The Italian Book Club in Germany: Frankfurt Book Fair 2014

31 October 2014


In October, the Italian Book Club attended for the first time the Frankfurt Book Fair. With 7,300 exhibitors from over 100 countries and about 270,000 visitors, this annual fair is a major event for the international publishing industry. The five days are packed with book launches and discussions, networking events for authors and publishers and many seminars covering all aspects of writing and publishing.


Some authors promoted by the Italian Book Club, Getrude Matshe, William Riegler and Amr Badawy, attended the Frankfurt Book Fair to present their books in person. The Italian Book Club President, Dr Federico Conforto, was tirelessly speaking with publishers promoting authors as well as scouting for new talents. Of course we also took the opportunity to interview several authors:


Raja Alem from Saudi-Arabia. For her book, "The Dove's Necklace”, she was awarded the LiBerature price 2014 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In the words of the jury: "This is both a crime novel and a literary study on the female body in Muslim society – it is also a novel about the city of Mecca.” 




Marc Elsberg, author of "Zero", a thriller about our diminishing privacy. In today's world detailed personal data can be collected and used to predict how a person will behave in the future and to advise them on how to act to achieve their goals. Is this good or bad? This gripping thriller is looking at both sides of the coin. (


Andrew Newman, author of 4 children's books. He talked to us about his book "The Fish Who Nearly Drowned in His Search for Water", a witty, beautifully illustrated poem that will be loved by children and adults alike. (


Thomas Meyer, author of "Rechnung über meine Dukaten". This novel explores the story of Friedrich Wilhelm I. and his guard of giants. The Prussian king went through a lot of trouble (and money) to recruit very tall men to serve in his guard. He even attempted pairing them off with tall women to breed more! (


A special section of the Frankfurt Book Fair was dedicated to self-publishing, which is a rapidly increasing trend. Together with e-books, social media and the internet this causes major changes in the publishing industry and opens up many new opportunities. Particularly successful initiatives and new ideas were nominated for the “Virenschleuder-Preis” (Viral marketing award). This year’s winner was a non-profit bookstore in Chemnitz, Germany, who photographed 127 customers with their favourite book and published one photograph per day on Facebook and their website. The fascinating result speaks for itself:


Another interesting session was discussing the Paris Review Interviews. This magazine is published quarterly since the 1950ies and features interviews with famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut and Truman Capote. The detailed, insightful interviews were written with patience and in close collaboration with the interviewed writer. You can read your favourite writer’s interview online:


We very much enjoyed learning about the latest trends in publishing and making many interesting new contacts. Looking forward to go back next year!




Diana Mittag


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