Answers to frequently asked questions

Please note that as of October 24th, 2021, Canada’s role as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair has concluded. The information on this and any related pages is no longer being updated and serves only as a record of past activities.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair) is the largest gathering of publishing industry professionals in the world and the most important international marketplace for content. The 73rd edition of the Frankfurter Buchmesse will take place from October 20-24, 2021.

Each year, the Frankfurter Buchmesse features a country as its Guest of Honour, who is given the opportunity to showcase its literature and culture at the Fair, in the city of Frankfurt and other regions in Germany. Throughout the year, Guest of Honour activities and cultural events are also presented, with a wide variety of literary events; art and cultural exhibitions; performing arts presentations; and film programs to promote the talent and diversity of its creators.

For information on previous Guest of Honour countries visit: https://www.buchmesse.de/en/visit/private-visitors/guest-honour/past-guests

Being invited by the Frankfurter Buchmesse to be the Guest of Honour country is a prestigious opportunity to showcase a country’s publishing, cultural and creative industries. It is an event of international significance akin to the World Expo and the Olympics for literature. On the international publishing stage, no other event offers a comparable level of visibility and impact.

For Canada, it is an opportunity to increase published works rights sales and to enhance the discoverability of Canadian creative works in the European market and internationally.

In light of COVID-19 global pandemic, the Frankfurter Buchmesse extended Canada’s Guest of Honour presence to 2021. This extension provides Canadian authors, illustrators and creators the opportunity to reschedule, resume or present virtually Guest of Honour literary and cultural events that were canceled, postponed, or modified in Germany due to COVID-19.

Throughout 2021, Canada continues to showcase its publishing industry and promote the sale of Canadian titles in the European market. Canadian cultural events also continue to proceed on the international scene. Canada’s support for our creators and their international ventures also aids the global recovery of creative industries as a whole.

Canada’s Guest of Honour virtual content from 2020 is available online on Canada FBM2021’s video library as well as on its YouTube channel. Canada’s 2021 Guest of Honour virtual content will also be added and made available for viewing.

The project is the result of collaboration between Canadian Heritage and over 40 project partners including the Canadian publishing industry, Global Affairs Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, National Film Board of Canada, CBC/Radio-Canada and several national museums as well as provincial and territorial governments, and other key stakeholders.

On 6 October 2016, the Government of Canada signed a contract committing itself to Canada’s participation as the Guest of Honour (GoH) at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020. Canada FBM2020 was then established as an entity in collaboration with the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) and the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) to manage, in French and English, the role and involvement of the Canadian book publishing industry at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Canada’s plans as GoH were impacted. On July 7th, 2020 the Government of Canada and the Frankfurter Buchmesse announced the official postponement of Canada’s Guest of Honour role to 2021. Canada FBM2021 receives financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage and strategic oversight from an independent Board of Directors and works with key partners in government and the industry to deliver the major elements of the Guest of Honour program.

The entity is a member of the Frankfurt 2021 steering committee, which oversees the GoH project, and includes representatives of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Global Affairs Canada, the Embassy of Canada to Germany, and Telefilm Canada. Canada FBM2021 is an entity that uses both official languages to represent English, French, and Indigenous members of the publishing industry from across Canada. For more information on the role of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the other federal partners involved in the Guest of Honour project, please visit the Frankfurt Bookfair 2021 page on the Government of Canada website.

The Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) piloted a program that supported the translation of Canadian works into German. The program has been closed since the spring of 2020 and Canada FBM2021 is grateful for the CCA’s support in this project that benefited the Canadian publishing industry’s development in Germany. For more information, please follow this link or contact Chris Toner, Program Officer at the CCA:  chris.toner@conseildesarts.ca.

Please note that the Incentive for Purchasing Translation Rights and for Publishing in German launched by the Canada Council for the Arts ended in the spring of 2020. The CCA has updated its website indicating that over 100 titles have benefited from this program. For more information, please follow this link or contact Chris Toner, Program Officer at the CCA:  chris.toner@conseildesarts.ca.

In collaboration with an external literary committee, Canada FBM2020 put a call out to the industry by which Canadian publishers and literary agents could pitch authors and illustrators who have been translated into German and those who meet the main criteria, including:

  • The author or illustrator has a German commercial partner for their work.
  • The author or illustrator has a recent German release. This is an important consideration for German publishers and programmers, whose interest is in engaging the German public with new work.
  • The author or illustrator not been translated but they are notable through reputation or their subject matter is of interest in Germany.

Please note that this participation period is now closed.

The authors and illustrators of the literary delegation were selected by an external committee responsible for literary programming. The Literary Programming Committee was selected through a public call for proposals. They reported to the Literary Programming Sub-Committee that was overseen by Canada FBM2021’s Board of Directors.

The criteria by which authors and illustrators were selected for the literary program are as follows:

  • The author or illustrator must have a German commercial partner for their work;
  • The author or illustrator must have recently released a book in German. This is an important aspect for German publishers and programmers, who are interested in introducing new works to their audiences;
  • If the author or illustrator has not yet been translated, they must have a reputation or work with topics which are of interest to the German public.

The official literary delegation was published on the website of Canada FBM2021 in March 2020.

Since its inception, Canada FBM2021 has established a guiding principle of equity in the representation of Indigenous, Francophone, and Anglophone peoples in an inclusive manner that best reflects the diversity of literary genres, cultures, and languages that make up the country. The Literary Programming Committee who was tasked with selecting the members of the official literary delegation followed the principles and criteria set out by Canada FBM2021’s Board of Directors, in close collaboration with the federal government.

See the Literary Guiding Principles for complete details.

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