Wednesday 30 April 2014

New Concept for Frankfurt

As you know, the Frankfurt Book Fair is a huge hulking monster about the size of twelve villages. And so far, one of those villages has been doing its own thing all the way over in the outlands of Hall Eight. Hall Eight is like a different country to the rest of the book fair. It's a brisk walk away from the other halls, for a start, and it has better food (also more expensive) and its own security guards who check your bags when you go in there. Because Hall Eight is the hall of the English-language publishers. Allow yourself a hushed moment of reverence, please.

The rest of the world's publishers muddle in across the rest of the exhibition centre, speaking incomprehensible languages and talking about obscure things like books not in English. It's much louder outside of Hall Eight, because people actually choose to go there, even locals. Whereas Hall Eight registers only a low hum of secret talks behind fortress-like walls designed to keep the plebs out of the Big Five's business.

And now the Frankfurt Book Fair has announced they're going to shuffle everything around. Hall Eight to Hall Six! On three floors! Right in the middle of everything! Right downstairs from the agents! More readings in the "Agora" – book fair-speak for the "outside bit"! Latin America in with Sweden! Asia in with the Arab world! Oh my goodness!

I'm not sure the Anglophone publishing people will feel comfortable forcibly fraternizing with the rest of the world, but we shall see. Apparently, the rest of the world was sick of getting sore feet from tramping out to Hall Eight and back. You can see their point. It will be weird, though, right? But it's not until October 2015. I think they should have a huge Hall Eight Moving Out Party this year, where everyone trashes the furniture.

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