Frankfurter Buchmesse Leadership: ‘Great Dismay’ for Ukraine

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‘Frankfurter Buchmesse has maintained close relationships with publishers, authors, and industry-related institutions in Ukraine for many years,’ says Juergen Boos.

Looking at Ukrainian comics and graphic novels at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. Image: FBM

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

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‘Close Relationships’
In commentary provided to the news media including our colleagues at the Börsenblatt this morning (February 24), Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s chief players, led by president and CEO Juergen Boos, have written a group message on the overnight start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“It was with great dismay,” the statement reads, “that colleagues at Frankfurt Book Fair learned of Russia’s attack on Ukraine today. With Kyiv, Lviv, and Kharkiv, the most important book and publishing centers in Ukraine are directly affected. The oldest book fair in Ukraine takes place in Lviv.

“Frankfurter Buchmesse has maintained close relationships with publishers, authors, and industry-related institutions in Ukraine for many years and has participated in numerous trade fairs in recent years, in cooperation with the local Goethe-Institut Ukraine and the Arsenal Book Festival, with the financial support of the federal foreign office, publisher training and specialist programs.

“A summer academy for Ukrainian publishers is also planned for 2022.

Juergen Boos

“Ukrainian publishers are also becoming more and more active in the international book trade, presenting themselves at Frankfurt Book Fair with a modern and attractive stand and an extensive supporting program. In 2019, more than 30 co-exhibitors were represented at the Ukrainian joint stand.

“According to statistics from the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, around 250 translation licenses for translation into Ukrainian of German writings have been issued in the last three years (2018-2020). These figures demonstrate Ukraine’s strong interest in German nonfiction and contemporary literature and in international exchange.

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues in Ukraine. We all hope they survive the attacks unscathed.”

That message is signed by Boos, Vladka Kupska, Dieter Schmidt, Niki Théron, Tobias Voss “on behalf of all colleagues at Frankfurter Buchmesse.”

The Ukrainian Book Market and Frankfurt

A session on Ukrainian literature and publishing supported by Frankfurter Buchmesse at the 2021 Book Arsenal Festival at Kyiv’s Mystetskyi. Image: FBM

Ukraine Book Institute

With the assistance of our colleagues in Frankfurt, we can report that the Ukrainian Book Institute was launched in 2017 as a means to help design and implement state support for the book industry including publishers, libraries, and translators.

Publishing Perspectives readers will remember our coverage of Ukraine’s International Book Space Festival in Dnipro last September, and the Book Arsenal Festival in the capital, Kyiv, last June.

The book fair called the Book Arsenal Festival has been staged each May at the Mystetskyi Arsenal, a cultural center in Kyiv, since 2011. The show draws more than 50,000 visitors each year, with more than 200 national and international exhibitors, amid at least 40o events and close to 300 authors participating.

A new “Translate Ukraine” grant program supporting translation was opened in the spring of 2020, providing timely assistance during the initial onslaught of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020 and 2021, Frankfurter Buchmesse organized digital-specialist programs with participants from Ukraine, Georgia, and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in Kyiv, the German Embassy, and the Arsenal Book Festival.

In 2021, the Frankfurt Book Fair provided its book exhibition for the Goethe-Institut’s physical participation at the Arsenal show. Additionally, Frankfurt has participated with a collective stand and associated programming at the Arsenal festival in 2016, 2018, and 2019, reportedly finding robust public interest and encouraging new interactions between the German and Ukrainian book industries.

As part of the Eastern Partnership, the Frankfurt Book Fair also held several days of publisher workshops in Kyiv in 2016 and 2017 with participants from Ukraine and Central East European countries.


Catch up with all our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing players and international industry reactions.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the German market and the Börsenverein is here, and more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here

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

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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