Canadian Authors and Illustrators Shine as the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair Begins
FRANKFURT: All eyes are on Canada as our country takes centre stage at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair. The fair, which holds its opening ceremony today in Germany, is featuring Canada as the Guest of Honour country. Each year, the world’s largest book fair is held in Frankfurt and offers a featured country the prestigious role of Guest of Honour to showcase its publishing industry and promote the sale of publishing rights for a wide range of books to readers from around the world.
Canada’s Guest of Honour presence, which centres around the theme “Singular Plurality,” includes several highlights that showcase Canadian literary talent, arts, culture and landscapes. The theme captures Canada’s diversity and culture, where each of us is unique but connected by our shared values. A delegation of 58 authors and illustrators have participated in events and activities since 2019, when Canada became Guest of Honour. Eight are attending in person this year: Michael Crummey, Michel Jean, Dany Laferrière, Catherine Mavrikakis, Paul Seesequasis, Vivek Shraya, Kim Thúy and Nancy Vo. The delegation will take part in five in-person author panels. Virtual programming including the authors and illustrators was produced in collaboration with CBC/Radio-Canada especially for the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair on the following topics:
Leading Ladies of Canadian Literature
Poetry on the Mainstage
Preserving and Protecting Languages and Culture
The Canadian Audacity of Children’s Literature
A dedicated Canada Pavilion highlighting Canadian publishing industry authors and creators is the cornerstone of Canada’s physical presence at the fair. The pavilion represents Canada’s diverse environments, which influence the passion and creativity of the artists, writers and illustrators at the heart of the country’s rich cultures and literature.
Additionally, for the first time in the history of the Frankfurt Book Fair, a Guest of Honour country will be offering a virtual pavilion for participants who are unable to join the event in person. The virtual pavilion will be available online at CanadaFBM2021.com and will offer visitors experiences that showcase Canadian literature and culture.
The official opening ceremony is hosted by Juergen Boos, Frankfurter Buchmesse President and CEO, and Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Chair of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. Canada is represented at the event by Her Excellency Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada. During the event, remarks will also be delivered by Canadian authors, including Margaret Atwood (virtual participation), Joséphine Bacon (virtual participation) and Vivek Shraya. The ceremony also includes a live performance from Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds that will be livestreamed on the Frankfurter Buchmesse website.
The dedicated event “Canada Night at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair” will also occur on October 20. Canada will showcase an evening of author talks and cultural performances. With the Governor General in attendance, the event will include performances by singer-songwriter Iskwe, world champion hoop dancer Dallas Arcand, Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds, and musician and visual artist Vivek Shraya. The centrepiece of the night features three discussions among some of Canada’s top authors:
Paul Seesequasis and Michel Jean join moderator Ruther Stäblein to discuss “Preserving and Protecting Languages and Cultures – an Indigenous Perspective.”
Catherine Mavrikakis and Michael Crummey join moderator Angela Spizig to discuss “Mapping Canada and Beyond.”
Margaret Atwood (virtually) and Kim Thúy join for a discussion on Canadian literature, women’s literature and their respective paths.
Canada is proud to share its creativity on this world stage and is excited for the new trade opportunities that this exposure will offer to Canadian creators.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in challenging times for creative industries, Canada’s Guest of Honour program will shine a light on Canadian creators in new markets, resulting in more exposure during this important economic recovery phase.