The Thessaloniki International Book Fair is the most important yearly event for the book and the professionals of the field organized in our country; a cultural institution with international character that has changed the landscape of the book industry and has become a reference point for all readers and bibliophiles.
In 2020, taking into consideration the data related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 17th Thessaloniki Book Fair will focus on an entirely virtual program extending over eleven days (November 19-29). Its primary aim is to facilitate the participation of significant writers and the active involvement of publishers, and to digitally organize scheduled festivals, events and actions as well as professional meetings highlighting issues of the domestic and the international book market. “We firmly believe that the role of culture, and more importantly the role of the book, is to support collective consciousness by bestowing support to a society, which is under pressure due to the potential risks to public health,” Nikos Koukis, President of the Executive Board, stated.
As a result of the energetic support of the Greek publishing houses and the contribution of major foreign institutes, renowned foreign writers will participate in the digital events of the 17th TBF, among which the distinguished Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany; French political scientist, professor and writer Gilles Kepel; British journalist, political commentator and author Paul Mason; French professor Freddy Vine, Italian author Francesca Melandri; Greek-American author George Pelekanos; the Spaniard Javier Thekas; Swedish writer Niklas Nat og Dag; British Hellenist Rodrick Beaton; award-winning Italian writer Paolo Giordano and so many more.
Rich and multidisciplinary, the 17th TBF is structured based on a framework of interests. Its central tribute entitled “Time in literature, literature in time” will explore the author’s relationship with the past and the future, whether literature can distance itself from the time of writing, the relationship of the book in general with durability and wear. ‘The planet in a pandemic and the virus of writing” will browse new books written about the past, present and future of epidemics in a period of climate change and will open the debate on the conditions of adaptation of human life to these new conditions and their influence on the volume and type of literature currently being written.
On the occasion of the literary anniversaries of the birth or death of important Greek writers, the tribute “Literature and Memory” will focus on surrealism in modern Greek poetry and prose and its imprint on the modern era. In addition, the tribute “To ’21 today” will explore the book production and the field of the latest research around the Greek Revolution on the occasion of the completion, in 2021, of two centuries since its proclamation in 1821.
The actions “Imagine all the people: Tribute to the refugee experience” will take place for the fifth consecutive year giving young and old the opportunity to attend digital activities and events on the lives of refugees and the literature they produce. The program also includes the 7th New Writers’ Festival, the 5th Translation Festival and the 3rd Festival of Literary Performance. And, of course, as every year, one of the most dynamic attractions of TIFF will be the events for children, teenagers and teachers, on “Children and Adolescents Corner”.
Moreover, from 9 to 18 November, there took place, on an entirely digital basis, a wide program of professional discussions between Greek and German professionals of the book market, which revolved around issues of promotion, publishing and selling strategies and the literary translation. Organized by the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the Goethe Institut and the Litrix program in cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, the program focused on the following topics: Best practice examples for booksellers in the new conditions of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, successful online book marketing, and latest trends in the German audio book trade. The web-based seminars focusing on translation strived to address the particular challenges of translating poetry and graphic novels, networking strategies, and the importance of cultural contexts in translating literature.
The program of events of the 17th TIFF will be broadcast online from the new, under construction website and through the social media of the exhibition, through two properly equipped studios in Thessaloniki and Athens. More specifically, the daily broadcast schedule will take place in the following time zones: from 13:00 to 21:30 on weekdays (November, 19-20 and 23-27) and from 10:00 to 21:30 on weekends (November 21-22 and 28-29), with consecutive events, each lasting one hour at the most.