Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 BookFest Gala: Atwood, Follett, Lunde, Shafak, Whitehead

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Capping this year’s BookFest events at Frankfurt will be an evening of presentations featuring Margaret Atwood, Maja Lunde, Elif Shafak, Colson Whitehead, and Ken Follett.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
At Messe Frankfurt’s Congress Center
On the “Frankfurt Saturday,” October 19, at the Frankfurter Buchmesse this year, the BookFest program will be highlighted by a staged presentation of high-profile authors presenting their new works and discussing the role of literature in current affairs and societal debate.

Margaret Atwood, Maja Lunde, Elif Shafak, Colson Whitehead, and Ken Follett are being announced today (August 26) as headliners for the evening set for 7 p.m. at the Messe Frankfurt’s Congress Center.

BookFest is the fair’s public-facing program of events set in many parts of the metropolitan Frankfurt area and, on the book fair’s campus in the Frankfurt Pavilion as well as the Congress Center. In its second year, the festival is again staging readings, concerts, parties and performances that help generate a festival outreach to the population of Frankfurt.

In the Saturday evening gala:

  • Canada’s Atwood is to present The Testaments, which of course is her 15-years-later continuation of her The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been given new life (and story) by the Hulu adaptation from Bruce Miller, headed for a fourth season in 2020. In Germany, the new book is to be released on September 10 from Berlin Verlag.
  • From Guest of Honor Norway, Maja Lunde—author of The End of the Ocean and The History of Bees—is scheduled to give the audience a preview of Die Letzten ihrer Art (The Last of Their Kind), which is to be published in November.  The new book is out October 21 from btb Verlag.
  • London-based Turkish writer Elif Shafak is to discuss her latest release, Outrageous Voices, published in May in Germany by Kein & Aber as Unerhörte Stimmen.
  • The American author Colson Whitehead, a National Book Award and Pulitzer winner for his  The Underground Railroad, is to discuss The Nickel Boys, which was released in June by Carl Hanser Verlag.
  • Ken Follett’s role in the gala setting is to introduce to the audience his “Friendship Tour,” a journey through Europe scheduled for November in which he’ll be joined by authors Jojo Moyes, Kate Mosse, and Lee Child in taking a stand at tour stops against Brexit.

Ticketing for this event (€24.50, or US$27.25) is available here.

The German cover

As Publishing Perspectives reported in June, the BookFest program is also presenting Guest of Honor Norway’s Jo Nesbø in a standalone evening on Frankfurt Thursday (October 17), moderated by hr2 host Alf Mentzer. During the show, a former star of the German television crime series Tatort, Oliver Mommsen, will deliver a reading from the German edition of the book, Messer (Knife), which is scheduled for release Tuesday (August 27) from Ullstein Buchverlag in a translation by Günther Frauenlob.

The 15-page full listing of BookFest events this year begins here and can be filtered by price, location, language, category, time, and date.

Those interested in seeing Nesbø will find tickets on sale (€24.50, or US$27.25) here. And venues in the city of Frankfurt hosting Bookfest events include:

  • 25hours Hotel Frankfurt
  • Amp
  • Büchergilde, Neues Café Wacker
  • Club Michel
  • Das Herz von Frankfurt
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  • Der Tatzelwurm, East Grape
  • Festsaal der Senckenberggesellschaft im Jügelhaus
  • fffriedrich
  • Frankfurt Airport VIP-Services
  • MyZeil Foodtopia
  • Frankfurter Hof
  • Frankfurter Salon
  • Gibson
  • Hotel Moxy
  • Kriminalmuseum
  • Kunstverein Familie Montez
  • Living Hotels
  • MAGGI Kochstudio
  • Mediacampus Frankfurt
  • Oper Frankfurt
  • Orfeos Erben
  • Palmengarten
  • Plan J, St
  • Katharinenkirche
  • Sendesaal im Hessischen Rundfunk
  • Taverna Omikron
  • Thalia im Tituscorso
  • The English Theatre
  • Tumult
  • Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt
  • Vitra
  • Walden
  • Whiskey Spirits
  • Yachtclub

Sponsoring partners include Stern Crime, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurt Airport VIP-Services, Galore, hr2-Kultur, Hugendubel, MyZeil, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Vitra.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more on Guest of Honor Norway and its publishing industry is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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