Spain is guest of honour at the world’s largest book fair in Frankfurt

by Lorraine Williamson
book fair

MADRID – Spain is the guest of honour at the most important book fair in the world, the Frankfurter Buchmesse. On Wednesday 19 October, King Felipe VI officially opened the book fair together with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 

The opening of the book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, marks the end of the three-day state visit to Germany for the Spanish royal couple. It is a visit intended to confirm the deep affection between Spain and Germany, two friendly countries united by their strong commitment to the European project. 

After two years of being weighed down by the corona pandemic, the book fair in Frankfurt am Main has started under largely normal conditions. Furthermore, Spain is the official host country this year. That is why King Felipe VI and his wife Letizia were invited. Spain was the last guest of honour at the Book Fair 31 years ago. The Spanish monarch emphasised that it was a privilege to be here again. 

Pavilion of Honour ‘Sparkling Creativity’ 

Every year the guest of honour of the Book Fair is given 2,000 square metres of space to bring their literary industry to life. Spain is doing this in a versatile and progressive way this year. Under the motto “Sparkling Creativity”, the country presents the full range of its literary work. Moreover, around 100 authors are expected to present their new books in person in Frankfurt and other cities. 

There are microphones in the honorary pavilion that create colourful images from spoken words. Robots writing an infinite poem. A huge screen where the movement of people passing by becomes a living work of art. A printer that makes the written text readable for the blind. Living up to the motto ‘Sparkling Creativity’, Spain wants to prove in the Pavilion of Honor that there is no lack of creativity in the country. 

See also: 2021 was a historically good year for Spanish booksellers 

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“We want to honour the creativity of our authors and everyone who works in the book industry,” explains María José Gálvez. She is the general director for books and reading promotion at the Spanish Ministry of Culture. 

The honorary pavilion as a “place to be” 

The honorary pavilion must be a “place to be”, says project manager Marco. It offers space to linger, but also to socialise and read. The latter comes in the form of a tubular foam sculpture that visitors can sit on. Reading material can be found with a selection of over 600 Spanish books on a long shelf next to it. 

People at the centre 

“It was important to us that people were at the centre of the design,” explains Rocío Pina of the architecture and design firm ENORME in Madrid, which took on the design of the Pavilion of Honour together with the Spanish design teams Vitamin and Twopoints. 

Sustainability was also important. Pina emphasises that all materials used are fully recyclable. 

The Frankfurt Book Fair is expecting 4,000 exhibitors from 95 countries. It will end on Sunday with the presentation of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to the Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan. 

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