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Goodbye, Frankfurt Book Fair 2008

This somewhat maudlin post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog.

Although the Fair doesn’t officially close for a little while, for all intents and purposes, my time here is over. I’ve met with all the people I needed to meet with, visited all the stands I needed to visit, and drank enough beer to last me till FBF ‘09 and beyond.

Despite the fact that I really need some restful sleep–without the aid of alcohol–and time to sort through all the information I’ve gathered over the past six days, I’m still a bit sad to see the fair end. I get an ache inside when I see the ice cream carts empty and shut down for the year.

To me, the fair officially ended with the “Fairwell” Reception that just took place. Sponsored by the German Book Office of New Dehli, it featured Fair Director Jurgen Boos, who compared the Fair to a palimpsest, a collection of written, erased, and rewritted experiences from which each person takes away some images and ideas important to them. He also honored the participants in the Invitation Programme for Exhibitors, a group of 25 publishers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe who are given a free stand at the Fair and who attend a two-day seminar to learn about the Fair and the German book market as a whole.

This year’s participants included Almadia Editorial, a young press from Oaxaca that I found out about yesterday and am excited to check out in more detail when I get home. (They have a great list and beautiful production.)

I can’t think of a good parting line . . . For anyone who has never been here, the Frankfurt Book Fair is almost impossible to summarize. It’s an intense week of meetings every half-hour on the half-hour. A week of very late nights (turn early mornings) of partying and mingling and exchanging information. It’s a chance to reconnect with international colleagues and a chance to learn more about the international publishing scene in one week than most people do in a lifetime. It’s also incredibly exhausting and extremely exhilarating to be in a place where books really, truly matter to all the tens of thousands of people in attendance. And it’s also officially over.



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