21 Jun 2012
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More than 60 New Zealand authors and 100 performers will be in Germany showcasing Kiwi artistic talents leading up to and during October’s Frankfurt Book Fair where New Zealand is this year’s Guest of Honour.
New Zealand Frankfurt Book Fair director Tanea Heke revealed the literary and cultural programme at a press conference in Germany recently.
She said the programme spans the centuries from traditional Maori storytelling techniques through to state-of-the-art transmedia.
The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s biggest book and media trade fair with about 7600 exhibitors from 110 countries and about 300,000 visitors annually.
The New Zealand Guest of Honour pavilion will be centre stage. It is a 2300sq m space that has been designed by internationally renowned architects Pattersons and specialist events company Inside Out Produtions. Tanea Heke describes it as “like being inside a person’s imagination”.
“Our pavilion will be an amazing, immersive visitor experience – from the beauty of its design to the rich and varied writers’ and cultural programme. For five magical days we will be bringing the best of New Zealand creativity and innovation to Germany.”
Among the New Zealand writers who will feature at the fair are novelists Patricia Grace, Emily Perkins, Lloyd Jones and Eleanor Catton, poets Bill Manhire and Kate Camp and children’s writer Kate de Goldi.
Outside the fair several festivals will showcase New Zealand cultural talent starting with the Museumsuferfest in late August featuring contemporary and traditional artists.
Another early highlight will be the “Long Night of Māori Stories” at the Berlin International Writers Festival on September 12 featuring eight New Zealand writers.
Global film industry special effects maestro and multi -Oscar award winner Richard Taylor is a keynote speaker at the Storydrive conference.
And great New Zealand hospitality will also be to the fore as Kiwi celebrity chefs, including Al Brown, Peter Gordon, Robert Oliver, Charles Royal and Annabel Langbein, showcase the best in New Zealand food and wine at Frankfurt’s Margarete restaurant.
The economic benefits for New Zealand are already apparent with a record-breaking number of New Zealand book rights being sold into Germany since we became Guest of Honour. Some 76 book titles are being translated and published in Germany this year, giving Kiwi authors unprecedented international exposure. The average for the past decade has been 10 translations into German a year.
Guest Country of Honour status offers the most comprehensive opportunity we have seen in many decades to strengthen New Zealand/German ties in culture, business, tourism, diplomacy and education.
Together, government agencies have committed about $5.3m of baseline funding to the project. Additional funding from the Publisher’s Association of New Zealand, and key sponsors Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand German Business Assn, Māori Tourism, Massey University, Icebreaker, Oceanbridge and Hamburg Süd, is enabling us to expand the programme and further leverage our Guest of Honour status.
For more information and a list of the writers and performers in Germany as part of the Guest of Honour programme see: www.nzatfrankfurt.govt.nz