“A festival such as exists nowhere else in the world”:
285,000 visitors celebrate the book and its makers
The book and media industry is undergoing rapid change. “In Leipzig, however, the 285,000 visitors to the Leipzig Book Fair 2017 and the Leipzig liest reading festival once again demonstrated just how vibrant readers’ interest is in books and those who make books,” explains Martin Buhl-Wagner, Managing Director of Leipziger Messe.
At total of 2,493 exhibitors from 43 countries presented their new publications at the Leipzig Book Fair, the 23rd Leipzig Antiquarian Book Fair and the 4th Manga-Comic-Con from 23 to 26 March. Of the 285,000 visitors who attended, 208,000 came to the Leipzig exhibition centre alone. “As a trade and consumer fair, in 2017 the Leipzig Book Fair once again provided valuable momentum in disseminating literature for publishers, book dealers, authors, editors, translators, bloggers or readers,” says Oliver Zille, Director of the Leipzig Book Fair, summing up. “At the same time, the Leipzig Book Fair was more political than ever before.”
Adding his comment to this assessment, Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, says: “The book industry actively helps to shape a democratic, open society as the publishing houses, authors and readers at this year’s Leipzig Book Fair have clearly shown. Apart from the many new publications, engagement for freedom of speech, tolerance and pluralism was the subject of many debates and talks. At the same time, the industry directed a clear appeal to politicians to strengthen copyright law and freedom of publication when they make planned changes to the law in the area of education and science.”
Lithuania: Inspiring literary encounters
Lithuania, which was the focus of the Leipzig Book Fair 2017, was one of the countries that offered compelling political debates. The public used the presentation of this country – with 60 events and around 100 players from the worlds of literature and culture – to inform themselves about this Baltic nation, its rich literary and cultural landscapes and its political development. Lithuania presented 26 new publications and a diverse cultural programme with graphic and literary art, music and literature.
Aušrinė Žilinskienė, Director of the Lithuanian Cultural Institute is delighted: “Lithuania’s appearance in Leipzig was a great success. We were overwhelmed by the many visitors to our stand and the Lithuanian literary and side events were also very well attended. Our authors were gratified by the high level of attention and the many inspiring encounters. We would like to extend our sincere thanks for the enthusiasm with which Lithuania has been received and welcomed to Leipzig – and not only at the Leipzig exhibition centre: people also talked to us about Lithuania in Leipzig city centre, even on the trams. Cosplayers dressed in Lithuania’s colours came to our stand, and Leipzig restaurants surprised diners by putting Lithuanian specialities on their menus. We would also like to say a very big thank you to our partners and sponsors and, in particular, to the fantastic Leipzig Book Fair team.”
Europa21: Positive messages and confident attitude
Europa21, the programme focus of the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Leipzig Book Fair, created a space for intensive dialogue about Europe in the exhibition halls themselves. Hundreds of visitors listened to six debates about the future shaping of Europe and provided input as to how coexistence in Europe might look, from their viewpoints. “I was particularly pleased by how much enthusiasm there is for Europe, despite all the criticism, and what a remarkably great desire there is for direct participation in shaping democracy within Europe,” explains Esra Küçük, curator of this year’s program focus. “People are once again yearning for positive messages and a confident attitude.” Attitude was also demanded in a playful way by Idil Nuna Baydar aka Jilet Ayse in her opening performance “E-U-R-O-P-E, we have to talk!”. The interactive theatre evening “FUCK YOU, Eu.ro.Pe! / Fuck you Moldova!” looked in from the outside – from Moldova to Europe.
Formal inauguration: Standing up for European values
The speakers at the formal inauguration at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig also avowed their commitment to Europe: Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania; Stanislaw Tillich, Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony; Burkhard Jung, Mayor of the City of Leipzig; Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association; award presenter Dr. Leyla Dakhli and the winner of the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding 2017, urged listeners to stand up for shared European values and to engage in a more proactive, more nuanced and more appreciative way with Europe and its neighbours.
