France has a lot to show at Frankfurt, and French publishers expect to show what they are doing now and what they have changed in the past few years.
This week, the Frankfurt Book Fair resembles a political summit as much a publishing industry trade show. For the first time since 1989, France is the event’s Guest of Honor. The program will open on Wednesday with a display of European unity that has become rare in the age of populist politics.
France last enjoyed the spotlight at Frankfurt Book Fair in 1989, another year of political and social upheaval, one that 2017 seems determined – perhaps even destined – to emulate. In publishing and so much else, of course, the intervening three decades have witnessed tremendous change. Classic backlist titles from Gallimard and Julliard now complete with a new generation of authors and publishers.
“France is well known for its high-quality literature. But I think there is an emerging French popular literature, too. If you look at the bestseller list this summer, most of the 20 bestsellers are coming from this type of books– popular literature,” says Fabrice Piault, Livres Hebdo editor-in-chief. “France has a lot to show [at Frankfurt], and French publishers expect to show what they are doing now and what they have changed in the past few years.”