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15/10/2018
Catalan literature returns to the Frankfurt Book Fair
Catalan literature returns to the Frankfurt Book Fair

Catalan literature will be represented at the Frankfurt Book Fair with its own stand and numerous representatives from the publishing industry, the Department of Culture, the Institut Ramon Llull, Barcelona City Council, the Publishers’ Guild of Catalonia, the Catalan Publishers’ Association (with the support of the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies, ICEC), and the Government of the Balearic Islands.

The Catalan stand’s slogan this year is ‘Reading and Public Space’. The stand will visually reproduce the gothic arches of the Library of Catalonia and the interior of a library, with shelves full of books and armchairs in which to sit and relax.

The publishing houses present on the stand will be: 9 Grup Editorial, Bromera, Flamboyant, Grup 62, Norma, Pagès, Zahorí Books, Amat, Animallibres, Bambú, Barcanova, Centre Pastoral Lit., Coco Books, Comanegra, Combel, Eleftheria, Eumo, La Galera, Marcombo-Sentir, Plataforma and RM.

On Thursday, 11th October at 4.30 in the afternoon, the director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Iolanda Batallé, on behalf of the minister of Culture Laura Borràs, and the president of the Catalan Publishers’ Association, Montserrat Ayats, have invited the publishing industry representatives present in Frankfurt to the Catalan stand (C-44. Hall 5.1), to toast the industry’s good health with a glass of cava.

A new activity will take place at 12 noon on Friday, 12th in the room EXTRAKT (Hall 3.C) of the fair: ‘Match Making Non-Fiction meeting’. This gathering is the second joint initiative organized by the four European cultural institutes, NORLA, FILI, Letterenfonds and the IRL, for the purpose of promoting European literary non-fiction internationally. This collaboration began a few months ago with a collective catalogue addressed to the Chinese market that was presented during the last Beijing Book Fair. Raig Verd and Quaderns Crema will be taking part as the Catalan representatives. The activity is intended to reaffirm and create new synergies between the Catalan book industry and the international professionals that are invited to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

This year, the following team from the IRL will be attending the Frankfurt Book Fair: the director, Iolanda Batallé; the director of the area of Literature and Thought, Izaskun Arretxe; the IRL’s delegate in Berlin, Sílvia González; and the officers in the area of Literature Gemma Gil, Julià Florit and Carles Navarrete. The entire IRL team has arranged more than 180 meetings with international publishers and agents.

Catalan literature’s role at Frankfurt as the guest of honour in 2007, 11 years ago, was a turning point because of the increase in the number of translations of authors writing in Catalan into other languages, and the international visibility of the Catalan publishing industry, but also for the recognition of Catalan culture abroad.

The next international event for Catalan culture will be the participation of Barcelona as the city invited to the 2019 Buenos Aires International Book Fair. The 45th edition of the Buenos Aires fair will be held from 23rd April to 12th May. It is the most important fair in the Spanish-speaking world and every year it attracts more than a million visitors. Barcelona will take to Buenos Aires a minimum of 35 authors in Spanish and Catalan. The programme features established authors such as the poet Joan Margarit; the scriptwriter of the well-known television series Merlí, Héctor Lozano, and new voices in today’s literature. One of the main events of the programme will be the performance by the singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz on ‘Noche de la feria’.

The translation of works has notably increased in recent years and Catalan literature has achieved the full integration of its authors in the international publishing industry: it is now represented in 44 languages and 48 countries, besides a large increase in major languages like English. The Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) has contributed to this increase with subsidies for translation and promotion, for illustrated books, presence at book fairs, support for translators, and cooperation with Catalan publishers and literary agencies.

For 16 years now the Institut Ramon Llull has been working on the creation of a network of contacts with the international publishing industry (publishers, translators, literary agents, cultural institutions, fairs, festivals), with the aim of facilitating the promotion abroad of the work of authors writing in Catalan. In order to improve and increase this, the IRL takes part every year in the most important trade fairs in the world. During 2018 the IRL has been present at the following literary fairs: Paris Salon du Livre, London Book Fair, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Warsaw Book Fair, Beijing Book Fair, FIL de Guadajalara and Più Libri, Più Liberi.

The participation of the Department of Culture at the Frankfurt Book Fair falls within the line of actions that are carried out in order to promote Catalan literature and the book industry. With this aim in mind, the Department of Culture, through the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies and its international promotional brand, Catalan Arts - Books, regularly attends the most important professional events in the book industry, such as the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Guadalajara International Book Fair (Mexico), the Bologna Children’s and Young Adult Book Fair (Italy), and this year also the London Book Fair (UK).

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