Canada – Canadian Authors and Illustrators Shine as the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair Begins

Canada is in the spotlight as the Guest of Honour country at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair

FRANKFURT, Germany, October 19, 2021

All eyes are on Canada as our country takes centre stage at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair. The fair, which holds its opening ceremony today in Germany, is featuring Canada as the Guest of Honour country. Each year, the world’s largest book fair is held in Frankfurt and offers a featured country the prestigious role of Guest of Honour to showcase its publishing industry and promote the sale of publishing rights for a wide range of books to readers from around the world.

Canada’s Guest of Honour presence, which centres around the theme “Singular Plurality,” includes several highlights that showcase Canadian literary talent, arts, culture and landscapes. The theme captures Canada’s diversity and culture, where each of us is unique but connected by our shared values. A delegation of 58 authors and illustrators have participated in events and activities since 2019, when Canada became Guest of Honour. Eight are attending in person this year: Michael Crummey, Michel Jean, Dany Laferrière, Catherine Mavrikakis, Paul Seesequasis, Vivek Shraya, Kim Thúy and Nancy Vo. The delegation will take part in five in-person author panels. Virtual programming including the authors and illustrators was produced in collaboration with CBC/Radio-Canada especially for the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair on the following topics:

Leading Ladies of Canadian Literature
Mapping Canada
Poetry on the Mainstage
Preserving and Protecting Languages and Culture
The Canadian Audacity of Children’s Literature

A dedicated Canada Pavilion highlighting Canadian publishing industry authors and creators is the cornerstone of Canada’s physical presence at the fair. The pavilion represents Canada’s diverse environments, which influence the passion and creativity of the artists, writers and illustrators at the heart of the country’s rich cultures and literature.

Additionally, for the first time in the history of the Frankfurt Book Fair, a Guest of Honour country will be offering a virtual pavilion for participants who are unable to join the event in person. The virtual pavilion will be available online at and will offer visitors experiences that showcase Canadian literature and culture.

The official opening ceremony is hosted by Juergen Boos, Frankfurter Buchmesse President and CEO, and Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, Chair of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. Canada is represented at the event by Her Excellency Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada. During the event, remarks will also be delivered by Canadian authors, including Margaret Atwood (virtual participation), Joséphine Bacon (virtual participation) and Vivek Shraya. The ceremony also includes a live performance from Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds that will be livestreamed on the Frankfurter Buchmesse website.

The dedicated event “Canada Night at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair” will also occur on October 20. Canada will showcase an evening of author talks and cultural performances. With the Governor General in attendance, the event will include performances by singer-songwriter Iskwe, world champion hoop dancer Dallas Arcand, Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds, and musician and visual artist Vivek Shraya. The centrepiece of the night features three discussions among some of Canada’s top authors:

Paul Seesequasis and Michel Jean join moderator Ruther Stäblein to discuss “Preserving and Protecting Languages and Cultures – an Indigenous Perspective.”
Catherine Mavrikakis and Michael Crummey join moderator Angela Spizig to discuss “Mapping Canada and Beyond.”
Margaret Atwood (virtually) and Kim Thúy join for a discussion on Canadian literature, women’s literature and their respective paths.

Canada is proud to share its creativity on this world stage and is excited for the new trade opportunities that this exposure will offer to Canadian creators.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in challenging times for creative industries, Canada’s Guest of Honour program will shine a light on Canadian creators in new markets, resulting in more exposure during this important economic recovery phase.

“Canadian authors, illustrators and creators offer a unique voice on the world stage. The diversity of our cultures provides our artistic scene with a strength seen very little elsewhere in the world. The variety of content found in Canada’s programming in Frankfurt is a prime example of the myriad of backgrounds in Canadian art and culture, and I hope it serves as an inspiration to the international audience in attendance at the fair.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“At the Frankfurt Book Fair and throughout Germany, the singular stories of Canadian authors, illustrators and artists from all disciplines will represent in a vibrant manner Canada’s plurality of voices. Our presence as Guest of Honour will not only result in increased cultural and business ties, but also in a greater knowledge of Canada’s literary and artistic landscapes, for the pleasure of all those who, from Germany and around the world, will seize the opportunity to get to know our works and our artists better.”

—H. E. Stéphane Dion, Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe

“Canada FBM2021 is thrilled to finally present Canada’s Guest of Honour Pavilion at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021, and equally proud to have developed a virtual counterpart to complement it, the first of its kind in the fair’s history. On both platforms, Canada’s official literary delegation of authors and illustrators will be showcased this week—through virtual and interactive content and programming, as well as live performances and discussions on stage. This is a highly accessible and intimate literary experience while highlighting the richness and diversity of Canadian literature, our ‘Singular Plurality’.”

—Caroline Fortin, President of Canada FBM2021

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest marketplace for trading in publishing rights and licenses. In a typical year, it hosts over 7,500 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, and over 300,000 visitors and 4,000 events. In 2021, the Frankfurt Book Fair resized its physical scope to accommodate approximately 1,800 exhibitors from 74 countries.

Canada’s Guest of Honour role is the result of a collaboration between Canadian Heritage and Global Affairs Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada and Canada FBM2021, which is a consortium created by the Canadian Publishing Industry to plan and coordinate the literary program and participation of Canadian publishers. In total, about 40 federal, provincial and territorial government organizations, as well as private-sector organizations, are partners in this initiative.

Germany is a focus country for Canada’s Creative Export Strategy, with a dedicated position created specifically at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin to help facilitate Canadian creative industries business-to-business relations and help them succeed in this lucrative market.

The 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair is being planned with a strong focus on health and safety measures, and participation is limited to 25,000 visitors per day in a masked and socially distanced venue. The fair organizers have cooperated closely with the health authorities in Frankfurt to develop a robust hygiene plan that reflects current health and safety measures.

Camille Gagné-Raynauld

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage