(17 – 20 March 2016) Leipzig, 20 March 2016
Final report Read, listen, communicate with one another:
260.000 visitors at the Leipzig Book Fair
Between 17 and 20 March, 260.000 visitors (2015: 251.000), 195.000 (2015: 186.000) of which on the Leipzig fairgrounds, celebrated the word in all its varieties in Leipzig. Overall 2.250 exhibitors from 42 countries (2015: 2.263 from 42 countries) presented a sea of words, images and sounds at the Leipzig Book Fair, the Manga-Comic-Con and the reading festival “Leipzig liest” (Leipzig reads). Authors, illustrators and musicians invited the audience to join them in 3.200 events at 410 locations on the fairgrounds and in the Leipzig City centre to meet and exchange ideas. The Leipzig Book Fair presented itself with a strong professional program as the most important springtime meeting place for the business. “Books and their makers as guiding media were in higher demand than ever. Readers and listeners sought and found facts, analysis and experiences as well as opinions on the current public debates, particularly regarding immigration and integration,” says Martin Buhl-Wagner, president and CEO of the Leipziger Messe (Leipzig Trade Fair). Book Fair director Oliver Zille adds: “Free speech cannot be taken for granted, place of birth is a coincidence and the often invoked European values are constantly questioned. The Leipzig Book Fair once again proved to be a place for dialogue and a stronghold of freedom of speech.”
Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, explains: “The book sector has sent a strong and a political message from the Leipzig Book Fair into the world: freedom of speech and of the press are necessary conditions for a free and pluralistic society. The conversations at the fair stands showed this as well: apart from the presentation of the diverse spring program, the discussions focused on freedom of speech as a human right, perspectives on immigration and the book sector’s task to be a platform for discussion.”
Europe and its values were at the focus right from the start with the presentation of the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding 2016 at the opening of the Leipzig Book Fair. Historian Heinrich August Winkler was presented with the award for his epochal work “Die Geschichte des Westens” (“The History of the West”). Saxony’s state Premier Stanislaw Tillich and Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung spoke on the occasion of the opening. Both expressed their concern about rising xenophobia and propensity to violence within German society and called for a peaceful discourse. Premier Tillich called on everyone’s individual responsibility and urged that it was time to take a stand against those trampling on European values. With their cooperation “For word and freedom”, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and the Leipzig Book Fair also called upon the guests of the opening ceremony to take a stand for freedom of speech.
25 years “Leipzig reads”:
“This could not be done in any other city in Germany”
25 years ago the reading festival “Leipzig reads” took place for the first time. It started as an initiative of the Club Bertelsmann with 80 participants and 160 events. In its anniversary year, “Leipzig reads” presented itself as Europe’s biggest and most diverse reading festival with 3.000 participants in 3.200 events at 410 locations. On the occasion of the anniversary, the Leipzig Book Fair hosted a gala evening in the newly renovated KONGRESSHALLE at the Leipzig Zoo. More than a thousand people listened to the newly awarded laureate of the Leipzig Book Fair Prize, Guntram Vesper, as well as to Clemens Meyer and Christoph Hein. Author Christoph Hein has attended the reading festival since its beginning. His conclusion: “It is a great event both for readers and authors. I am always completely amazed, 100, 150 events every night – and each one is packed. This could not be done in any other city in Germany.”
Europa21: moving stories and debates in times of movement “Did you choose your place of birth?” asked journalist Karim El-Gawhary the audience of the opening event of “Europa21. Thinking tomorrow’s society”, the focus on immigration and integration hosted by the Leipzig Book Fair and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. “The best medicine against indifference and arrogance towards refugees is to remember again and again the coincidence that is one’s place of birth,” he explained. Artists, academics, journalists and civil society participants exchanged facts, analysis, experiences and future scenarios in six international discussion rounds at the Café Europa on the Leipzig fairgrounds. In addition, experts discussed possibilities for living together in Leipzig under the headline “Living together in the past, present and in the future!” in the Neues Rathaus. Fair visitors listened attentively to the stories of six asylum seekers at audio stations in the Glass hall at Magnolienallee, available through the duration of the book fair in the context of Europa21. The brief profiles were produced in cooperation with culture radio MDR FIGARO.
“I am pleased that so many people joined us in our discussions and that our guests successfully opened this space into the European context,” says curator Insa Wilke. “The great interest of the audience and the depth of the discussions show that thinking and speaking so openly is both possible and necessary at this moment. This is encouraging!”
