend the Frankfurt Opening Ceremony on October 18. Image: SpainFrankfurt 2022

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

Boos: “Multilingual and vibrant literature”

NOTAhead of its turn this year at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19-23), the upcoming Guest of Honor Spain program was presented at an introductory press conference in Madrid on Thursday June 9, led by Miquel Iceta, Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports.

Held at the Goethe-Institut in Madrid, the event brought together Frankfurt President and CEO Juergen Boos; program curator Elvira Marco; and Daniel Fernández, president of the Federation of Gremios de Editores de España (the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain).

the General Director of the Spanish Program for the Promotion of Books and Reading, María Jose Gálvez; the president of Acción Cultural Española, José Andrés Torres Mora; and the Minister Counselor of the German Embassy in Spain, Christoph Wolfrum, were also present at the event.

The preparatory documents underline that this is a case in which a guest of honor in Frankfurt is a return: Spain occupied this post in 1991 in Buchmesse, and characterizes its concept 31 years later as a chance to perform at the world‘s largest book publishing fair. a ‘revitalization process’ both of the Spanish cultural scene and of what the organizers call ‘our commitment to innovation’. Spanish creativity, as the media say, “goes beyond territories, borders, continents, cultures, languages, age or gender”.

The main note from the Madrid press conference is that the Spanish program is expected to travel with nearly 200 participants from Spain, including writers, translators, illustrators, publishers, literary agents, booksellers and distributors. .

They will be led by the classic Irene Vallejo (Infinite in a reed, which has been translated into more than 30 languages) and novelist Antonio Muñoz Molina, 2013 winner of the Jerusalem Prize and the Prince of Asturias Prize. The two authors are scheduled to appear at the opening ceremony of the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 18.

At the end of the Frankfurt week, Manuel Rivas, the Galician writer, journalist and poet, will be on stage for the presentation of the “Guest Scroll” to Slovenia, guest of honor nation of the Buchmesse 2023.

Three-quarters of authors traveling to Frankfurt write in Spanish, the others working in one or more of the country’s other official languages: Catalan, Galician and Aranese.

Jürgen Boos

Welcoming the upcoming program and its side projects, Frankfurt’s Boos said: “I look forward to a guest of honor program that reflects the multilingual and vibrant literature and culture of today’s Spain. today and offers the public of the book fair a contemporary approach to “Overflowing creativity.”

“Visitors to the fair will be able to discover the diversity of the Spanish editorial landscape in October.

“In addition to large publishers, many small and medium-sized publishers, including many publishers of children’s books, will also present their programs in Frankfurt. Visitors will also discover the stands of the Comunidades Autonomas of Catalonia, Valencia, Euskadi, Galicia, Andalusia and Asturias.

The program, as we wrote earlier, should also have a strong diversity component. The organizers describe this as the focus on “bibliodiversity, linguistic diversity, gender equality, sector strength, innovation, digitization and sustainability”. This is emphasized in documents from the organizers which state that a key objective of the program is to reiterate “the State’s commitment to the strength of the Spanish language, the richness of multilingualism and the diversity of authors, genres and industry publishers. the cornerstones of the activities framed in the Frankfurt Route and our participation in the Fair 2022, as well as in the joint initiatives with the book sector and the Autonomous Communities.

The slogan of the project, Overflowing creativity, most commonly translated as “creativity overflow”, is also sometimes translated as “creativity overflow”, the implication being an abundance of creativity and an exuberance in the communication of it. And translation, rights trading and its potential for Spanish literature.

Workplace Translation Grants

The guest of honor project in Frankfurt started for Spain with its agreement with Buchmesse in 2019. At that time, the Ministry of Culture and Sports increased its budget for translation grants by nearly 45%.

In addition, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) has launched a specific program focused on five strategic markets defined in the sector: German, English, French, Italian and Dutch.

Between these moves in 2019 and the end of 2021, the two grants have contributed almost 2.5 million euros to promote the internationalization of Spanish literature in the five markets mentioned above.

The organizers report that during these three years, translations have totaled 300 titles and that in 2022, another 110 translations are expected to be published. Most of them are narrative works, but there are also works of poetry, literature for young readers, graphic novels and non-fiction.

Of these 110 new titles, 50% received some form of translation support.

Iceto: “To boost the internationalization of our authors”

In his comments at the Madrid event, Iceto from the Ministry of Culture highlighted the importance of Buchmesse, both in terms of the close cultural ties that exist between Spain and Germany and in terms of the exhibition of Spanish literature made possible by a guest of honor program. at the fair and the impulse that creates to generate a translation activity for the literature of a market.

As confirmed by Iceta, in 2019 it was expected that around 350 books by Spanish authors would be translated into German at the time of the fair, but this figure has now risen to more than 450 books translated – in total, 40% of ‘them being assisted if not fully enabled by aid in the form of grants.

“Being guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair,” Iceto told the Spanish press, “will allow Spain to boost the internationalization of our authors and the book industry.

“I am convinced that our presence in Frankfurt will be a milestone in the cultural renaissance that we will experience after two years of pandemic,” he said.

Elvira Marco

Marco, familiar now Publication prospects readers, has been responsible for presenting the Spanish literary and professional program since its inception, and on Thursday in Madrid told the press, “Now is the time to show the results of four years of work.

“We are presenting ourselves with the fulfilled objective of fostering the translation of our authors and the internationalization of the publishing sector, with more than 150 launches in Germany in 2022.”

Fernández, president of the Federation of Publishers Guilds, said that Spain’s guest of honor in Frankfurt “will allow us to showcase the strength of Spanish creation and publishing internationally. We are a country that stands out for its rich editorial production, both in Spanish and in the other languages ​​of the State, and the program reflects this.

He added that returning as guest of honor after 31 years allows Spain to show the changes in culture over three decades. The 1991 program “reflected the fact that our country had joined Europe”, he said, whereas today the emphasis can be placed more on “the great editorial potential confirmed” by the presence of Spain in world literature.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic speaker on Thursday was author Irene Vallejo, who eagerly announced her participation on social media.

“We have reason to hope,” she said. “We universally agree that reading is a healthy and recommendable activity.

“It opens the way for us to know each other and read each other without borders.”

And an event like Frankfurt, Vallejo said, is “an invitation to be more cosmopolitan.”

The speakers at the Frankfurter Buchmesse Madrid’s guest of honor press conference are, from left to right, Antonia Blau, director of the Goethe-Institut Madrid; Daniel Fernandez, President of the Federation of Gremios de Editores de España (the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain); Miquel Iceta, Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports; Juergen Boos, CEO of Frankfurter Buchmesse; author Irene Vallejo; and program curator Elvira Marco. Image: SpainFrankfurt 2022

Learn more about Publishing Perspectives in the Spanish market, learn more about the Frankfurter Buchmesse, and learn more about us about guest of honor programs at global fairs and book fairs.

To learn more about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, click here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is the editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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