This year, Germany is a bit on edge politically, and it should surprise no one that protest came to the Frankfurt Book Fair.
No magic eight ball was needed to predict that the recently-concluded Frankfurt Book Fair would have a political cast. 2017 is like that. However, politically-sparked confrontations between the public and right-wing publishers at the fair’s German pavilion may complicate things for Frankfurt going forward, notes Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
“It’s very hard to say how the clashes will affect the fair—but they almost certainly will,” he tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “The fair didn’t create the political issues. Politics happen – Brexit, Trump, nationalist movements across Europe – all have all take up a megaphone. To their credit, Frankfurt officials refused to block right-wing publishers from exhibiting at the fair. Free speech is free speech.
“But will that change?” wonders Albanese. “Many of those right-wingers have exhibited at the fair in the past. This year, though, Germany is a bit on edge, and it should surprise no one that protesters arrived on site—especially given that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron used the fair as an opportunity to sketch their vision of a Europe united by culture, not divided by nationalist impulses. It will be interesting to watch if fair organizers change their tune or alter their rules on who exhibits at next year’s fair.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.