PANZ president Kevin Chapman (below right) believes it is too soon to truly know how successful our Guest of Honour Year at FBF was for New Zealand’s publishing industry. “When we receive reports from publishers and authors and collect the feedback due at the end of November, we will then be able to say results and benefits have accrued.
“Nevertheless, we can say at this point that Frankfurt Book Fair management are extremely pleased to have had New Zealand’s presence. We’ve broken every previous record for Pavilion attendance, and we drew in the biggest public attendance over the final days, so we upheld our part of the deal.
“It was hard to say goodbye to Juergen Boos, Claudia Kaiser, Simone Buehler and Karina Goldberg as we had been such a good team, and they were incredibly supportive of everything we tried to achieve. We deeply appreciate their help and involvement in making this an incredible focus on our country at an international event.
“PANZ thanks must also go to the rest of the New Zealand team: Tanea Heke for a stonkingly good cultural programme; Andrew Patterson and Mike Mizrahi for a Pavilion which astounded everyone who went near it; and Michelle Tayler for massive coverage in German media. But within the industry special thanks and commendation must go to Sarah Ropata for the amazing feat of bringing off a top notch books and author programme.”
Once back in NZ, Kevin got out the original proposal document he and Sam Elworthy drafted three years ago and used for presentations to government and agencies. “We said we would get senior politicians to the launch, have a substantial NZ trade presence, involve NZ Tourism, have an engaging cultural programme and provide a writers and book base on which New Zealand could promote itself... We did all that and the FBF and large number of Germans went mad about New Zealand!
“Our people worked so hard. We were under-staffed, under-resourced and under-funded, but we did the Kiwi thing and pulled it off!”
Frankfurt not just about GoH
Alison has grateful thanks for the efficiency of the Germans. “I put my iPad down, and accidentally left it; but within half an hour it was back in my hands. They had worked out whose it was and where to find me!”
It was Debra Millar’s first time at the Frankfurt Book Fair: “A huge learning curve, but very useful and great to be there in our Guest of Honour year. Every single appointment I’d made turned up, which I gather isn’t always the case,” said the Penguin NZ publisher.
“I’ve come away with three serious expressions of interest from English and Dutch publishers – we now have to see how the titles can be adapted for other markets. There is also interest in a new unpublished novel across France and Germany that will be put to reading committees. Publishers are enthusiastic about one particular cooking title, but we still have lots of hurdles to jump and the discussions could go on for some time.
“Our German agent is also 100% positive and says there has been a genuine engagement with our publishing and respect for the quality of writing and publishing which should pay off over the next year.”
Debra did a six-day Frankfurt and back journey, which with the long days – one evening she had three commitments – is something she won’t repeat in the future.
The full. quite lengthy, interesting report, along with more photos, can be read at PANZ Newsletter