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Showcasing Irish literature at The Frankfurt Book Fair

Dee Collins, Head of Books, and Carina McNally PR at the Mercier Stand

Showcasing Irish literature at The Frankfurt Book Fair

by Carina McNally

The Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest trade fair for the publishing industry in the world, returned October 19–23, with two and a half days dedicated to professional events for publishers and literary agents, and two days for the general public.

Literature Ireland piloted the delivery of the Irish presence, the fair providing an important opportunity for the Irish publishing industry to promote titles, negotiate deals, sell and buy book rights both in English and foreign language territories and secure key distribution deals.

More than 4,000 exhibitors from 85 countries registered. Amongst them, Ireland’s national stand showcased both new and established Irish literature.

Focus on translation

According to Frankfurt Book Fair director Juergen Boos “while many publishers have adapted to doing business digitally, people seem to need to be in Frankfurt to meet face-to-face.”  

The focus of this year’s fair was the topic of translation. “It is the only way for words to make their way out into the world and is the basis for the rights and licensing business and for understanding between cultures,” Boos notes.

There was no livestreaming of events as in the past two years. Amongst the authors and publishers, TikTok hosted its own stage in the Agora, and the Frankfurt Audio area featured international audiobook companies such as Beat Technology, Bookwire, and Spotify.

Dee Collins, Mercier’s Head of Books discusses finer details with Mercier director John Spillane and Irish language author Micheál Ó Conghaile. Micheál represented Galway publishing company Cló Iar-Chonnacht. 

Books from Spain

The guest of honor country was Spain, who attended with a group of some 200 writers, translators, illustrators, publishers, literary agents, booksellers and distributors.  

The online translation portal, Books from Spain was launched to coincide with the guest of honor program and featured 100 Spanish publishers, each promoting five titles to be translated.

The result is that between 2019 and the start of this year’s fair, more than 400 titles have been translated into German from Spanish. 

Literature Ireland

Literature Ireland brings Irish literature in the best possible literary translations to readers around the world. It awards translation grants to publishers by hosting literary translators in Ireland, as well as representing Irish writers at international events, book fairs and festivals. 

Since its foundation in 1995, Literature Ireland has supported the translation of over 2,000 works of Irish literature into 56 languages around the world.