21-octubre-2021 – The Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, presented this morning in a press conference the project Spain Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2022, stressing the “Spilling Creativity” of Spain. “Our creativity crosses borders and knows no boundaries, even idiomatic ones”, he pointed out, emphasizing the “vitality and the commitment with innovation”.
The General Director of Books and Reading Promotion, María José Gálvez, the Commissioner of the project, Elvira Marco, and the President of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos, also took part in the event.
Iceta highlighted the importance of Frankfurt’s Book Fair, the tight cultural ties between Spain and Germany, and the great opportunity and challenge that means for the country being Guest of Honour in 2022, 31 years after the previous participation.
The Minister pointed out Spain’s plurality and diversity in both the linguistic and cultural terrain. “Over 20% of the 74.000 books published in our country last year, were written in Catalan, Galician or Basque, according to industry data”
He also underscored “the role of Spanish as a bridge between Europe and Latin America”, and emphasized the fact that it is spoken by almost 600 million people in the whole planet, and that it is the second language in the world ranking regarding the number of speakers.
Accordingly, he underlined “the commitment of the Ministry of Culture and Sport in promoting translation, in order to spread our authors’ work throughout the world”.
Commitment to digitalization
He also referred to the commitment to digitalization and innovation “to achieve the book’s sustainability”. This is one of the pillars on which the project Spain Guest of Honour is based.
On his part, the president of the Fair, Juergen Boos stressed “the tradition, vitality and creativity” of Spanish literature and culture and underlined the value of the different languages, thanks to “the significant effort in translation”, and the creative expressions that Spain will present in its programme as Guest of Honour 2022.
In this sense The General Director of Books and Reading Promotion, María José Gálvez highlighted the “extraodinary opportunity” for the Spanish book industry being Guest of Honour “building an international network for publishers and agents while promoting authors and literature”.
The Commissioner of the project, Elvira Marco, also underlined that being Guest of Honour will enable “to show Spain’s cultural diversity” and build long-term relationships between Spanish and German institutions.
Marco mentioned the effort employed in translating Spanish works, in order to raise awareness “on the way Spanish authors think and dream about the world”. As she stated, investment aimed at translation has increased 30% since 2019, supporting the translation of all official languages in Spain.
The project Spain Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2022 is led by the Ministry of Culture and Sport through the General Direction of Books and Reading Promotion, together with Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and the Spanish Association of Publishers Guilds.
Talk between authors
After the press conference, a discussion took place between Radio Nacional de España journalist Laura Barrachina, and the authors Elvira Lindo, Karmele Jaio, Najat El Hachmi and Rosa Montero. During the talk, the importance of this event for the Spanish literature was highlighted. Lindo, author of Manolito Gafotas and awarded with the National Prize for Children’s and Youth Literature in Spain in 1998 underlined “the chances of crossing borders and tightening ties between an international community of readers”, made possible by the Fair.
El Hachmi winner of Nadal Prize’s last edition with her novel El lunes nos querrán, also stated the fact that we are faced with a unique opportunity to “disclose to the world a country with a rich and abundant literature, diverse in its expressions and rooted in strong traditions, but open to the contemporary world”.
For her part, Jaio, whose novel Aitaren etxea was awarded with the Euskadi Literature Prize, emphasized the need of “making Basque literature and that written by women visible in the world”.
The event closed with a poetry reading by Mario Obrero. This Madrid poet, winner of XIV Félix Grande Young Poetry Prize in 2018, recited his poem His Ancestors, which is part of his poetry book Peachtree City (Visor, 2021), which was awarded with the XXXIII Loewe Young Poets Prize. This is a personal and renewing vision, written between Getafe (Madrid) and the United States, under Federico García Lorca’s shadow.
Next Sunday, October 24th Spain will take over from Canada as the next Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2022. Juergen Boos will be chairing the ceremony, in which the representative of the Canadian Organizing Committee, Caroline Fortin, will hand over the GuestScroll to General Director of Books and Reading Promotion, María José Gálvez.
Finally, Spanish Brass quintet, National Music Prize 2020, will close the event performing a repertoire of pieces composed by Isaac Albéniz and Joan Manuel Serrat, among others.