Frankfurt Book Fair Welcomes Brazil
For those Brazilians who love books and Germany, now is the time to jump on a plane to Frankfurt. The Frankfurt Book Fair is the biggest book and media fair in the world with approximately 7500 exhibitors from over 110 countries. To highlight the international flavor of the book fair, one country is honored each year, and this year that honor goes to Brazil.
The Book Fair runs from October 9 to 13, and Brazil has sent 70 of its authors and 164 publishers to the event. “We want to show that we understand the international market and can sell our titles,” said Karine Pansa, president of the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL), adding that the German book market has a big following around the world.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed Brazil’s Vice-President Michel Temer to the Frankfurt Book Fair as the 65th annual literature festival honored Brazil.
Until now, Brazil hasn’t been seen as an exporter of literature, but things are changing. By the year 2020, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture is set to invest 77 million reais ($35 million) in domestic authors. The public funds are earmarked for scholarships for translators and authors, as well as exchange programs and Brazil’s participation at international book fairs like Frankfurt.
The Brazilian government has invested about 17 million reais ($8 million) this year in the Book Fair’s accompanying cultural programs, including numerous theater and music events, as well as dance and video projects. At 2,500 square meters (8,200 square feet), the Brazilian pavilion in the Frankfurt Book Fair is nearly nine times bigger than that of last year’s guest of honor, New Zealand.
“Frankfurt is the launch of the campaign,” said Karine. Even publishers are drumming up attention: For the project “Brazilian Publishers” 53 Brazilian publishers with the Brazilian Book Chamber partnered with Apex, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency.
The last time Brazil was the guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair was 1994. At that time, the South American rising star was still considered largely unknown at the international book fair. The country presented its traditionally successful authors like Jorge Amado, Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro, and Machado de Assis. Twenty years later, Brazil has transformed itself from literary outsider to writers’ treasure trove.
“This time Brazil is presenting itself as more contemporary and more global,” said Antonio Martinelli, Brazilian curator of the Frankfurt Book Fair. “We purposefully avoided exotic clichés.” Translator Michael Kegler is hoping for a big celebration. “Brazil has become more international,” he said.
More than 20 authors will personally present their works on stage in Frankfurt. Until the end of the year, 92 Brazilian authors will act as literary ambassadors for their country as they travel around Germany visiting book fairs and events, generating interest for their new work.
Brazilian author Luiz Ruffato highlighted the fact that millions of people in Brazil do not have access to the staples of a developed economy. “We are still a country where housing, education, health, and recreation are not the right of all, but the right of the few,” he said.
Karine Pansa said she hopes that Brazil’s presence at the Book Fair helps grant Brazilian literature and culture a long-term place on the German market. “One of the biggest mistakes of 1994 was that after the book fair, the government pulled support from the program that helps promote translations,” said Karine. “There were no more public bids. But this is precisely what makes your presence at a book fair successful,” she added.
Brazil appears to have learned from its mistakes. In the past two years, 311 translating scholarships were granted, more than double the number between 1990 and 2011. Since 2011, most Brazilian authors in the German market have been translated with the support of 63 scholarships.
For more information on the Frankfurt Book Fair, visit:
[This information was gathered from the Deutsche Welle and Euro News websites and was edited by CIE.]