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Book Fair goes digital

Reading girl Illustration: © Tobias Schrank

What does “being a woman” mean, how can we live sustainably and what's new in literature? This year, the Frankfurt Book Fair is presenting an array of topics in digital form. Here you can find a list of lectures and discussions, that we have put together: Ranging from topics of “cultures of equality”, “prize-winning literature”, “Europe” and “sustainability”.  

Cultures of Equality

Africa and Europe – How can cooperation succeed? 

At the Weltempfang, the Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, the expert in international law and linguist Dr. Gerd Henkel, the historian and scholar of African studies Prof. Andreas Eckert and the former president of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies Prof. em. Robert Kappel will discuss the dynamics and opportunities in the relationship between Africa and Europe.  

16 October at 7 p.m. / German, English
>> Click here for the event

Race, sex and colonialism – a topical debate beyond European borders

The Moroccan-French author Leïla Slimani, the French philosopher Elsa Dorlin and the culture journalist Regina Keil-Sagawe will be discussing the present-day societies on the intersection of race and sex.

16 October at 8:30 p.m. / German, English
>> Click here for the event

Mely Kiyak: “Frausein”

Mely Kiyak talks about her new book Frausein, in which she asks herself what femininity actually means when you overcome the public gaze. Moderation: René Aguigah.

14. October at 11:00 a.m. / German
>> Click here for the event

JJ Bola: “Sei kein Mann”

The author and social worker JJ Bola talks about masculinity and literature and how boys suffer under dominant ideas what it means to be masculine. Moderation: Daniel Fiedler  

14 October at 4:20 p.m. / German
>> Click here for the event

Max Czollek: “Gegenwartsbewältigung”

After the bestseller Desintegriert euch!,Max Czollek presents another highly political essay called Gegenwartsbewältigung. He calls for a radically diverse society as a response to the crises of the present. On the Blaues Sofa he talks to René Aguigah.

14 October at 12:20 p.m. / German
>> click here for the event

Black Stories – A filmic essay by curator Dr. Mahret Ifeoma Kupka

After the violent deaths of people like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the discussion about structural racism has received broad attention in Germany. Mahret Ifeoma Kupka looks at this topical matter and focuses on the narrated world – literature.

14 October at 1 p.m.
>> click here for the event

prize-winning literature

Winner of the Aspekte-Literaturpreis

The aspekte-Literaturpreis, which is awarded by the ZDF, has annually been honouring the best German-language prose debuts since 1979. The 2020 winner will be announced on the 15th of October on the Blaues Sofa and interviewed by Daniel Fiedler

The following five novels have been nominated this year:

  • Cihan Acar: Hawaii
  • Verena Keßler: Die Gespenster von Demmin  
  • Deniz Ohde: Streulicht
  • Ronya Othmann: Die Sommer  
  • Olivia Wenzel: 1000 Serpentinen Angst 

15 October at 10 p.m.
 >> Click here for the event

Winner of the german book prize

Since 2005, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association's Foundation for Book Culture and Reading Promotion has been awarding the German-language “Novel of the Year” with the German Book Prize, right at the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair, in order to attract attention to German-language authors beyond national borders. This year's winner will take a seat on the Blaues Sofa. Moderation: Dorothea Westphal

On the shortlist this year:

  • Bov Bjerg: Serpentinen  
  • Dorothee Elmiger: Aus der Zuckerfabrik  
  • Thomas Hettche: Herzfaden 
  • Deniz Ohde: Streulicht  
  • Anne Weber: Annette, ein Heldinnenepos  
  • Christine Wunnicke: Die Dame mit der bemalten Hand 

16 October at 11:20 p.m.
 >> click here for the event

Swiss Book Prize: The three finalists

The Swiss Book Prize is awarded annually to the best prosaic or essayistic German-language work by a Swiss author or an author,who has lived in Switzerland for at least two years. Before the award ceremony, the three finalists Dorothee Elmiger, Tom Kummer and Charles Lewinsky will have a chat during the Blaue Stunde. Moderation: Nina Brunner.

16 October at 4 p.m.
 >> click here for the event


Discourse Is Still Possible in Europe – How we want to talk to each other

The so-called cancel culture, political opinions that are formed in social networks and the visibility of minorities – these are the topics discussed at the Weltempfang by philosophy professor Prof. Marie-Luisa Frick, the chairperson of the German Society for Transsexuals and Intersexuals Petra Weitzel, the psychologist from the project for democratic participation Marina Weisband and the chairperson of the Association of German Writers Lena Falkenhagen.  

14 October at 7 p.m. / German, English
>> click here for the event

Europe, Languages and Justice – Gendering in a European context

At the Weltempfang, writer Nina George, publisher Karen Nölle, musician and author Thomas Meinecke will talk with moderator Mithu Sanyal about literature, gender and queer texts.  

15 October at 8:30 p.m. / German, English
>> Click here for the event

Together! Restarting culture in Europe, from remembrance towards a shared history

At the Weltempfang, the writers Francesca Melandri and Nora Bossong, the Director for Cultural Relations Policy Irmgard Maria Fellner and journalist Tonia Mastrobuoni will discuss the culture of remembrance of German and Italian colonial history.  

14 October at 8:30 p.m. / German, English
>> click here for the event

So, What’s Taking Them So Long? The EU accession process of the Western Balkan countries

Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth, Member of the North Macedonian Government Robert Alagjozovski and history professor Dubravka Stojanović will participate in a panel on the rapprochement between the European Union and the Western Balkans and on issues related to the accession processes. Moderation: Adelheid Wölfl 

15 October at 5:30 p.m. / German, English
 >> Click here for the event


FIGHTERS! – Live sustainably?!

On the ARD Buchmessenbühne, the three authors JanaBraumüller, Nina Lorenzen and Kathrin Hartmann talk about fair fashion, greenwashing and deceptive packaging and point out those who are slowing down the fight against the climate crisis.  

18 October at 2 p.m. / German
>> Click here for the event

Speak up! for Climate 

Together with the Sustainable Development Goals programme of the UN, Signals of Hope from the Book Fair are organising a Poetry Slam about the global challenge of the climate crisis.

17 October at 1 p.m.
>> Click here for the Event

„Die Klimaschmutzlobby“: The climate pollution lobby 

In an interview with Sebastian Puschner, business editor of the weekly paper "Der Freitag", Susanne Götze and Annika Joeres discuss why European climate protection policy is progressing so slowly – and the connection to climate change sceptics and lobbyists.

17 October at 5 p.m. / German
>> Click here for the event