On Sunday, October 22, 2023, the 75th Frankfurt International Book Fair ended (TIF Frankfurt) in Germany, the most important and largest international book fair in Europe. The national participation of Greece, with fifty publishers, cultural organizations and institutions, nine authors, literary critics and translators, more than 360 publications in Greek and other languages, and a multifaceted program of events, was organized by the Department of Letters of the General Directorate of Contemporary Culture of the Ministry of Culture , within the framework of the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Fund.

The renovated Greek pavilion at the Frankfurt 2023 Expo, which became a meeting center for Greek and foreign publishers and literary agents, was designed with the book’s place in the private space in mind, as well as its importance for its environment and its value as a knowledge tool in the marketplace of ideas. The stimulus for the design of the Greek pavilion was provided by two examples of libraries in the homes of artists and intellectuals, the library of Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Ghikas in his home-workshop on Kriezotou Street and the library of Patrick Leigh Fermor in his home in Kardamili in Mani.

The program of events was carried out in collaboration with the Greek publishers, the consulate general of Greece in Frankfurt and the EOT Frankfurt office. The authors Aristidis Antonas, Christos Asteriou, Nikos Davvetas, Dimitris Dimitriadis, Makis Tsitas and Elena Houzouris, the literary critic and essayist Elisavet Kotzias, the person in charge of the publishing program of Romiosini / CeMoG publications, the Free University of Berlin and the translator Costas Kosmas and the translator Michaela Prinzinger. The Greek and German-speaking public attended the seven events of the Greek program, which were organized both in the Hellenic Pavilion and in emblematic landmarks of the city, such as Café Laumer, a historic café and favorite haunt of writers and philosophers, and the Weltenleser Buchhandlung bookstore, which here and for years systematically promotes modern Greek literature to the German-speaking public.

It is worth noting the large number of meetings held with national delegations, foreign publishers and translators, as well as the publishing agreements of Greek and foreign publishing houses, as well as the agreement for the participation of Greece for the first time in the London International Book Fair with a national stand ( March 2024), as well as the agreements for translation of the State Prize Anthologies in the Balkans and Georgia.

Greece participated in the General Assembly of the European Translation Network ENLIT (European Network for Literary Translation) -of which it is a member with GreekLit, the subsidizing program for translations of titles of every category of Greek book production into other languages-, where, among other things, the Publishing program was presented 2023 Accelerator, with the aim of reducing the environmental footprint of the publishing industry to deal with the climate crisis, but it was also announced that the next general meeting of ENLIT will take place at the 20th Thessaloniki International Book Fair (May 16-19, 2024).

Greeting at the opening event held at the Hellenic Pavilion on Wednesday, October 18 (“Meeting on the subject of Contemporary Greek Writers”) was addressed by the Deputy Minister of Culture of Greece, Christos Dimas, while a short intervention was made by Deputy Minister of Culture of Cyprus, Vasiliki Kassianidou. Nikos Bakunakis, writer and university student, spoke with the author Dimitris Dimitriadis, who noted, among other things, that mortality occupies a central place in his work (“Death is an event, mortality is a state”) and stated that he believes in “literary commitment, in what Seferis calls solidarity”. The event was coordinated by Sissy Papathanasiou, translator, dramatist, director of Letters of the Ministry of Culture.

Writers Nikos Davvetas (“The Jewish Bride”, published by Pataki 2019, prize for Best Novel of the Academy of Athens 2010) and Elena Houzouri (“Uncle Abraham always stays here”, published by Pataki 2016) focused on the difficulty of talking about the Holocaust. Prose Award 2016 of the literary magazine “Hourglass”) at the event “The Holocaust in Greek Literature”, which took place on Thursday, October 19, at Café Laumer, in the presence of the consul general of Greece in Frankfurt, Ioanna Kriebardis, and the president of the Hellenic Cultural Foundation Nikos A. Kouki. The literary critic Elizabeth Kotzia pointed out that the heroes of both authors search in the past for the causes of the “awesome events” that defined their present, Nikos Davvetas emphasized that “difficult memory hardly becomes literature” and that in his writings “people are the protagonists whose life was defined by a trauma acquired in a specific historical period” and Elena Houzouri mentioned that she is concerned with issues such as wars, the uprooting of people from their native places and the traumas they cause, and she noted that always she approaches her heroes with psychological sensitivity.

The German publisher Jan Hübel intervened, noting that since 2009 he has been systematically publishing Greek authors, including “classics”, such as Cavafy, Kazantzakis and Karagatsis, but also contemporary authors (Elena Chouzouri, “Onkel Avraam bleibt für immer hier” , ed. Verlag der Griechenland Zeitung 2023) while translator Michaela Prinzinger referred to the translation of Greek literature into German as “the basis of communication between the two peoples”.

On Saturday, October 21, at the bookstore Weltenleser Buchhandlung (“Modern Greek Literature at Romiosini Publications”), the head of the publishing program of Romiosini / CeMoG, Free University of Berlin and translator Kostas Kosmas presented to the German-speaking audience the authors Christos Asteriou (“The treatment of memories”, Polis 2019) and Aristides Antonas (“The pulp of things”, Antipodes 2020) and their recently released works in German (Die Therapie der Erinnerungen and Das Schaufenster, respectively, by Romiosini 2023).

Christos Asteriou referred to the extensive research required for his book and that its central theme is the search for identity and the well-hidden secrets of each one of us, adding that the Greek language provides the author with all the tools to express irony equally well and humor.

Aristides Antonas mentioned that his book is not philosophy but stories, and that “things” – and man’s confrontation with them – are “our original sin”, and that “writing in the linguistic ruin that is the Greek it is a peculiar trial,’ though the only language in which he breathes freely.

On Thursday 19 October, at the Greek stand, the successful program of networking and business activities on topics related to the publishing industry, “Let’s Talk!”, curated and organized by Frankfurter Buchmesse GmbH in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Athen, continued Hellenic Cultural Foundation and the International Book Fair of Thessaloniki (DEBTH). At the invitation of the DEBTH for a “networking breakfast”, issues of cooperation were discussed in the context of the next 20th edition of the Thessaloniki International Book Fair, where emphasis will be placed on the inter-Balkan dialogue.

In particular, the following participated: Ivan Sršen (Sandorf Publishing) from Croatia, Linda Vogt, (Rowohlt Hundert Augen) from Germany, Arlinda Dudaj (Dudaj Publishing) from Albania, Bojan Sazdov, (TRI Publishing Center) from North Macedonia, Iulia -Cristiana Stan (Corint Publishing House) from Romania, Alma Čaušević Klemenčič (Beletrina, Beletrina Digital) and Senja Požar (Mladinska knjiga) from Slovenia, Ozgur Emir (Doğan Publishing House) and Gamze Erentürk (Kovan Agency) from Turkey and Haris Ioannidis (Armida Books) from Cyprus.

Its president Iosif Ventouras focused on the continuous effort of the Society of Writers to promote the works of its members in Greece and abroad, presenting the English-language website that showcases Greek authors to the international audience (Thursday, October 19, Hellenic Pavilion). As part of the events for children’s literature, the author Makis Tsitas visited Greek schools in Frankfurt on Thursday 19 October (Elementary & Middle School-High School) and talked with the students, and on Saturday 21 October he welcomed his young readers to the Greek Pavilion, at whom he read excerpts from his book “The Giant is Coming” (published by Metaichmio 2022), simultaneously introducing them to the secrets of writing children’s literature.