Energy and CommunityDespite lower numbers of exhibitors and visitors to Frankfurter Buchmesse than in previous years, the mood in the halls is optimistic. In keeping with Publishing Perspectives‘ tradition of bringing you photos from many parts of the fair, we’ve gathered some impressions from the first days of Frankfurt 2021 as people return to their stands and to in-person meetings.
Remembering the Hessischer Hof
The Hotel Hessischer Hof stands silent now, a victim of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. It closed at the end of 2020 when the Messe Frankfurt complex itself was quiet. This year’s Frankfurt is the first without the hotel’s glowing presence.
As many in the industry know, the hotel’s first-floor ballroom was the venue for Hachette’s opening party for decades, while Jimmy’s piano bar in the basement saw special receptions for authors, events in which they could meet their international publishers.
The downstairs lobby and bar, with its sofas and intimate tables, was a mini-Messe in its own right. It was at its best in that hour before dinner when you might see publisher Ivan Nabokov (cousin of Vladimir) with Christopher MacLehose of Harvill, the translator Carol Janeway with Knopf’s Sonny Mehta—both no longer with us—the agent Georgina Capel with Weidenfeld’s Alan Samson, the eponymous publisher Antoine Gallimard chatting with Faber & Faber’s Stephen Page.
Now the hotel’s famous staircase stands empty. It looks forlorn without its distinguished queue of agents and editors waiting for the hotel’s smartly dressed staff to summon taxis.
The hotel is only a building of course, and that staircase is only a staircase, but for many both hold memories, and it’s good to mark their place in publishing history. —Roger Tagholm
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.