Frankfurt: 2024 Guest of Honor Italy Presents Its Plans

In Feature Articles by Jaroslaw Adamowski

At a press conference, 2024 Guest of Honor Italy previewed its Frankfurt Book Fair plans featuring 120 authors and artists.

At Thursday’s press conference in Frankfurt Pavilion are, from left, Juergen Boos, Frankfurter Buchmesse CEO; Incoronata Boccia, deputy director, Tg1; Mauro Mazza, Guest of Honor Italy special commissioner; Paola Passarelli, the director general of the directorate of libraries and copyright at the Italian ministry of culture; Armando Varricchio, Italy’s ambassador to Germany; Innocenzo Cipolletta, president, AIE; Renata Gorgani, vice-president, AIE. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Johannes Minkus

By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows

See also: Italy’s Mauro Mazza on Frankfurt’s 2024 Guest of Honor ‘Enrichments’

‘To Celebrate the Culture of Italy’
With Italy scheduled to be the guest of honor at next year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse, the country’s officials and book industry representatives have presented their plans and priorities today (October 19) to  journalists and trade visitors currently at the 75th anniversary edition in a news conference in the Frankfurt Pavilion.

The 2024 program themed “Roots in the Future,” and some 120 authors and artists are to host debates, perform at musical events, and attend art exhibitions in Germany in the coming year, according to the Italian organizers.

At today’s event, Juergen Boos, president and CEO of the trade show, said, “Italy continues the history that started at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1988 when it was the guest of honor” the first time. On its return visit as an honored market, “The book fair wants to celebrate the culture of Italy and I’m looking forward to many new editions of Italian books that will be presented to German and Italian readers,” Boos said.

Mauro Mazza, the Guest of Honor Italy special commissioner, said that 36 years after the market first held that rold, Italian book industry representatives hope they can contribute strengthening the platform for dialogue with other cultures.

Talking about the motto that Italy has chosen for its 2024 presence at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, Mazza said that it reflects a three-dimensional view of time and Italy’s history.

“We want to look back at the past as memory,” he said. “We want to look at present times. And we want to look at the best of our history, traditions, and to look at the future, hopefully a better future.”

Also speaking at the event, Paola Passarelli, the director general of the directorate of libraries and copyright at the Italian ministry of culture, said that, with next year’s book fair in mind, her ministry is advancing programs to support translations of Italian literary works into other languages.

“Translation is the simplest way to enter a culture, so that that culture becomes known in other countries,” Passarelli said. “We will do anything possible so that the international interest in Italian culture can grow.”

Armando Varricchio, Italy’s Ambassador to Germany, said “there will be cultural events all year long” and Italy’s “all 20 regions will be presented here in Frankfurt.”

At the Italy Guest of Honor press conference in Frankfurt. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Johannes Minkus

Preparations For 2024 Frankfurter Buchmesse

Innocenzo Cipolletta, the president of the the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori), said the country’s authors, publishers and other book industry representatives are already making intense preparations for next year’s event.

“We’re putting every effort into preparing for the book fair,” he said. “We’ve already rolled up our sleeves.

“At the moment, we’re contacting many authors who are well-known in Italy, but also unknown authors. Frankfurt is an international shopping window, it’s not limited to Germany alone. We’ll present different genres, different formats, not only big publishers, but also small publishers.”

Data released by the Italian industry body indicates that, in 2022, the country’s book industry reported sales of about €3.39 billion (US$3.58 billion). There are some 5,184 publishers in Italy. The nation accommodates more than 3,000 bookstores, and its book industry provides more than 70,000 jobs across the country.

Italian publishers have been expanding their catalogs, with 83,950 new titles added to their portfolios in 2022. Last year, Italy’s industry players sold 7,889 titles’ foreign rights, down from 8,063 a year earlier, and purchased 9,432 titles’ translation rights, up from 9,127 in 2021, according to figures from the publishers’ association.

European countries are responsible for 62 percent of Italian foreign rights purchases, followed by Asia at 18 percent; Latin America with a 6-percent share; the Middle East at 5 percent; Africa with a 4-percent stake; the US and Canada at 3 percent; and Oceania with a 2-percent share, as indicated by data from the association.

Renata Gorgani, the vice president of the AIE, said that the nation has many independent, small publishers whose titles will be presented at Frankfurt next year.

“We have a broad offer, and we’ll present many authors. We have a lot of bestsellers, especially novels that are sold all over the world,” she said.

“One in three contracts that we conclude [for international rights sales] are for children’s books and books for teenagers. Our children and teenagers read a lot, we publish lots of books for this group. And we want to ensure this continues when they become adults.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Italy and its book publishing industry is here, and more on the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) is here. More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on its guest of honor program is here, and more on Guest of Honor Slovenia 2023 is here.

About the Author

Jaroslaw Adamowski

Jaroslaw Adamowski is a freelance writer based in Warsaw, Poland. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Jerusalem Post, and the Prague Post.