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Frankfurt Book Fair – focus on French-language Swiss literature

Under the motto «Francfort en français», the 69th Frankfurt Book Fair is putting the spotlight on literature in French. The Romandie – Switzerland’s French-speaking region – will be represented by a delegation of 12 authors. Their works are available not only «en français», but also in German, which makes this a unique opportunity to spike interest in the Romandie’s vibrant literary scene both in Germany and in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Federal Councillor Alain Berset will be present at the official opening of the book fair.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse is the world’s number one trade fair for book industry professionals and a major cultural and media event. The fair officially opens on 10 October. During the following five days, thousands of exhibitors from roughly 100 countries will be wooing for the attention of around 280,000 visitors.

Under the banner of «Francfort en français», France as the guest of honour has invited its neighbours Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg to join in the showcasing of literature in French with contributions of their own. The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and ASDEL (Association Suisse des Diffuseurs, Editeurs et Libraires) are responsible for the presence of representatives from the French-speaking part of Switzerland. «We are very pleased with this opportunity to present the Romandie’s diverse and lively literary scene to a large international audience,» says Angelika Salvisberg, Head of Literature and Society at Pro Helvetia. «The region has, in recent years, produced outstanding works of literary fiction and also proved to be highly innovative in the genres of comics, slam-poetry, crime novels and collective writing.»

The following 12 French-language authors from Switzerland, all of whose works have been translated into German, will be taking part in the «Francfort en Français» programme:

Roland Buti, Joseph Incardona, Pascale Kramer, Douna Loup, Frédéric Pajak, Noëlle Revaz, Daniel de Roulet, Thomas Römer, Marie-Jeanne Urech, Zep, Germano Zullo and Albertine.

Numerous other writers from the Romandie have already had the opportunity to introduce their work to audiences throughout Germany in connection with the «Saison francophone» programme from January to October 2017.

A range of events has been planned to attract attention to literature in French from Switzerland:

  • A reproduction of the Gutenberg printing press in the guest country pavilion, installed and operated by Geneva’s Musée de la Réforme, will no doubt be a big eye-catcher. Each day, authors participating in «Francfort en français» – including prominent names such as Michel Houellebecq – will personally print the first page of their latest book on this highly symbolic device. Federal Councillor Alain Berset will also be shown Gutenberg’s invention at the official opening ceremony on 10 October.
  • The «Soirée belgo-suisse» on 11 October in the Mousonturm has surprises in store in the form of live comics, slam poetry and DJs.
  • «30 Minutes chez les Welsches»: Each day, authors from the «Welsch» (i.e. French-speaking) Swiss delegation will be invited to the booth of the Swiss Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association (SBVV) for half an hour of interviews and discussions.
  • As always at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Pro Helvetia will be issuing its «12 Swiss Books» magazine, a choice of contemporary Swiss literature recommended for translation. This year – naturally – with special emphasis on literature from the French-speaking part of the country.

A press kit with further information on the participating authors, French-Swiss publishers, events, and the publication «12 Swiss Books» can be accessed here:

D: https://datatransfer.prohelvetia.ch/#/public/shares-downloads/rhIal6Ch0GJnioJOge6o4KPHFk2QAmvq

F: https://datatransfer.prohelvetia.ch/#/public/shares-downloads/axfkBYGSA72Ivbc9VGlqop6p11SuINO4

Media information:

During the book fair in Frankfurt:
Marlène Mauris
mmauris@prohelvetia.ch, Tel: +41 44 267 71 36

On the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia:
Lisa Stadler
lstadler@prohelvetia.ch, Tel: +41 44 267 71 51

Media Release of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 03.10.2017