Legal Law

Austria will also be a guest country at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2023

The planned focus on Austria at the Leipzig Book Fair 2022 will be extended to 2023. This was announced jointly by the State Secretary for Art and Culture Andrea Mayer (Greens), the Main Association of the Austrian Book Trade and the trade fair management on Friday. The decision was immediately welcomed by IG Authors.

Austria’s guest country appearance will now take place in 2023 and should be initiated with a kick-off event in 2022. After the pandemic-related cancellation of the Leipzig Book Fair in 2021, the lead time should also be increased. The start in March 2022 is to be followed by a “Year of Austrian Literature” with events in several German cities as well as reading and press trips, which will culminate in the major guest country appearance in 2023.

“The postponements in Leipzig enable us to expand the program. The longer time horizon enables Austria to make an even stronger presence at the book fair and thus has a longer-term and more sustainable effect,” Mayer is quoted as saying. Oliver Zille, director of the Leipzig Book Fair, referred to the need for extensive advance planning, “which can only be implemented to a limited extent in the current uncertain times”. Benedikt Föger, President of the Main Association of the Austrian Book Trade, was looking forward to the “biggest festival for Austrian literature in more than 25 years” on Friday.

The decision to redesign the book fair presence was made by the Ministry of Culture together with the main association and the Leipzig Book Fair. The artistic director Mirjam Unger and the main association are currently working intensively on the program guidelines – in coordination with representatives from the book industry, authorship and literary criticism. The first key points are expected to be presented before summer 2021.

“March 2023 is clearly the better time than the coming March to draw international attention to Austrian literature,” said IG managing director Gerhard Ruiss in a broadcast. “The relocation means that preliminary events can be held throughout the year in 2022, which will result in a major country appearance in the following spring.” This leaves the publishers with more preparation time, and the 2022 fair “can be used to test the exhibition and presentation options for non-permanent exhibitors”.

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