Blog Carnival 6: All About Frankfurt

We said Carnival 5: A VIEW FROM HERE was the last Blog Carnival, but when we saw the photos, links and updates from Frankfurt, we knew we had to put together one more carnival edition.

So we bring you a special addendum to the 2012 Blog Carnival series: a final Carnival which features reports from Frankfurt.

For those of you who didn’t get to go, we hope this shares the experience a little more closely. And for those of you who went, we thank you for sharing your own encounters and reflections with our readers.

See the Ehrengast / Guest of Honour  page at the Frankfurt site here.

photo by Jürgen Fauth

Opening

We begin in the New Zealand Pavillion, where Wellington actor Matu Ngaropo brought New Zealand authors to life in his performance of ‘Secrets’.

“The show, conceived by Mike Mizrahi of Inside Out Productions, lasts for 20 minutes and plays twice an hour. Part of the performance sees Ngaropo standing in the rain, reciting a poem by Hone Tuwhare. That means getting wet.”

More here.

*

The opening’s highlights included speeches by Bill Manhire and Joy Cowley (with a reading from her recently translated book Snake and Lizard). You can read more here.

*

And New Zealand’s numbers are up this year “New Zealand Shines”:

This year 83 New Zealand books are being translated into German, compared to a previous annual average of 10.

More here.

*

Radio New Zealand aired a show on the opening with Amelia Nurse, who checked out how Wellington writers, poets and translators celebrated the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair here.

Photo by Jürgen Fauth

Expectations

Radio New Zealand reports on the expectations set by the opening of the fair which will gain New Zealand “unprecedented exposure”. Hear more here.

*

And of course there were television reports as well, with overviews of the opening and the expectations around the biggest book fair in the world.

national kapa haka champs from Rotorua in Frankfurt

With 65,000 German tourists arriving in New Zealand each year, this opportunity was about more than books — it was about bringing New Zealand to Europe in a way never before seen. Seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the Guest of Honour status is touted by some as being more important than 2011′s Rugby World Cup. More here.

*

Here we see how the nearly $6 million that went into the New Zealand pavilion set the mark high. This report includes excerpts from the opening including a brief reading by poet Glen Colquhoun, and an interview with one of the 65 authors Kate DiGoldi. More here.

*

Even Rotoruans set their sights high at Frankfurt this year, as the national kapa haka champions Te Matarae I Orehutook their performance to Germany to open the book fair. More here.

*

And in a slightly related story 1000 km from Frankfurt, Rotorua makes international news earlier in October as a Te Arawa meeting house is unveiled in Hamburg after a major restoration project. It was shipped to German collector in 1908 and reassembled in 1912. It has now finally been opened again at the Volkerkundemuseum (Museum of Ethnology). See more about this “once-in-a-century celebration” in which over 60 Rotoruans participated here.

~

Of course, before the Fair even got underway, controversy was brewing about the extent to which New Zealand authors would be fairly represented at the fair, with organisers accused of laying a heavy emphasis on New Zealand as exotic, not as a country of earnest writers. In June, the Frankfurter Allgemeine posted an article by Andreas Platthaus which questioned the nature of New Zealand’s presence at the fair and the presumption that New Zealand organisers placed emphasis on food, drink travel over literature (article here; translation here). Numerous articles and commentaries were posted on this topic (see for example this Radio New Zealand interview with Kyle Mewburn), but Paula Morris’s speech to the German media in June which addressed this question (and was transcribed in The Listener) is well worth revisiting:

New Zealanders and New Zealand writers don’t live in a state of splendid isolation. We look back. We look forwards. We look outwards. Like all writers everywhere, we like to complain, and joke, and investigate, and to try to make sense of what we experience and observe around us.

More here.

~

photo by Jürgen Fauth

It was big…

And it was big. Big words, big crowds, big news  for New Zealand:

“I knew it was going to be big,” remarked author Eleanor Catton.

“But I have been amazed. Picture an international airport, hangars included: that’s about the scale of the building, and every hall is filled with stalls and crowds. It’s truly overwhelming.”

Says children’s book author Brian Falkner: “It’s about the same size as a small New Zealand town. Possibly bigger.”

More here.

~

Live Broadcasts from the action — Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill goes to Frankfurt.

photo by Jürgen Fauth

Kim Hill broadcasts live from the James Bar of the English Theatre, Frankfurt, on the occasion of New Zealand’s Guest of Honour 2012 visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Guests this hour include German journalist Tina Mendelsohn, architect Andrew Patterson, event organiser Mike Mizrahi and restaurateur Peter Gordon. (49′21″). Part One.

