Three themes are presented for the Göteborg Book Fair 2019.
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The agreement between Göteborg Book Fair was signed earlier this year in Gothenburg. Pictured: Mr. Iroo Joo, Korean Publishers Association, and Frida Edman, Book Fair Director of Göteborg Book Fair. Photo: Natalie Greppi.
South Korea, Gender Equality and Media and information literacy in focus at the 2019 Book Fair
For four days during the Göteborg Book Fair 2018, guests and visitors have been able to take part in 3,800 program items in the form of seminars, stage and stand programs. 811 exhibitors have been on location and the fair halls have been packed. 

With its themes Respect, Image and Media Issues, this year’s Book Fair has pulled in a large audience – an increase from 2017. The crime fiction festival, Crimetime Göteborg, has been a success with chock-full audiences from opening to closing. Room for Poetry and Translation was given greater space at this year’s Fair and it is exciting to see that this has been appreciated. Also, the Book Fair took a leap forward for its large visitors groups among teachers and librarians through the effort to provide a larger school platform including, among other things, the Teacher’s Stage (Lärarscenen) and Bootcamp in Source Criticism (Bootcamp i källkritik).

“We have received a very positive response from publishers, exhibitors, authors and visitors. We have understood that book sales have gone well for publishers, which shows that the Göteborg Book Fair is a relevant marketplace. The Book Fair is built on a symbiosis between publishers and exhibitors. Together, we have created a wonderful event focused on literature and reading!”, Frida Edman, Book Fair director, says.

In focus: Respect has distinguished itself with qualitative dialogues, for example between Philippe Sands and Sergej Lebedev, dealing with the Holocaust and the Soviet purges. The Göteborg Book Fair’s main partner for this theme was The Living History Forum.
“It is our conviction that we need more-respectful and knowledge-based dialogues on racism. It is very pleasing that the Book Fair’s visitors have shown that they agree. When summarising our presence, we can conclude that we have hosted forty jam-packed program items at our stand and spoken with many people. This shows that there is a large demand for finding inspiration, knowledge and tools for counteracting racism”, Ingrid Lomfors, superintendent for The Living History Forum, says.

The Image Stage in the framework for the In focus: Image theme has captured the visitors’ interest with questions about how we narrate through images and how images affect us. The cooperating partners for this theme are The Reading Movement (Läsrörelsen), with their new project on picture narration, and The association of Swedish illustrators and graphic designers.

The theme Media Issues was arranged within the previously standalone meeting place Meg (Göteborg Media Days). Among others appearances were Alan Rusbridger, the former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, who presented an optimistic view of future journalism. Partner for this year’s focus on media matters was The Swedish Association of Investigative Journalism.

Three themes for the 2019 Book Fair
  • South Korea
    South Korea is the Guest of Honor and the theme country for the 2019 Book Fair. The country’s literature, publishing and culture will be presented through several of the foremost South Korean authors. Moreover, next year South Korea and Sweden will celebrate sixty years of diplomatic relations. The collaborative partners for this endeavour are the South Korean ministry of culture, the Korean Publishers Association, the Writers Association of Korea, and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea.
“We are happy about the cooperation with the Book Fair in Göteborg and the opportunity to present South Korean literature and culture to a Swedish audience. This book fair is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries which celebrates reading and literature. It will take us on a fascinating intellectual adventure”, Mr Chul Ho Yoon, chairman of the Korean Publishers Association, says.

“We are presently working on selecting authors for next year’s program and preparing the translation of their work into Swedish. I truly look forward to introducing their stories next year,” Ms Kyung Ja Lee, chairwoman of the Writers Association of Korea, says.
  • Gender Equality
    In 1919, Sweden’s Parliament (Sveriges riksdag) voted to pass universal suffrage. The Book Fair’s coming Gender Equality theme relates to the centennial thereof and will take a look into the future. A number of international authors, journalists and researchers, but also musicians and entrepreneurs, will be invited to the 2019 Book Fair. The Syrian author Samar Yazbek has already been set as a guest at the Book Fair.
“Gender equality is one of our time’s great social justice issues. By undertaking this theme, we create the conditions for a broadened and deepened dialogue on gender equality. We particularly look forward to gaining new perspectives on these issues with international guests on location”, Oskar Ekström, Program Director at the Göteborg Book Fair, says.
  • Media and information literacy
    On 1 July 2018, the written policy of Swedish schools was strengthened with a clearer mission concerning media and information proficiency and source criticism (MIL). In August, the government commissioned a national investigation for increasing resistance to disinformation, propaganda and online hate. Media and information literacy will be a theme at the 2019 Book Fair. This will take place in cooperation with Region Västra Götaland and The Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, which in parallel with the 2019 Book Fair, will host the UNESCO conference Global Media Global Media and Information Literacy Week. Additional partners are The Swedish Teachers’ Union, the Swedish Library Association, and UR (Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company).
“By situating parts of the conference at the Book Fair, we will reach many key persons to increase media and information proficiency. Librarians and teachers are absolutely crucial in this important work which Region Västra Götaland is heading together with numerous other actors. By arranging an international conference, we will obtain maximal force in the issue – from locally to globally”, Conny Brännberg, minister of culture in Region Västra Götaland, says.

“Our goal, through the theme Media and information literacy at the Book Fair, is to give librarians and teachers increased knowledge and valuable tools in their daily work”, Annica Andersson, editor of Schools and Libraries at the Book Fair, says.

Next year’s Göteborg Book Fair will take place 26–29 September 2019.

For more information, please contact
Joanna Wahlsten, press contact
+46 31 708 84 13

The Göteborg Book Fair 2019 will be held September 26-29 at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.
South Korea, Gender Equality and Media and information literacy will be in focus.

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Göteborg Book Fair, SE-412 94 Göteborg, Sweden
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