Yukon writers gear-up for Frankfurt Book Fair

With over 280,000 visitors and 1,000 authors, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the largest book fair in the world and an important event for international trade deals, with over 7 000 exhibitors from 100 nations, according to the fair website. It is also a place for arts and culture. In 2020 Canada will be guest of honour and a group of Yukon writers have already started working on being part of this event.

This year Canada already made literary news in Frankfurt with Margaret Atwood winning the German Booksellers’ Peace Prize at the Fair, which took place October 10 to 14.

The year 2020 seems far away, but the Yukon Writers Collective Ink made first moves towards this event. Under the lead of the late Jessica Simon, they put together a list of questions and information. Simon got in touch with executive director of Canada’s presence at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, Gillian Fizet. She works for Livres Canada, a publisher´s umbrella organization for promoting international export of Canadian books. She represented Livres Canada at this year’s book fair.

Author Lily Gontard took over the lead of the planning for 2020. Gontard says that it is important to get at least one book by a Yukon author into the translation program for 2020, sponsored by the Canadian Government. Approximately 200 Canadian books will be chosen to be translated into German for the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair. This way Canadian authors can get their books into the German speaking market.

“Yukon writers need to talk to their publishers and agents to get into this program,” Gillian Fizet said, while talking about 2020 at the in Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

“German publishers decide which books they want to have translated for 2020,” she added. Yukoners can influence their publishers to apply for the translation-program to get their book added to the book fair in 2020.

The planing just began, Fizet says. Livres Canada will hire an Art-Director to organize content for the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Sophie Tremblay-Morisette, arts manager of Yukon Government, also sees a huge opportunity in 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair. “It is important for Yukon to be a part of this, to ensure representation of our unique heritage and to support our writers and artists. Canada’s North is home to people with tremendous spirit and we want to add our voices to this collaboration,” she said.

“Yukon has a particularly close connection with German speaking Europe, including Frankfurt, and we are glad to be part of Canada’s programming for this event.”

The pavilion for the guest of honour at the book fair in Frankfurt is 2,300 square meters big. This year France was guest of honour and their slogan was: “Frankfort en Francais,” with the main focus on the French language.

Gillian Fizet said that they will come up with a logo and slogan in spring of 2018 and then they will start planning content for the five-day-program at the pavilion in 2020. Her main focus is on including all of Canada at the event.

“The Government of Yukon is actively involved with Canada 2020 to ensure our presence in this endeavour and keep Yukon as part of the conversation,” Sophie Tremblay-Morisette said.

Yukon Writers Collective Ink held their first planning meeting earlier this month to talk about the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair. The next meeting is not yet scheduled, but anticipated for early 2018. For more information about the collective and their initiative to be involved with the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair go to YukonInk.WordPress.com, or contact collective member member Joanna Lilley at [email protected]

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