Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frankfurt Book Fair 2011

I visited the Frankfurt Book Fair again this year. (I live in Frankfurt close to the fairgrounds.) It is a huge rights fair with over 7000 exhibitors from more than 100 countries. It is a business fair, a working fair, and is only open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

The fair is a great way to easily see a publisher's list by looking at their booth. The fair always reminds me how critical a cover is--I can tell from the covers about the type of books a publisher publishes, especially when I see 50 to 200 book covers next to each other. Also this year there were more movie size posters of book covers on booth walls, as well as more booths with interactive screens and other electronic items.
 I love seeing all the children's books from Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and from every country in Europe. By viewing these, I get the pulse of worldwide children's publishing and a feel for the trends in different parts of the world.

One of my favorite parts about the fair is seeing some of my friends' books displayed.

A few highlights from my fair visit:

Finding a friend's recently released book, My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson. Her book was announced this week as a finalist for the National Book Award!
(A great interview with Debby was just posted on Uma Krishnaswami's blog, Writing with a Broken Tusk.)

Tara Books booth. This is one of my very favorite booths to visit each year. They have published some of my favorite picture books.

Running into the President of Iceland at the Iceland's special country booth--Iceland is the country guest of honor this year. I was reminiscing about my years in Iceland, and I recognized him when he brushed past me. (We'd met at an event at his house when I lived in Iceland.)

Meeting someone from Bhutan! A publisher, Kuensel, from Bhutan, had a booth at the fair. It was Bhutan's first time to the Frankfurt fair. It was interesting to talk with this man about publishing in Bhutan and about his country. Many of the books were dual language English-Dzongkha. It's a beautiful script. (He didn't have any children's books with him, but they publish them.)

I took the time to attend one of the fair's numerous events: a discussion and reading about translating poetry for children.  It was a delight to hear poems in the different languages as well as the lively discussion about the opportunities and challenges of translating.

At the end of the day I went to the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award announcement of their 2012 nominated candidates. It's the largest literature prize for children's literature. They discussed Shaun Tan's work--he won the prize this year--and showed a great powerpoint presentation that showed his work, including a drawing from his childhood. Next they talked about the prize (and how the person or institution is chosen) and handed out the announcement. There are 184 candidates from 66 countries this year.

No comments: