Why does Iceland want to be Guest of Honour?
- Literature is at the very heart of Icelandic culture.
- Contemporary Icelandic literature has won a strong position for itself in the German-speaking market (100 million people) in recent years, and this event will take the distribution of Icelandic literature to a new level.
- For Icelanders, as for other Nordic writers, the German market has proved to be a gateway into other languages and markets. This is an event which will be noticed by leading lights of world publishing.
- The German media, like the German public, have a favourable attitude towards Iceland and Icelandic culture. After the collapse of the Icelandic banking system, the Book Fair may make an important contribution to promoting a new image of Iceland.
- The Icelandic book market, though small, has been commercially viable. A boost to translations into other languages also promotes Icelandic writing on the home market, bringing writers a wider readership and increased revenues.
- The event will also be a promotion of Icelandic culture in general: music, theatre, visual arts etc. But literature will be the focus. Unlike some arts promotions which consist of events and festivals, in this case the results are both tangible and permanent: books which are published, in a range of languages, in connection with the Book Fair will be read for years to come, and this will enhance interest in all things Icelandic, and give a boost to tourism.
- All in all, Icelanders are here being offered the opportunity to present their history and self-image, their culture and literature, to the attentive eyes of the world.
What do we want to achieve?
- Publication of all the Sagas of Icelanders in German, just as the sagas were published in English some years ago in collaboration with Penguin Books – with great success. An agreement has already been concluded with one of Germany’s leading publishing houses, S. Fischer, for publication in 2011. Paperback and audiobook versions will follow.
- Efforts will be made to encourage publication of 19th- and 20th-century Icelandic literature in German, in order to fill in the largest gaps, so that interested German readers can gain an overview of latter-day Icelandic literature.
- Systematic efforts will be made to promote contemporary Icelandic literature on the international book market. The strong position of Icelandic writing in Germany, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, will make an excellent launchpad into other markets.
- In 2011 “Fabulous Iceland” will energetically promote Icelandic arts and culture through exhibitions, shows and concerts all over Germany.