Leaders of Germany and France on same page at launch of book fair

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-12 07:49

FRANKFURT - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron opened the 69th Frankfurt Book Fair on Tuesday evening.

With around 200 French authors coming to Frankfurt, France is this year's guest of honor at the international publishing industry's biggest trade event, where more than 7,300 exhibitors from 102 countries and regions as well as around 278,000 visitors are expected.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Merkel and Macron underlined the close cultural connection of both countries - despite controversies.

 Leaders of Germany and France on same page at launch of book fair

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron visit the French pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday. The event, which runs from Wednesday until Sunday, will feature France as its guest of honour. Ralph Orlowski / Reuters

Both countries saw themselves united in a controversial but always rich interflow in culture, said the German chancellor, whose Christian Democratic Union party won the parliamentary election in September.

"Authors can be creators of ideas and bridge builders," Merkel said, emphasizing the solidarity and friendship between the two countries and the importance of the bilateral cooperation in and for Europe.

It was widely anticipated that the French president would make use of his visit to Frankfurt to speak about the future of Europe, after he had presented in September his receipt for Europe amid mounting populism, calling for closer ties to build joint defense force, common fiscal policy and coordinate efforts to tackle migration crisis and climate change.

"We must not isolate ourselves, in order to protect our values," Macron said in Frankfurt.

Regarding the fair's motto "Frankfurt in French", he spoke highly of the power of diversity in culture and languages, saying that the identity of the language lives amid the confrontation with other languages, "diversity is wealth".

Close connection

The opening of Frankfurt Book Fair by Merkel and Macron was symbol of close connection between the two countries and their commitment to a common and strong Europe, said the fair's director Juergen Boos.

Leaders of Germany and France on same page at launch of book fair

More than 4,000 events are going to take place during this year's book fair, which will open its doors to trade professionals from Wednesday to Sunday and to the public from Friday.

Meanwhile, one of the topics at this year's event is gender issues, with authors tackling what it means to be a boy or girl.

From a transgender teddy bear to a fearless girl pirate, visitors will be faced with a string of books for young readers that defy stereotypes and navigate today's hot-button issues of transsexuality and gender fluidity.

Stories with transgender lead characters in particular have broken one of the last "taboos" left in children's writing, said literary expert Nicola Bardola.

"Some are watching this trend nervously, these kinds of books still make critics uncomfortable," Swiss-born Bardola said, an author himself.

Bardola said stories that turned gender roles on their head had always been around but that such titles tended to peak every few years depending on the zeitgeist.

"Of course you can still find books for girls about ponies and princesses," said German literature critic Ralf Schweikert.

"But if you want to get away from those cliches, there's a lot of good material out there right now."

Xinhua - AFP

(China Daily 10/12/2017 page10)

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349