Interviews with Joe Harawira, composer Leon Radojkovic and producer Phil Evans and art writer and curator Justin Paton. (38′22″). Part Two.

Interviews with fiction writer Paula Morris, poet and writer Kate Camp, art commentator and writer Hamish Clayton and publisher Sam Elworthy. (53′02″). Part Three.

Interviews with musician Norman Meehan, businesswoman Hana Pomare, publisher Fergus Barrowman and chief executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Lewis Holden. (44′49″). Part Four

~

The Transit of Venus project played a big role at the book fair too. This project’s visionary was the late Dr. Paul Callaghan whose vision included a conference which, among other things, included poets invited by Bill Manhire to exchange ideas with German poets.

We are using this extraordinary phenomenon in 2012 to provide the focus for a major event on the East Coast of New Zealand, where Cook first landed.

There will be a forum on 7 and 8 June 2012, in Gisborne, that will be aimed at a new generation of New Zealand thinkers:  policy makers, journalists, educators, business people, community leaders and other interested New Zealanders will be invited.  There we will confront our current realities and risks and put forward some bold and optimistic opportunities for development.

The transit of Venus will be the symbol of a passage to a new chapter in New Zealand history – a transit point for our view of what is possible in building a country that is not only beautiful but smart, prosperous, just, inclusive and ambitious, in which a vibrant Maori economy plays an essential part in our big future.

More from Paul Callaghan and his vision here.

Sponsored by the Goethe Institute, the cultural exchange which took place in celebration of the transit of Venus was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for writers from New Zealand and Germany to collaborate.

The Transit of Venus Poetry Exchange provides an opportunity for New Zealand and German writers to work collaboratively within the framework of the Frankfurt Book Fair, at which New Zealand is this year’s guest of honour. In June the German poets Uwe Kolbe, Brigitte Oleschinski and Ulrike Almut Sandig will visit New Zealand for the Transit of Venus. They will experience the transit together with the New Zealand poets Hinemoana Baker, Glenn Colquhoun and Chris Price. Afterwards they will discover New Zealand and participate in workshops and readings. 

More here.

These poets presented their works in Frankfurt and participated in the NZ celebrations. A video in German about the Transit of Venus collaboration can be viewed here.

And the Listener report on this project including Guy Somerset’s interviews with the poetry participants can be found here.

~

…and on a distantly related note, we came across this in our internet meanderings and place it here too — New Zealand mulit-instrumentalist Kristie Addison’s band Transit of Venus. Have a listen here.

~

In their own words… bloggers on Frankfurt

Robert Sullivan blogs about his experiences in Frankfurt, from his arrival and his first meal (including a Bavarian liver loaf and a Mosel wine), to the sales of his book Star Waka in translation (the German version Sternen Waka  translated by Jörg-Stephan Mohr and Lotta Schneidemesser), to his experiences meeting other Kiwi writers he travelled thousands of miles to see.

Afterwards we headed to the Römer, the medieval heart of the city. Jörg and Lotta were determined to share a traditional meal with me and so we looked for a Gemütlich, a place to eat which does not really have an English synonym.

More here.

 I sponged lunch off award winning novelist Paula Morris and her husband Tom Moody on my arrival, and dinner off poet Harry Ricketts at a delightful beer hall in the middle of the city. I caught the tram with bestselling authors Nalini Singh and Emily Perkins, while it was fantastic to see my old friend and art historian/broadcaster Justin Paton who is nearing the end of the Mansfield Fellowship. It was a great treat to meet the novelist Barbara Ewing, and to spend time with dear friends Jan Kemp, Anna Jackson and Dieter Riemenschneider. Is this networking? I don’t think so. It’s part of belonging to a vibrant literary community.

More here.

~

photo by Jürgen Fauth

Catherine Robertson documents her days and nights in a most amusing way in “I missed Arnie in Frankfurt”:

Friday: do a reading at the Kobo stand with NZ crime thriller writer Paul Cleave, who is hung over, and Nalini, who is fresh-faced and lovely as always, God rot her. Both Nalini and Paul are huge in Germany, so I hope a bit of their Teutonic mojo will rub off on me. I ask the American Kobo man if it’s Ok that my reading contains a bit of strong language. He says “I don’t see any children here.” I’m not sure he’s expecting ‘c**k-s****r’, though, as I hear a distinct sharp intake of breath from his direction. The Aussie Kobo man, by contrast, laughs like a drain. After that, Nalini keeps the ‘F-word’ in her reading, and Paul intro’s his by saying, “I have no swear words, so before I start: ‘F**k!’ and ‘C**k-s****r!’”. Who needs Fifty Shades of Grey when you have us?

