Frankfurt Names the Philippines Its 2025 Guest of Honor

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The Philippines in 2025 will become the second Southeast Asian book publishing market to be a Frankfurt Book Fair guest of honor.

At the formal signing table of the Guest of Honor Philippines agreement are, from left, Simone Bühler, Claudia Kaiser, and Juergen Boos from Frankfurter Buchmesse, and Dante Francis Ang II and Charisse Aquino-Tugade of the Philippines’ National Book Development Board. Image: FBM, Daniel Tan

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

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Boos: ‘To Enhance the Dialogue and Network’
As momentum picks up for this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22) with Guest of Honor Slovenia rapidly building its “Honeycomb of Words” program, Frankfurt’s president and CEO Juergen Boos this morning (August 18) has announced that the Philippines will be the huge trade show’s 2025 guest of honor.

Needless to say, these guest of honor programs at Frankfurt are, at their cores, about translation and international publication rights. A guest of honor market at the world’s largest international trade book publishing show can expect to sell its country’s literature into hundreds of deals, and many markets report lasting rights-sales benefits over the course of years beyond the date of the guest year.

Between this year’s Slovenian program and the Philippines’ just-announced 2025 events, as Publishing Perspectives readers know, Guest of Honor Italy will take stage in 2024.

Manila’s National Book Development Board today have signed the guest-of-honor agreement in Davao, making the Philippines the second Southeast Asian market to become a Frankfurt Book Fair guest of honor.

Juergen Boos

In formalizing the agreement, Boos says, “I’m very much looking forward to the Philippines’ guest of honor presentation. Our guest of honor program doesn’t only put the spotlight on the literature and culture of a specific region, but it also aims to enhance the dialogue and network of the guest country within the international publishing world.

“Even though the Philippines is the world’s 13th largest nation with more than 110 million citizens, I believe for many of us in Europe, Philippine literature is currently still rather unknown territory.

“As the country steps into its role as guest of honor, we’ll learn a lot about the importance of storytelling and today’s cultural scene for Philippine civil society. With an incredible 183 different languages spoken on its 7,641 islands, the country’s diverse influences are one of the aspects I am looking forward to seeing in Frankfurt in 2025.”

Loren Legarda

In a prepared statement, the Philippine senator Loren Legarda is quoted, saying, “The road to being the guest of honor was years in the making.

“Ten years after” Indonesia became the first Southeast Asian guest of honor at Frankfurt in 2015, “it’s high time that another one be given the limelight.

“It’s high time that the international community can read and appreciate our stories told in our own voices, recognize that Filipino stories are worth reading, and that they are complex and informed by the colonial and post-colonial imagination.”

Tugade: ‘This New Chapter of Phillipine Literature’

At an event featuring Southeast Asian markets of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association at the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Johannes Minkus

Clearly the work of the National Book Development Board is going to be instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Philippines’ guest-of-honor project for Frankfurt.

Dante Francis Ang II

Dante Francis Ang II, who chairs the National Book Development Board in the Philippines, says, “I’ve seen how my team has prepared long enough and is ready to mount such a historic event.

“If the trajectory of the Philippines’ presence at the fair is any indication, it’s indeed time that the stories of our archipelago of more than 7,000 islands be put under the limelight in the international arena.”

Charisse Aquino-Tugade

And Charisse Aquino-Tugade, the executive director of the National Book Development Board, says, “The Philippines’ book publishing industry recorded steady growth in revenue in the past five years.

“Come 2025, when we take the stage as guest of honor, we’ll tell the story of the Filipinos: from our rich mythological history; the nationalistic novels of José Rizal; the empathetic post-ecological climate stories of our contemporary fiction; down to the colonial origins of capitalism and the humanity of our growing diasporic populations.

“We’re excited about this new chapter of Philippine literature and culture.”

In its 75th anniversary staging in October, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s newly renovated Hall 5 will be reopened, and trade visitors and exhibitors will find the Philippines’ stand at Hall 5.1, B66.

An evening shot in Mataki, the financial hub in metro Manila. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Fazon

More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on international trade shows and book fairs is here,  more on guest of honor programs in international publishing’s events is here, more on the Philippines is here, and more on book markets in Asia 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 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 International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, 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.