Georgian literature, art and culture is taking centre stage at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s leading literary event, through authors, publishers and artists who are set to present their work and meet audiences in the German city over the next five days.
With the official status of the Guest of Honour of this year’s fair, the Georgian representation brings 70 authors from the country to the international event where over 250,000 visitors are expected to attend around 4,000 events.
With high-profile visitors like German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier set to attend the fair, the event’s opening was also marked by an address delivered by the Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze at the Frankfurt City Hall earlier today.
Bakhtadze said he was confident the representation of Georgia at the fair would “give a fresh boost” to Georgia, contributing to the development of publishing industry in the country and increasing foreign interest in Georgian literature.
The publishing and authors from the Guest of Honour country will be showcased at the Georgian Pavilion space at the fairgrounds, unveiled earlier today.
Its set-up reflects the theme of the Georgian showcase — the 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet, which serve to introduce various sides of the country’s literature, art and culture.
Titled Georgia — Made by Characters, the theme has found its visual expression in the design of the pavilion, with curved shapes of the letters outlining the space.
The pavilion is also flanked by three stands for introducing the latest and greatest of the Georgian literature to visitors, including separate stands for children’s books and art publications.
A view of the pavilion at the fairgrounds. Photo: Georgia Made by Characters project.
Finally, a special stage has also been set up to host around 80 events, including panel discussions involving Georgian authors alongside publishers from Germany and the Guest of Honour country.
With Aka Morchiladze and Nino Kharatishvili selected as the two opening speakers from the country, the Guest of Honour programme organisers have opted to feature writers known to the German audience.
Morchiladze has been recognised by readers through his translated works including The Journey to Karabakh, while Kharatishvili has been awarded German literary prizes, with her latest novel The Cat and the General shortlisted for the German Book Prize.
Along with author appearances, the pavilion will also present Georgian titles translated to various languages, with 200 publishing houses from nearly 40 countries presenting the books.
"There are a lot of roads that leads to Georgia... nature, food and probably wine. However, I think Georgian culture is nevertheless the shortest road." (Nino Haratischwili) Keyspeaker unseres Auftritts als Ehrengast der @buchmesse Nino Haratischwili, darüber, was diese Präsenz für sie und die georgische Literatur und Kultur bedeutet. #georgiancharacters #fbm18 #buchmesse #georgien #literatur #ninoharatischwili #booksaboutgeorgia #bookstagram #Autoren #Autorinnen #lesen #Frankfurt #georgia #georgiamadebycharacters #igreads
Cultural venues of Frankfurt will also display their exhibits highlighting Georgia, including a copy of a skull of the Dmanisi early hominids discovered in Georgia in the early 1990s, from the collections of the Senckenberg Museum.
Simone Bühler, Head of the Guest of Honour programme, told the fair website Georgia would “have a presence almost everywhere at the fair”, featuring in fairground sections dedicated to education and science along with literature.
[I]n the coming months, Georgia will be incredibly present not only at the book fair, but in Frankfurt as well: The Georgian culture programme includes no less than 16 exhibitions, offering the public unique access to Georgia and its rich art and culture scene and current affairs”, Bühler said in the interview.
These events in the city will encompass film screenings and contemporary electronic music shows by resident artists from Tbilisi’s internationally renowned club Bassiani.
Theatre troupes from Georgia have also taken to stage in Frankfurt during the pre-fair days, with the Shota Rustaveli and Marjanishvili state drama theatres performing at the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in the city.
Georgia was handed over the Guest of Honour status by France at the conclusion of the 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair.
Since then authors, cultural institutions and artists from the country have been involved in events and showcases introducing the Georgian art and culture to audiences throughout German-speaking countries, in the run-up to the fair.