More here.

~

Katy Derbyshire (whose latest translation projects can be find here at Words Without Borders and here in one of our final Aotearoa Affair features) blogs about early mornings and late nights in “Frankfurted”:

photo by Jürgen Fauth

I’m all Frankfurted out. It was lovely. Except when it was horrible and I’d had enough of seething masses of bodies and glossy displays and superficial conversation. But even then I ran into the perfect grumpy person with whom to indulge in a great moaning session.

I do love book fairs, and yes, I know I’ve told you that before. I love strolling around and meeting people and saying hello and getting chatting and exchanging compliments and swapping tips. Because it’s the social aspect that counts most for me. I’m tempted to just write a long list of all the lovely people I met and all the lovely people I missed, but that might not be very interesting for anyone else. So here’s what I did instead.

More here.

~

Tina Makareti writes about arriving in Frankfurt to participate in the Weltkulturen Museum residency and her experience with the tauihu (canoe prow) at the Face to Face exhibit.

My Frankfurt may have been a bit different from the Frankfurt most other New Zealanders experienced in October 2012. I’m not the only one. There were seven of us that turned up at various times during September and October, to take up residence at Weltkulturen Museum’s two apartments in Villa 37.

More here.

 From my studies in Māori art, I could interpret in a general way much of the meaning of the carving, but I also saw much of the history of Aotearoa played out in the journey the tauihu had taken from being part of an active waka taua in New Zealand to being stored in a museum in Europe. For me the startling realisation was that the tauihu had been witness to at least the last hundred years of Europe’s history as well

More here.

~

And while we’re in the Weltkulturen Museum let’s stop briefly at the exhibits there this month, both related to New Zealand’s presence in Frankfurt and running through October 28.

First, an exhibit called FACE TO FACE / KANOHI KI TE KANOHI / FA’AFESAGA’I, designed with New Zealand’s special Guest of Honour status in mind.

Also, an exhibit that features New Zealand zines and underground publications can be viewed under the title Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People.

Selected zines in the exhibit include The John Dory Report, Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, Common-Sense Nihilist, Animalz, Manga Mania, Neighbourhood Cats, Daily Secretion, Permanent Vacation, Celebretard, Cupcake Monster, The National Grid, White Fungus and Millenium Falcon.

More here.

~

Lawrence Patchett considers his three favourite things from Frankfurt, and then some:

A diverse cluster of poets read brilliantly in the New Zealand Poetry Sampler. They included Harry Ricketts, Anna Jackson, and Robert Sullivan. Among my favourites were Ricketts’ clever celebration of misadventure, ‘On Failure’. Another was Sullivan’s subtle elegy for a beloved car, amongst other things, ‘Honda Waka’: ‘That Honda has seen a high percentage/ of my poetry./ Now I have left it behind.’ 

More here.

~

Marcus Speh considers muscles and sex in Frankfurt:

I’m reading an article in a German newspaper about the book fair. The author complains about the whiny self-involved Frankfurt scene and mentions New Zealand, too. («Maori. Sheep. Dugouts. Falls. More sheep.») She identifies “muscles and sex” as the lowest common thematic denominator of this fair.

Ich lese in der Zeitung DIE WELT von der Buchmesse. Die Autorin beklagt sich über die schwülstig-selbstverliebte Frankfurter Literaturszene. Auch Neuseeland darf erwähnt werden. («Maori. Schafe. Einbäume. Wasserfälle. Noch mehr Schafe.»)  Sie identifiziert «Muskeln und Sex» als kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner  dieser Messe.

More here in English — and here in German. 

~

Dorothee Lang happened to be at the Book Fair the day the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced,  and reads into one of Mo Yan’s book that evening:

Back home I checked my bookshelf – and indeed, I still had the copy of Mo Yan’s book “Red Sorghum” (which is titled “Das Rote Kornfeld” in German). It’s one of the books I started, but didn’t finish, a book with multiple timelines that reach back to the time when Japan invaded China..”

More here.

