PANZ Director Catriona Ferguson Reports from Frankfurt Book Fair 2018:
As usual it was all go on the PANZ stand in Hall 6.0 at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Nine publishers spent three busy days in meetings with contacts from around the world; the general vibe at the fair was extremely positive. Kevin Chapman from Upstart Press noted that “It’s been a good fair and the proof will be in what happens next.”
Some reported that foot traffic in the halls felt lighter than it had been in previous years, but in fact this offered a welcome opportunity to focus on meetings without too much distraction. PANZ President Peter Dowling said that the fair had been, “Encouraging on a number of fronts, and there remains a growing interest in children’s and young adults books. Additionally there’s been enthusiasm for our design-led illustrated books.”
Beau Davidson from DHD Publishing attended the fair with his wife, writer Joy Davidson, for the first time. “It teaches you what the world of publishing is really all about; it’s a baptism by fire because you’re meeting all those involved in the industry – printers, online services, freight and packaging. It’s not until you get here that you realise how significant a gathering it really is.”
Sophie Siers from Millwood Press caused a bit of a stir with her delightful picture book Dear Donald Trump “What a fantastic fair, so much enthusiasm on the stand and around the exhibition halls. It was a highlight for Millwood Press to sign our title Dear Donald Trump on the stand to Czech Republic and Slovakia.”
And after busy days there was the usual round of evening stand parties to attend, which provided a host of networking opportunities. Of course the premium of these is the PANZ stand party, which was as successful as usual this year. A host of publishers, agents and VIPs showed up to enjoy some fine New Zealand wine and beer, great conversation and lots of laughs.
We continued to promote the Creative New Zealand/PANZ Translation Fund on the stand and also distributed copies of an Academy of NZ Literature produced anthology that provided enticing extracts of work from a range of Māori and Pasifika writers available for translation, and to participate in international events.
There were also some fresh initiatives happening at the book fair this year, including the first BookFest to be held in the new pavilion onsite at the Buchmesse. New Zealand writer Bridget Van Der Zjipp, who is based in Berlin, joined us in Frankfurt to discuss change and diversity with writers Amanda Lee Koe from Singapore and Min Jin Lee of Korea.
In International Publishers Association (IPA) news, Sam Elworthy and I attended the General Assembly and were delighted to vote enthusiastically in favour of Hugo Setzer’s nomination as President Elect of the IPA and Bodour Al Qasimi as Vice President Elect. They will both take up their positions on 1 January 2019. Read the press release from the IPA here.
We’d like to thank our supporters for helping us to have another successful Frankfurt: freight partner Book Systems and Education New Zealand and Creative New Zealand who contributed to stand costs and provided grants to publishers.
Pictured above the New Zealand Collective Stand (left) and Alexandra Smithyman, Deputy Head of Mission of the New Zealand Embassy in Berlin, with Gary Pengelly and Jan Kemp at the New Zealand stand party.