Frankfurt’s 2026 Guest of Honor Czechia Opens Translation-Focused Planning

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The 2026 Frankfurt guest of honor program from the Czech Republic is already being organized, with robust translation funding.

Martin Krafl is the head coordinator at the Czech Literary Center of the Moravian Library, and is leading preparations for the 2026 Guest of Honor Czechia program at Frankfurter Buchmesse. Image: Czech Literary Center, Moravian Library

By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows

‘New Faces in Contemporary Czech Writings’
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the Czech Republic—frequently called Czechia by its government—was announced in October to be the 2026 guest of honor program at Frankfurter Buchmesse.

With the subsequent announcement that Chile will be the world’s largest trade show’s 2027 guest of honor market, the list of guests of honor for Frankfurt head looks like this:

Organizers of Czechia’s 2026 presence at Frankfurt say they’re developing a variety of cultural events which extend beyond literature, and are also working on their flagship program to support translations of Czech literary works into other languages.

Martin Krafl is the head coordinator at the Czech Literary Center, a part of the RECIT network of literary translation centers, and a division of the Moravian Library in Brno. Krafl is leading the institution’s preparations for Frankfurt and tells Publishing Perspectives that the Czech Republic is devoting significant resources to promoting its literature at Frankfurt.

“We’re in the process of building a team,” Krafl says, “and we’ve already started talks on launching a year of cultural events centered around Czech culture. That special year of programming will start in October 2025, he says, when the Philippines will be the fair’s guest of honor.

“We expect to have lots of cultural events in Germany leading up to 2026 when we take over this prestigious role,” Krafl says.

A part of the Moravian Library that immediately connects many readers to the Czech literary canon is the Milan Kundera Library, which was opened a year ago as a “library within a library” on January 4, 2023, and houses more than 3,000 writings by and about the late author (1929-2023).

Inside the Moravian Library’s Milan Kundera Library. Image: Moravian State Library, KIVA photography

An Extensive Program of Translation Funding Grants

Asked about the literary priorities of the Czech presence at Frankfurt, Krafl replies that this year, the team will be focused on promoting the Czech ministry of culture’s program to support translations of Czech works into other languages.

“Many guests of honor are focused on translations into German,” he says, “and of course we’ll also want to have as many of them as possible. But in Czechia’s case, there will also be 20 to 26 translations of Czech books into other languages, such as English, Spanish, and French.”

Under the publicly-funded scheme, publishers can apply for grants to support international publications of Czech prose, poetry, drama, essays, and children’s literature as well as comic books.

The program covers translation costs up to 50 percent of the total cost of publishing. The ministry’s information indicates that promotional costs can be co-funded up to 25 percent of the total cost of publishing. Costs related to graphic design, typesetting, and printing can be covered by the scheme up to 50 percent of the total cost of publishing.

“It’s a very interesting program,” Krafl says, “and in 2024, we’ll promote it at the book fairs in Leipzig, Bologna, London, and Frankfurt. We’ll meet with publishers and organize some workshops with them to present the advantages of this initiative.”

Krafl says that the tradition of Czechoslovak literature—dating from before the country’s 1993 partition between the Czech Republic and Slovakia—makes it an internationally recognized brand. At Frankfurt, Czechia anticipates highlighting its new generation of authors, in particular many women’s literary voices.

“We have a new wave of very successful, very popular contemporary female authors,” Krafl says. “These include Radka Denemarková, Bianca Bellová, Kateřina Tučková, Lucie Faulerová, Pavla Horáková, Alena Mornštajnová, Magdalena Platzová, and Petra Hůlová. These female writers have enriched our literary life by bringing their critical perspective to bear on life in Czechia and Europe.

“Of course, male [Czech] authors won’t be missing [at Frankfurt]. Poets and authors of books for children and youth will also be presented, and we’ll pay attention to new faces in contemporary Czech writings.”

Those children’s books and YA literature, he says, are two of the most popular genres in the Czech market at the moment.

“In books for younger readers,” Krafl says, “we have very good writers and illustrators. Another genre that’s rapidly gaining popularity in Czechia is comic books, and we also want to present our offer in this field at Frankfurt.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more from us on the Czech market and its issues is here, more on the world’s international trade shows and book fairs is here, more on Frankfurt’s guest of honor programs is here, and more on guest of honor programs in many parts of the world 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.

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