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Frankfurt Book Fair 2012 dominated by New Zealand and comics

Frankfurt Book Fair 2012

This year’s long-awaited Frankfurt Book Fair finally began today. Between 10 and 14 October, 7,000 international exhibitors will showcase their works. The event gives publishers, booksellers, agents and film producers the opportunity to be part of something new, develop, foster their contacts and reshape the literary and media world. There is plenty on offer for members of the public too: along with new book releases, there will be musical performances, lectures, culinary delights and 3,200 seminars on a range of topics.

The Guest of Honour is always a special highlight, and this year is no exception. The choice for 2012 fell on New Zealand. Over the next five days, the country will present authors, stories, exhibitions, music and dance under the motto ‘He moemoēa he ohorere/While you were sleeping’. Designed by the architects Patterson Associates, the impressive New Zealand Pavilion will be the focus of a great deal of attention. In addition to 68 Kiwi book titles, it will host lectures and discussions about various aspects of life in New Zealand. The pavilion will whisk visitors away to explore Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud, as New Zealand is known by its natives.

There is also a focus on comics this year. They have a greater cross-media reach than any other literary genre, combining art, pop and literature. Comics are virtually unique in the way they oscillate between so many different media: from films and games to apps, comics are highly versatile and are experiencing a new heyday thanks to digitalisation. Particular attention is being paid to graphic novels, a subcategory of comics. The growing number of exhibitions and graphic novels being borrowed from libraries suggests that these are far more than just comics. Back in his day, legendary comic writer Will Eisner made it quite clear that one of his graphic novels was to be viewed as literature. This is precisely what makes graphic novels different: the plots are more sophisticated and are aimed at more adult readers. Many graphic novels also differ from standard comics in that they are presented as self-enclosed stories, like novels, instead of appearing in regular instalments.

All in all, the Frankfurt Book Fair is worth a visit this year, as always. We at Textklinik are already looking forward to discovering the enchanting range of literary and cultural delights on offer over the next few days.

Image source: © Frankfurter Buchmesse/Fernando Baptista