A close-up experience of literature: Leipzig liest with 3,400 events
Reading in every conceivable and even some inconceivable places – Europe’s biggest reading festival, Leipzig liest, traditionally stands for reading experiences of a very special kind. More than 3,300 players performed at the Leipzig Book Fair 2017 on a total of 571 stages at the Leipzig exhibition centre and throughout the city. The highlights of this year’s Leipzig liest programme included the sell-out Big Leipzig liest Evening with Martin Suter, Jostein Gaarder and Thomas Brussig at the KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig, attended by 1,000 guests. In 2017, a total of 3,400 events took place in a wide range of venues including a table-dancing bar, a dog grooming salon, and an optician’s shop.
“I was thrilled by the well-read and curious public who were interested not only in the content of the books, but also in their shape and design. Hall 3 was a particular pleasure: the production of publishing houses, the university stands at which one could see next-generation book production, all the way through to the high-quality items on display at the Antiquarian Book Fair – it was a festival for readers such as exists nowhere else in the world,” says well-known book producer and curator, Gerhard Steidl, who presented the photo exhibition “Paper Dreams” at the Leipzig Book Fair.
Leipzig Book Fair 2017 Award: Three beaming winners
The winners of the Leipzig Book Fair 2017 Award have been chosen: at the formal awards ceremony in the Glashalle, Natasha Wodin, Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger and Eva Lüdi Kong were honoured in the categories of Fiction, Non-Fiction/Essays and Translation. The expert jury chaired by Kristina Maidt-Zinke had previously chosen 15 nominees from a total of 365 submitted works from 106 publishing houses. This year was already the 13th time that the Leipzig Book Fair Award, which comes with a prize of 60,000 euros, has been presented.
Manga Comic Con: 105,000 visitors filled Hall 1 with life
Four days of the Manga-Comic-Con 2017 meant four days of exhaustive rummaging through the latest publications, big autograph sessions, exciting series at the anime cinema and interesting trade events. The highlights of what was already the 4th edition of the MCC included visits from guests of honour Yusei Matsui, Kyoko Kumagai, Mike Deodato, Michael Witwer and Scott Koblish, as well as the MCC Creative area with a total of 130 artists, and performances by anime and pop singer, Desi. The cosplayers’ imaginative outfits and unique costumes turned the Leipzig Book Fair into a colourful book spring. The traditional cosplay competition on the Saturday of the fair, with over 50 participants, once again proved to be a terrific stage highlight this year.
The next Leipzig Book Fair, 24th Leipzig Antiquarian Book Fair and the 5th Manga-Comic-Con will take place from 15 – 18 March 2018.
About the Leipzig Book Fair
The Leipzig Book Fair is the most important spring gathering of the book and media industry and sees itself as a show for readers, authors and publishing houses. It presents the first publications of the year, the latest themes and trends, and shows both German-language literature by young writers as well as new publications from Central and Eastern Europe. Thanks to the unique connection between the Book Fair and “Leipzig liest” – Europe’s biggest reading festival – the Book Fair has become a magnet for the public. In conjunction with the Leipzig Book Fair, the Manga-Comic-Con (MCC) is being staged in Hall 1, parallel to which the 23rd Leipzig Antiquarian Book Fair is taking place.
About Leipziger Messe
Leipziger Messe is one of the ten leading trade fair companies in Germany and numbers among the Top 50 worldwide It stages events in Leipzig and in various locations elsewhere in Germany and abroad. With five subsidiaries and the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL), as a comprehensive service provider Leipziger Messe covers all links in the event business chain. Thanks to this portfolio, in 2016 customers and visitors voted Leipziger Messe the Service Champion of the trade fair industry in Germany’s biggest service ranking, for the third time in a row. The Leipzig trade fair centre takes in an exhibition area of 111,900 m² and has open-air grounds of 70,000 m². Around 280 events – trade fairs, exhibitions, conventions and functions – are staged here every year, with up to 12,000 exhibitors and over 1.2 million visitors from all over the world. Leipziger Messe was the first German trade fair company to be certified to Green Globe Standard Sustainability is one of the guiding principles for Leipziger Messe’s business activities. In 2017 Leipziger Messe celebrated the 100th anniversary of its trademark. The double-M is one of the oldest trade fair brands in the world and recalls the sample fairs that were developed in Leipzig and which still form the basis of trade fairs today.
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