Tom Tivnan selects some of the highlights from the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016's events programme.
1. C.e.o. Talk with Jacob Dalborg
19th October, 14.00
Hall 4.2, Room Dimension
A global publishing big-wig fielding questions from industry journalists (The Bookseller’s Philip Jones is on the panel this year) has become one of Frankfurt’s key annual events. Jacob Dalborg, c.e.o. of Swedish giant Bonnier Books, is in the hot seat at FBF 2016. There will be much to discuss from the company’s dominant position across Scandinavia, digital developments, globalisation and Bonnier’s recent international expansion and growth, particularly in the UK and Germany.
You might also like: “C.e.o. Talk with Massimo Turchetta and Claude de Saint Vincent”, 20th October, 14.00, Hall 4.0 Business Club Stage: the heads of Italy’s Rizzoli Libri and France’s Média Participations in conversation.
2. Hot Topic: Richard Charkin on “The Freedom to Publish”
19th October, 10.30
Hall 6.0, E11
Censorship crackdowns this year in recent FBF Guest of Honour territories Indonesia and Turkey - and ongoing concerns about 2008 GOH China - underscore how threatened freedom of expression is in many parts of the world. Bloomsbury executive director and International Publishers Association president Richard Charkin will tackle the issue in what promises to be a lively debate - the IPA’s controversial decision in the past year to allow the Publishers Association of China into its general assembly and to grant full membership to Saudi Arabia may come up.
You might also like: “Communication and the Internet”. 21st October, 15.00, Hall 3.1 L25. Author Timothy Garton Ash discusses whether the internet helps, or reduces, the “fundamental European value” of freedom of speech.
3. The Markets Conference
18th October, 9.30
Hall 4.0, Business Club
The pre-FBF opener will look at the trends and state of the industry in key book territories: 2016 joint Guest of Honour Flanders and the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Poland, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates and dear old Blighty itself. The PA c.e.o. Stephen Lotinga will speak on the state of the UK trade, while UK “market players” participating include Gardners commercial director Bob Jackson, Unbound chief operating officer Jason Cooper and Bibliocloud chief executive officer Emma Barnes.
You might also like: “Business Breakfast with Georgian Publishers”, 20th October, 9.00, Hall 4.1, D36. Networking session with key book industry insiders from Georgia, the 2018 FBF Guest of Honour.
4. Young Talent: Emma Smith on Trends in Popular Culture
19th October, 15.30
Hall 6.0 E11
Emma Smith, editor at new Orion imprint Trapexe, was The Bookseller 2016 Shooting Star - the member of our Rising Stars singled out for a little more praise than others on the list. Described by an Orion colleague as a “pop culture powerhouse” with an “innate ability to spot trends”, she will talk about commissioning and a changing non-fiction landscape.
You might also like: “FBF Fellows Present My Hero in Publishing: Christopher MacLehose”, 19th October, 15.00, Hall 4.0, Business Club Stage. Darja Marinšek, a translator and editor at Slovenia’s largest publisher, Mladinska knjiga, interviews her personal publishing hero, MacLehose Press founder Christopher MacLehose.
5. Arts+ Conference
19th October, 9.00
Dechema, Max Buchner Saal
The Arts+ full day event may be new for 2016 but it jibes with previous FBF conferences like StoryDrive in that it attempts to deal with how publishing intersects with other fields. This time out - as the name suggests - the focus will be on art, architecture and how illustrated publishers in particular can exploit new opportunities, especially in the digital sphere. David Hockney (who just happens to have a major Taschen limited edition monograph coming out) will appear not only at the conference, but open the entire fair with a press conference on Tuesday.
Don’t miss: “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It”, 19th October, 11.45, Max Buchner Saal. Journalist Jeff Jarvis and Annie Luo of the World Economic Forum discuss the future of intellectual property.
6. Juergen Boos talks to Gaby Wood
Hall 6.0 E11
The Man Booker Prize and FBF have not always been too joined up - back in 2008 the prize ceremony was held during the fair, a scheduling conflict decried by publishers at time as “a terrible cock-up”. All is changed this year, with several Booker-themed events throughout the course of FBF - undoubtedly driven by the ramped up Booker international award and the opening up of the main prize to English language writers outside the UK and Commonwealth. The main event is FBF boss Juergen Boos talking to Booker literary director Gaby Wood and Wood will later participate in a panel on the influence literary prizes have on the market.
You might also like: “The Man Booker Prize Interview: Graeme Macrae Burnet”, 19th October, 11.00, Reading Tent, Agora. The surprise shortlistee - and former Waterstones bookseller - talks about His Bloody Project (Saraband).
19th to 23rd October
Hall 3.1, L25
No, not a German thrash metal band, but the fair’s more political stream of events. Appropriately enough in a year of an ongoing refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and Brexit, the Weltemgfang theme at FBF 2016 is Europe. It opens on 19th October with a panel including Elif Shafak, the Algerian author Boualem Sansal and Franco-German Green Party heavy-hitter Daniel Cohn-Bendit discussing “Europe and Islam”. While many of the events are consumer-facing, several have a trade focus including Freight Books m.d. Adrian Searle and Literature Ireland director Sinéad Mac Aodha part of a panel tackling issues around the European Union Prize for Literature (21st October, 16.00).
Don’t miss: “Hell and Fragments: Europe and the Experience of War”, 20th October, 12.00, Hall 3.1, L25. Historian Ian Kershaw is among the panelists looking at how lessons from the First and Second World Wars can be used for today’s European flashpoints.
8. European and International Booksellers Federation Conference
20th October, 10.00
Hall 5.1, Tulip Lounge
The prominent theme in the EIBF annual event is booksellers and trade body bosses talking about the innovations and highlights of the past year, and how initiatives in their country can be adapted to other territories. Booksellers Association c.e.o. Tim Godfray and Mainstreet Trading Company owner and BA president Rosamund de la Hey will fly the flag for Britain.
You might also like: “Without Readers We’d Be Nothing!”, 21st October, 12.00, Hall 4.0, Business Club Stage. A panel of booksellers, gamers and publishers (including Pan Macmillan’s digital and communications director Sara Lloyd) discuss young people and reading.
9. Enhancing Through Diversity
19th October, 17.00
Hall 6.0, E11
A trio from the British book trade - HarperCollins’ director of people John Athanasiou, Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder of indie publisher Own It!; and Sharmilla Beezmohun of literary agency Speaking Volumes—will discuss aspects of diversity in the book trade, from underrepresentation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the workforce, to how increased multiculturalism can benefit the trade.
You might also like: “Lean Back and Career: Women in the Digital Age”, 21st October, 13.30, Hall 4.2 C96. A panel of female executives from publishing technology businesses discuss women in managerial roles in digital firms.
10. STM Conference
18th October, 9.30
Westin Grand Hotel
The always well-attended annual meeting for the global trade body of Science, Technical & Medical publishers usually balances hot-button issues with the nitty gritty. The 2016 edition is no exception, with panel discussions on mega journals and new models for Open Access to practical sessions on improving workflows and stopping “link rot” (the breaking down of hyperlinks).
You might also like: “International Convention of University Presses”, 22nd October, 9.30, Hall 4.2, Dimension. Now in its fourth year, the talking shop for university presses will focus on regional co-operation between smaller academic publishers.