Bärbel Becker’s Frankfurt Event Picks: International Publishing

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Bärbel Becker’s selection of events at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, ranging from rights presentations to book prize ceremonies and introductions to international literature.

Bärbel Becker speaks at Frankfurter Buchmesse Image: FBM

By Hannah Johnson | @hannahsjohnson

See our complete guide to Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020 here. It has our latest stories, event highlights, our free digital magazine, and more.

Noteworthy Sessions in and Around the Trade Show
Publishing Perspectives has asked several publishing industry experts to take on the challenging task of narrowing down the vast number of noteworthy sessions in the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair’s calendar of events and to recommend a selection of events to you.

Despite the fact that most Frankfurt events are taking place online this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still thousands of interesting, informative, and inspiring events being presented during the Frankfurt Book Fair week by companies and organizations in many parts of the world.

Below are the event selections from Bärbel Becker, an expert in international publishing and previously the director of international projects at the Frankfurt Book Fair. See her complete bio here.

Abrams Adult Webinar
  • When: October 12 at 4 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Abrams
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “I recommend this not least because Frankfurt Fellow Yulia Borodyanskaya (VP, Subsidiary Rights and Export Sales) — once a Fellow always a Fellow — and her colleague Talia Behrend-Wilcox venture into a new format of rights selling,  and I am sure they do a good job. I will also look into their Comic Arts Webinar and their session on Children’s on 10/13.”
German Book Prize Award Ceremony
  • When: October 12 at 6 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Deutscher Buchpreis
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “This is my personal highlight and unfortunately only for those who understand enough German to follow the award ceremony. This year’s short list features some debut novels — among them Frankfurt-born Deniz Ohde’s Streulicht and some familiar works such as Serpentinen by Bov Bjerg, whose book Auerhaus was turned into a film in 2019.”
Opening of the Slovenian Virtual Stand
  • When: October 14 at 12 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Slovenian Book Agency
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “Slovenia is one of the runners up to be guest of honor at Frankfurt in the future. I am curious how our friends at the Slovenian Book Agency will realize their virtual stand.”
Cambridge University Press: Our Environmental Journey
  • When: October 14 at 2 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Cambridge University Press
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “It is worth while to hear about the experience of the publishing house of one of the oldest universities to become carbon neutral and how they responsibly manage resources and waste. I recommend highly because the issue concerns us all.”
The Rights Pharmacy
  • When: October 14 at 4:30 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: RightsZone
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “UK rights consultants of RightsZone, Clare Hodder and Ruth Tellis, offer some hands on Q&A sessions for rights managers.”
IPA Prix Voltaire 2020 – Guerilla Publishing and International Support
  • When: October 15 at 1:30 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: International Publishers Association
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “The IPA honors Liberal Publishing House, Vietnam. With Pham Doan Trang (founder of the underground publisher) and Will Nguyen. I think it is very important to support publishers and authors in danger, who have been arrested or who are not not able to publish freely. It is also important for rights people to know the inner workings of a market like Vietnam.”
Gallimard Fall 2020 Rights List
  • When: October 15 at 3 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Gallimard
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “Virtually meet Judith Rosenkranz, the rights director of French publisher Gallimard and in the team with Anne-Solange Noble, who has been an advisor to the Frankfurt Rights Meeting for many years. Rosenkranz presents a selection of the Gallimard Rights list.”
Selection of New Voices from Spanish literature
  • When: October 15 at 4 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Spain in Frankfurt 2022
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “Spain will be guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2022, and so it is not too early for editors and publishers to explore what the current literary market in Spain has to offer. There are also sessions on Challenges for the book sector, a live panel on Women Writing (10/14 at 16:05), and Contemporary Spanish Poetry.”
Award Giving Ceremony of the DAM Architectural Book Award
  • When: October 16 at 5 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM)
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “For architecture book lovers worldwide, the award is the widely acclaimed annual prize for architecture books chosen by a jury of Deutsches Archjtekturmuseum in Frankfurt. All awarded books will be on show at the museum.”
German Youth Literature Prize 2020 Award Ceremony
  • When: October 16 at 5:30 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur e. V.
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “Livestream of the awarding of the German Youth Literature Prize 2020, with English translation. Discover the titles — German and in translation — and the reasons why they were chosen for this famous prize which aims at making kids stronger and recommending quality books. All awarded books in seven categories are highlighted in each and every German bookstore where they are sold.”
Conversation with Margaret Atwood
  • When: October 17  More information
  • Organizer: Canada Guest of Honor 2020/2021
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “My highlight towards the end of virtual Frankfurt is the outstanding Canadian author Margaret Atwood in an exclusive 60-minute interview.”
Can Interdisciplinary Thinking Save Our Planet?
  • When: October 17 at 1 p.m. CEST / More information
  • Organizer: Springer Nature Group
  • Why Becker recommends this event: “Can interdisciplinary thinking save our planet? I would say yes — the coronavirus crisis shows us that many disciplines have to work together to deal with the pandemic. One of the most urgent problems of our time discussed by Springer Nature with some of their finest authors on climate change.”

Bärbel Becker. Image: Nurettin Cicek

Bärbel Becker has an MA in American studies and English (Frankfurt and Wellesley College).

She has for many years coordinated the international activities of Frankfurt Book Fair, including the German collective exhibits and Guest of Honor presentations at international book fairs such as Bologna, Guadalajara, Moscow, Rio, Warsaw, and Taipei, as well as seminars and special programs for book professionals. Starting in 2008, she worked as director of international projects at Frankfurt Book Fair.

She recently retired.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

And from international industry trends to curated guides to the many online events during this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, our digital magazine offers you the information you need to make the most of the fair and the rest of 2020. 

Download your free copy now.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson

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Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.

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