Canada’s Guest of Honour Role at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair Postponed

News release

GATINEAU, July 7, 2020

Canadian creativity shines bright, and the Government of Canada believes in providing our Canadian authors, illustrators and creators with the best opportunities to share their creativity with the world. The Frankfurt Book Fair provides Canadian creators with an unequaled opportunity to feature their work at the world’s largest trade fair for books. We want our creators to have the largest stage possible on which to shine, and it is with that in mind that Canada and the Frankfurter Buchmesse have agreed to postpone featuring Canada as Guest of Honour country until the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Canada would like to thank the Frankfurt Book Fair and the three upcoming Guest of Honour countriesSpain, Slovenia and Italywho have all agreed to postpone their own country spotlights by a year in order to facilitate this adjustment.

The postponement of Canada’s Guest of Honour year will provide an opportunity to showcase Canada’s publishing industry and promote the sale of Canadian titles at the Frankfurt Book Fair in its full capacity. It will also allow for further Canadian cultural events to take place on the international scene, as many of the 2020 literary and cultural events originally planned in Germany and across Europe were postponed or cancelled by their organizers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada continues to plan for its presence at the recently modified 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair. This year’s event will see a reduced physical presence, but it will feature a combination of virtual events and smaller gatherings at various venues across Frankfurt. As part of this modified fair, Canada will be inviting guests to select virtual programming over the course of the fair. Canadian titles will also remain on display and featured throughout the 2020 fair.

The health and safety of all Canadians is of paramount importance to the Government of Canada and will continue to inform our decisions related to the Frankfurt Book Fair, Canada’s Guest of Honour year and the physical participation of Canadian creators in Europe.

Canadian Heritage will continue to work with our partners in the Canadian publishing industry, the Frankfurter Buchmesse, Global Affairs Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and other key stakeholders to plan and coordinate for Canada’s role at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair. For the latest developments on the Frankfurt Book Fair and Canada’s role as Guest of Honour country, visit


“With this postponement to 2021, our Canadian creators will be able to fully benefit from the many opportunities offered by this distinction. I wish to thank our Spanish, Slovenian and Italian counterparts for their understanding and flexibility in allowing us to refocus our efforts into 2021. We look forward to making next year’s event even more special. In the meantime, we are eager to share our Canadian creativity through virtual content for the audience of the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020. I invite everyone to mark their calendars for 2021 as we showcase our amazing Canadian authors, illustrators and creators by sharing our art and celebrating the singular plurality of Canadian culture with our friends from around the globe.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“I am very grateful that, in response of the current pandemic and in collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair, we have reached an agreement with our Spanish, Slovenian and Italian friends to postpone our respective presence as Guest of Honour by one year. Canada will gladly participate in the 2020 Fair with a strong virtual presence and will be more ready than ever to be a great Guest of Honour in 2021.

“At the Frankfurt Book Fair and throughout Germany, the singular stories of Canadian authors, illustrators and artists from all disciplines will represent in a vibrant manner Canada’s plurality of voices. Our presence as Guest of Honour will not only result in increased cultural and business ties, but also in a greater knowledge of Canada’s literary and artistic landscapes, for the pleasure of all those who, from Germany and around the world, will seize the opportunity to get to know our works and our creators better.”

—H. E. Stéphane Dion, Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe

“We would like to thank the Guest of Honour committees and the authorities in Spain, Slovenia and Italy who, out of solidarity with Canada, have agreed to postpone their appearances in Frankfurt for another year in order that Canada will have the best possible opportunity to present its literature and culture at Frankfurter Buchmesse in October 2021. At the same time, we are looking forward to all the digital activities to be presented by our Canadian partners during the 2020 Frankfurter Buchmesse. This year has presented us all with major challenges, and we've seen the international book community come together in response. This cooperation between Frankfurter Buchmesse’s confirmed Guest of Honor countries is just one of many examples.”

—Juergen Boos, President of the Frankfurter Buchmesse

“Canada FBM2020 is pleased to postpone being Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair to 2021, and we will be pleased to work with our partners to support all the initiatives that will help promote our authors and illustrators, in order to ensure the sale of Canadian titles in Germany and around the world.”

—Caroline Fortin, President of Canada FBM2020

“For many years, the Canada Council for the Arts has nurtured strong, enduring, and inspiring relationships between Canada and Germany. We support the postponement of Canada’s Guest of Honour role, a measure to protect the health and safety of people around the world. We celebrate the many events featuring Canadian artists that have already taken place across Germany, as well as the hundreds of Canadian titles made available to German readers with our support—and we look forward to a banner year of even more cultural programming in 2021. The Canada Council will continue to work with the Government of Canada and its other partners to highlight the diversity, breadth, and uniqueness of arts and culture from Canada.”

—Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Canadian Heritage
Camille Gagné-Raynauld
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

Embassy of Canada to Germany
Thilo Lenz
Press Relations
Embassy of Canada
Leipziger Platz 17, 10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 30 20312 265 | Mitnet: 466-3265

Frankfurter Buchmesse
Simone Bühler
Head of Guest of Honour Programme
+49 69 2102 249

Kathrin Grün
Director Communications
+49 69 2102 170

FleishmanHillard Frankfurt (German media)
Rene Samulewitsch

Canada FBM2020
Jennifer-Ann Weir
Associate Executive Director

Canada Council for the Arts
Ashley Tardif-Bennett
Acting Manager, Communications and Engagement
1-800-263-5588 | 613-566-4414, ext. 6030

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