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Literary on Frankfurter Buchmesse

The Frankfurt Book Fair (or Frankfurter Buchmesse) is the largest and most important event for the book, media and copyright industries in the world. It takes place every October at Messe Frankfurt. They are attended by publishers from around the world, booksellers, film producers, illustrators and prominent writers.

This year, the group of authors included the Nobel Prize winner, Olga Tokarczuk, who said during a press conference: “I believe in literature that unites people and emphasizes what they have in common.”

One of the key topics during the fair was digital media, challenges and opportunities. Our attention was directed to the German start-up Qualifiction, which analyzes the content of books in German before the title is even published. We talked with Gesa Schöning and Ralf Winkler about algorithms, artificial intelligence, differences and similarities between the Polish and German book markets. Qualifiction organized a competition called “The Bestseller of Tomorrow”, to which German writers submitted their novels, and algorithms indicated the texts that have the best chance of becoming bestsellers.
246 authors took part in the competition. At the fair in Frankfurt, four debut novels were awarded, which will be published next year by the Kirschbuch-Verlag publishing house.

The winners are: Clara Blais for the novel for young people “Everything We Could Become”, Elisabeth Rettelbach for the psychedelic novel “Wonderful Cold”, Yvonne A. Kienesberger for “A thousand and one tomorrow” and Birgit Schlieper for the humorous road story “Mareika, Marta and men. ”

Undoubtedly, the Norwegian pavilion enjoyed the greatest attention of the fair audience, as it was Norway that was the special guest of this year’s edition of the fair. A beautifully arranged space, evoking the correlation of literature and nature. A huge hall with visualizations that create the effect of entering the forest. On loosely spaced tables, books, but not only … On one of the tops – small metal salt shakers, and in them, instead of spices, trapped aromas. Strange, intriguing, frightening and remaining both in memory and on the tongue: the smell of cards, wet asphalt, fear, death, a baby in the womb … A controversial idea, but memorable.

Norway is the country that invests a large part of its income in education and culture, and even the royal family is heavily involved in promoting reading. Norway has one of the most accessible library and sales systems that enables a wide variety of publishers and book distributors, both large and niche, to function well in the market.
The 71st Frankfurt Book Fair ended with a record number of visitors: 302,267 people! This is 6.0% more than last year. This year’s event was attended by 7,450 exhibitors from 104 countries.
Diversity, sustainable development and political commitment were the main topics of the fair. It was visible both in the stands, such as in Lebanon, calling for respect for human rights in this country, and in the events (march to defend freedom of speech in Turkey).

Canada will be the guest of honor at next year’s fair.


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