Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spotlight on New Zealand as Frankfurt Book Fair 2012 opens

Pakistan News & Features Services

The world’s largest book fair has opened in the bustling metropolis of Frankfurt, Germany, with 7,300 publishers from more than 100 countries in attendance. New methods of publishing are a hot topic at the five-day meeting, with New Zealand selected as the country taking centre stage. 

Wellington poet Bill Manhire paid tribute to some of the country's finest writing talent at the opening ceremony of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012 on October 9. 

With New Zealand being the guest of honour at this year's fair, it will feature hundreds of Kiwi books and saw more than 80 New Zealand books translated into German.

Manhire addressed the 1700-strong crowd at the opening ceremony, highlighting New Zealand's greatest literary minds such as Katherine Mansfield, Janet Frame and Patricia Grace. The crowd was also treated to a reading by children's author Joy Cowley who read from her book Snake and Lizard, which has recently been translated into German. 

More than 65 New Zealand authors are currently in Frankfurt to promote the country's literature. The country's publishing industry is hoping for a boost, with only about 10 books by its authors being published in New Zealand each year. 

A multimedia pavilion has been erected, which takes viewers on a journey into the creativity of New Zealanders. 

The pavilion is set in twilight under a starry sky and resembles an island surrounded by water. 

A Kiwi actor narrates the story which plays out projected onto a set of giant screens, and incorporates sounds and footage from natural New Zealand. 

Some 1000 authors are present, among them 2009 Nobel Literature Prize winner Hertha Müller. The five-day fair is the world's biggest market-place for the rights to translate books. 

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Simon William were among the guests attending the event. 

"The greatest natural resource of the German people is not under our feet but between our ears," Westerwelle remarked during the grand opening ceremony.

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