The Robert Bosch Stiftung has promoted practical model projects to strengthen social cohesion and to further integration and participation of refugees for years. An essential part is the support of volunteer work in these
Looking into the future: experts discuss business topics
With its comprehensive professional program, the Leipzig Book Fair once again presented itself as the book sector’s meeting point for publishers, authors and service providers. At the first international “Book Pitch”, authors from Georgia, Slovenia, Romania, Czech Republic as well as Hungary aimed to convince editors in 5-minute slots. Neuland 2.0 took a look into the future of the media sector. 14 young entrepreneurs showed innovative ideas for the book and media sector in the Startup Village. The first “buchmesse:blogger sessions 16” were another new event. At the first conference for literary bloggers on Fair Sunday, bloggers and publishing representatives exchanged ideas on current means of communication.
Teachers and educators discussed relevant topics for education and reading support at the fair’s Education Focus. Practical education approaches were introduced at the first Music Teacher’s day, the German Teacher’s day, the Kita symposium as well as in many workshops.
Leipzig Book Fair Prize for Guntram Vesper, Jürgen Goldstein und Brigitte Döbert Guntram Vesper was visibly surprised when he accepted the Leipzig Book Fair Prize with a simple “Thank you”. He was presented with the coveted literature prize for his work “Frohburg” (Schöffling & Co). Jürgen Goldstein was awarded in the category Non-fiction for “Georg Forster. Zwischen Freiheit und Naturgewalt” (“Georg Forster. Between Freedom and the Force of Nature”) (Matthes & Seitz), Brigitte Döbert was honoured in the category Translation for the work “Die Tutoren” by Bora Ćosić (“The Tutors” by Bora Ćosić) (Schöffling & Co). Regarded as important guides for book fans and professionals alike, overall more than 30 award ceremonies took place within the framework of the Leipzig Book Fair, among others the “Leipziger Lesekompass” (“Leipzig Reading Compass”) or the Kurt Wolff Prize.
The power of images: 96.000 visitors at the Manga-Comic-Con It was a creative festival. 96.000 visitors (2015: 93.000) discovered the world of illustrated stories at the third Manga-Comic-Con. This time, young German illustrators were the focus of the festival. New talents presented a growing and ever more professional scene. Beyond that, visitors were able to discover once again many international stars in Leipzig: among others the Japanese Manga stars Moe Yukimaru and Ken Akamatsu, the Ninja group Hattori Hanzo and the Ninjas, Simpsons illustrator Stephanie Gladden (USA) or the Angry Birds illustrator Audrey Bussi (France).
Guest countries: 2017 Lithuania, 2018 Romania Lithuania presented itself in Hall 4 with great anticipation of the coming year. The Baltic state will be guest country at the Leipzig Book Fair 2017 and first authors already introduced themselves in Leipzig. Fair Friday was international as well: Romanian Minister of Culture Vlad Alexandrescu met Leipzig Trade Fair CEOs Martin Buhl-Wagner and Markus Geisenberger to sign the country’s contract as guest country 2018.
The Leipzig Book Fair 2017 will take place from 23 to 26 March.
About the Leipzig Book Fair
The Leipzig Book Fair is the most important spring meeting place of the book and media sector and is a fair for readers, authors and publishing companies. It presents the new spring publications, current topics and trends and apart from young German language literature also shows novelties from Central and Eastern Europe. Through the unique combination of fair and “Leipzig liest” - the largest European reading festival, the book fair has developed into a magnet for the public. Since 2014, the Manga-Comic-Con (MCC) has been taking place in Hall 1 in cooperation with the Leipzig Book Fair. The 22nd Leipziger Antiquariatsmesse, a fair for antiquarian books, was held at the same time.
About Leipziger Messe
The Leipziger Messe (Leipzig Trade Fair) is one of Germany’s ten leading trade fair companies and one of the top 50 worldwide. It stages events in Leipzig and in various locations both in Germany and abroad. With its five subsidiaries and the Congress Centre Leipzig (CCL), the Leipziger Messe group offers integrated event expertise that is exemplary for the organization of state-of-the-art trade fairs, conventions and events. Due to this range of services, clients and visitors in 2015 voted the Leipziger Messe once again Service Champion of the trade fair industry in Germany’s biggest service ranking.
The Leipzig trade fair centre covers an exhibition area of 111.900 m² and open-air grounds of 70.000 m². Each year, around 40 trade fairs, 140 conventions, numerous corporate business and other events take place, attended by around 11.500 exhibitors, and 1.1 million visitors from all over the world. Leipzig was the first German trade fair company to be certified to Green Globe standards. Sustainability is one of the guiding principles for the group’s business activities. The Leipziger Messe is one of the oldest trade fair locations worldwide and celebrated the anniversary “850 years Leipzig trade fairs” in 2015.