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Joint Decision of Canada, Spain, Slovenia and Italy to postpone their GoH Presentations at Frankfurter Buchmesse

Canada, this year's Guest of Honour, asked Frankfurter Buchmesse and all future GoH Countries to postpone their GoH presentations for one year in light of changed conditions due to Covid-19 pandemic. In solidarity with Canada the countries have reached an agreement, which means Slovenia will be GoH in Frankfurt in 2023 and at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2022.

Originally planned for 2020, Canada’s presentation as Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse (14-18 October 2020) has been postponed until 2021 due to the changed conditions caused by COVID-19. The committee organising Canada’s role as Guest of Honour, under the auspices of the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, reached an agreement with Frankfurter Buchmesse and subsequent Guest of Honour countries to delay its physical appearance by one year.

The countries scheduled to be the Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse in subsequent years – Spain, Slovenia and Italy – agreed to postpone their own presentations by one year to accommodate Canada’s move to 2021. Following this shift, Slovenia will be the Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse in 2023.

For 2020, Canadian Heritage and their partners are preparing a virtual presence to give Canadian authors and publishers a strong presence at the digital Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Juergen Boos, Director of Frankfurter Buchmesse

“We would like to thank the Guest of Honour committees, publishers associations and the authorities in Spain, Slovenia and Italy who, out of solidarity with Canada, have agreed to postpone their appearances in Frankfurt for another year in order that Canada will have the best possible opportunity to present its literature and culture at Frankfurter Buchmesse in October 2021. At the same time, we are looking forward to all the digital activities which will be presented by our Canadian partners during the 2020 Frankfurter Buchmesse. This year has presented us all with major challenges, and we’ve seen the international book community come together in response. This cooperation between Frankfurter Buchmesse’s confirmed Guest of Honour countries is just one of many examples.”

Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office

“Year after year, the Guests of Honour are a distinctive feature of Frankfurter Buchmesse and invite people to enter into a dialogue with the world. This makes the book fair an outstanding example of international cultural cooperation. By agreeing to postpone their respective appearances as Guest of Honour by one year, Canada, Spain, Slovenia and Italy are showing precisely the kind of solidarity that is needed during the current crisis.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“With today’s announcement, Canada can now take full advantage of the countless benefits that come with being a Guest of Honour country at the Frankfurter Buchmesse. We would like to thank Spain, Slovenia and Italy for agreeing to adjust their own Guest of Honour plans to accommodate our request, as well as the Frankfurter Buchmesse for their help in facilitating these plans. Our 2020 virtual programming will be a taste of what’s to come with the full suite of programming planned for 2021, and we look forward to showing the world what’s in store this October!”

H.E. Stéphane Dion, Ambassador of Canada to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe

"I am very grateful that, in response to the current pandemic and in collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair, we have reached an agreement with our Spanish, Slovenian and Italian friends to postpone our respective presence as Guest of Honour by one year. Canada will gladly participate in the 2020 Fair with a strong virtual presence and will be more ready than ever to be a great Guest of Honour in 2021. At the Frankfurt Book Fair and throughout Germany, the singular stories of Canadian authors, illustrators and artists from all disciplines will represent in a vibrant manner Canada’s plurality of voices. Our presence as Guest of Honour will not only result in increased business ties, but also in a greater knowledge of Canada’s literary and artistic landscapes, for the pleasure of all those who, from Germany and around the world, will seize the opportunity to get to know our works and our creators better.”

Caroline Fortin, President of Canada FBM2020

“Canada FBM2020 is pleased to postpone being Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair to 2021, and we will be pleased to work with our partners to support all the initiatives that will help promote our authors and illustrators, in order to ensure the sale of Canadian titles in Germany and around the world.”

José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, Minister of Culture and Sport of the Government of Spain

“In these extraordinary times, we are sure that the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s agreement to postpone our presence in Frankfurt as Guest of Honour Country until 2022, will both create a better opportunity for the Spanish book sector and will increase international cooperation and solidarity (together with Slovenia and Italy) that will ensure that the publishing industry stay stronger after the pandemic. After consulting with the Spanish publishers and authors about this decision we truly believe that this resolution will allow us a bigger success in 2022”.

Dr. Vasko Simoniti, Minister of Culture, Slovenia

“After careful and thorough consideration, we have decided to postpone Slovenia’s title of Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair from 2022 to 2023, as proposed by President and CEO of Frankfurt Book Fair Juergen Boos. As we are aware of the significance of the event for Slovenian literature and general recognisability of our country, we will do our utmost to carry it out. Although the postponement will certainly require some accommodations, we believe that the spirit of cooperation and mutual support will help us through the hard times the world is going through due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are glad that we have been able to coordinate our views with those of the administration of the Frankfurt Book Fair and other countries and believe that we will be able to successfully carry out the event in 2023.”

Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Italy

“Our consent to postpone Italy’s participation as Guest of Honour by one year, from 2023 to 2024, was a hard choice to be made. We agreed to the proposal by the Frankfurt Book Fair in a spirit of solidarity towards Canada and of mutual support with Spain and Slovenia, which will precede Italy in 2022 and 2023, forming a unique “Trio” of European countries as Guests of Honour to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Italy will participate in this year’s edition, which will be much different than originally imagined because of the pandemic, but which will be nonetheless a defining moment for the European cultural scene taking place at the same time as the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Thanks to the opportunities provided by digital platforms, the Frankfurt Book Fair will be once again this year the world capital of ideas. And during an age of upheaval as ours, all world cultures must speak the same language: that of humanity.”


The dates of Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021-2024:

20-24 October 2021: Frankfurter Buchmesse – Guest of Honour Canada

19-23 October 2022: Frankfurter Buchmesse – Guest of Honour Spain

18-22 October 2023: Frankfurter Buchmesse – Guest of Honour Slovenia

16-20 October 2024: Frankfurter Buchmesse – Guest of Honour Italy



How will the postponement affect the Slovenian presentation?

Slovenian Book Agency, the organiser of the Slovenian presentation, both in Frankfurt and in Bologna, will continue with its preparations as planned. The Bologna Children's Book Fair has been cancelled this year due to Covid-19 pandemic, which means Slovenia will be GoH in 2022 instead of 2021. This way the continuity of the Slovenian GoH appearances will be preserved: 2022 in Bologna and 2023 in Frankfurt.

Regarding these recent changes the director of the Slovenian Book Agency, Renata Zamida, said:

»A consensus has been reached between the countries, which is based on solidarity and mutual understanding. This is a special year for all of us, and none is better of than the other. We believe that the implementation of Slovenia's GoH programme and activities at the FMB will be visible and feasible in 2023 as well as they would have been a year earlier and have confidence in our government to assure suitable funding adjustments. We are also happy that the Slovenian GoH appearance at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2022 will remain a bridge to Frankfurt 2023.«


Further information:

Anja Kovač, project Frankfurt 2023: anja.kovac(at)jakrs.si, 00 386 1 230 05 75

Katja Stergar, project Bologna 2022: katja.stergar(at)jakrs.si, 00386 1 369 58 27