~

From the Frankfurt Blog

Now, some posts from the Frankfurt Book Fair Blog…

On the opening: “Culture is a process, not a state.”

New Zealand, the Guest of Honour country at this year’s Fair, has a rich heritage that they have brought to share with us in their “While You Were Sleeping” program.  As New Zealand writer Bill Manhire mentioned in his speech, Kiwis tend to be self-deprecating and modest, but in their embrace of the Maori culture, the beautiful poetry and prose of their writers, and the love of their land, we see their importance in the international cultural dialogue.

More here.

*

Paula Morris, author of Rangitira:  “Books Mattered. New Zealand Mattered.”

Seeing signs for New Zealand everywhere we went, not just at the Book Fair but all over the city, where exhibitions and related events were going on; we even saw a poster for a nightclub featuring New Zealand DJs. We’d taken over the Fair and we’d taken over Frankfurt. …It was an exhilarating time, I have to say, especially getting the chance to talk about New Zealand books, history, society and culture with so many engaged German audiences.

More here.

*

NZ YA novelists talk about the future and writing for an audience between child and adult.

Today, New Zealand young adult and children’s writers Brian Falkner and Kate De Goldi spoke to journalist Rosie Goldsmith on the New Zealand Forum stage about “Writing for Our Futures” and all that entails.

More here.

*

Lucy Diver reports on the “Business Breakfast NZ – the nuts and bolts of Kiwi publishing”:

Firstly they gave an overview of New Zealand as a country, then the publishing market overall. There was  a lot of information to soak up, but here are a few key insights for publishers looking to get into the New Zealand market.

  • Firstly, New Zealand and Australia are not the same.

Also: she discusses how Kiwi publishers are nice.

More here.

*

P. Lependorf on the state of modern translation: “You say Tomato, I say Tomaat”:

The panel largely addressed a just-published report on translation and spoke about the goals of the “New Conditions for Literary Translation in Europe.” This project is called PETRA (an acronym for their platform for literary translation in Europe). It aims to bring together various stakeholders in the field of literary translation, starting with translators and their organizations, and also reaching out to those in education and training, and in publishing in various roles (agents, publishers, etc.).

More here.

*

Greg Broadmore on “Comics and New Zealand and Weta”:

It turns out Weta Workshop is not the best place on Earth – that is ‘any beach in Rarotonga’ – but it is bloody amazing nonetheless.

More here.

*

Erix Cox on the Weta Workshop:

 But, one can’t focus only on the changing technology because that is how stories are all pulled out of shape. In the end, no matter the effects or devices, it’s all about the story.

More here.

photo by Jurgen Fauth

Closing

Bidding New Zealand farewell which included a poetry reading by Hinemoana Baker and a novel excerpt by Brazilian author Milton Hatoum  as well as a speech by New Zealand festival organiser Tanea Heke, the song “Purianie” and the haka “Ke Mate”.

The brief video with excerpts, “Hola Brazil”, shows how New Zealand passed its Guest of Honour status from 2012 to the 2013 Guest of Honour. You can view here.

photo by Jürgen Fauth

In the end, New Zealand broke all sorts of records with its presence in Frankfurt.

Fair director Juergen Boos said it was the first time in the fair’s history a Guest of Honour had managed to have presence in every hall of the fair, including the comics zone, educational publishers, gourmet gallery, outdoor space and transmedia conference Storydrive.

Weekend attendances at the New Zealand pavilion also broke attendance records. By mid Saturday morning 15,000 people had visited the spectacular twilight setting and that soared to about 90,000 by the end of the weekend.

More here.

*

And of course, there was Hobbit-mania too. More here and the prizegiving for the costume competition here.

photo by Jürgen Fauth

Thanks to Jürgen Fauth who provided such wonderful photos from the Frankfurt Book Fair. For more of his photos, go here.

Auf Wiedersehen!

6 thoughts on “Blog Carnival 6: All About Frankfurt

  1. Pingback: International Book Fair Frankfurt 2012 – guest country New Zealand & more « Frankfurt Bookfair 2012: An Aotearoa Affair

  2. Thanks heaps for this posting. I’m being introduced to so much it’s going to take me quite a while to really appreciate it. Loved Kristie Addison’s Transit of Venus :)

  3. Pingback: Highlight: Deniz Utlu in translation « Frankfurt Bookfair 2012: An Aotearoa Affair

  4. Pingback: The Maori culture «

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s