'The Wow! Countries'

Artistic Director Bart Moeyaert launches his creative ideas on the upcoming representation of the Low Countries at Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

The internationally renowned author Bart Moeyaert will be the Artistic Director of the guest-of-honour programme at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2016. Both the Flemish Literature Fund (FLF) and the Dutch Foundation for Literature (DFL) are proud and lucky to have him on board of this ambitious project. According to Moeyaert: ‘The aim is to present the Low Countries in Frankfurt in such a way that visitors remember them as the Wow! Countries.’

Who is Bart Moeyaert?

Flemish author Bart Moeyaert is held in high regard by his colleagues, by the public and by the media, in both Flanders and the Netherlands. He has an extensive international network and his work has been translated in twenty-one languages. Nineteen of his books have been published in German translation, most of them by Carl Hanser Verlag and by translator Mirjam Pressler. Moeyaert also has a strong relationship with the German language area, where he regularly holds workshops and appears on stage at festivals. He has been attending the Frankfurt Book Fair for twenty-five years and knows it from the inside out. Moeyaert writes prose and poetry for readers of all ages and in doing so, builds bridges between different literary genres and authors. He is passionate about all kinds of art forms, enjoys experimenting with digital media, is continually searching for innovative ways of involving his readers, has gained experience at organizing multidisciplinary productions and is extraordinarily creative. These qualities make him the perfect person to fill the role of artistic director.

Breathtaking programme

‘I’m going to look for a simple concept with a clear message,’ says Bart Moeyaert. The guest of honour programme will be breathtaking and transcend all the clichés. ‘A guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is memorable only if you can still recall that unique atmosphere years later,’ Moeyaert continues to explain. ‘You remember what it was like to step into the guest of honour’s hall, you know where you were sitting when you experienced that particular event, you can still see the writers in front of you. That’s what we have to achieve, presenting the Low Countries in Frankfurt in such a way that visitors remember them as the Wow! Countries.’

New literatures

Promoting Dutch and Flemish books via new (social) media, reaching large and varied audiences of all ages, will be the main objective in this challenging project. Since the last presentation of the Low Countries in 1993, new generations of authors, publishers and readers have lined up, and new literary genres have flourished. The German and international reader will be able to savour new literary forms and he will be invited to renew his views on the rich literary heritage of the Low Countries. Also, he will be surprised by the innovative potential of a thriving performance culture, with crossovers amongst literature, music, theatre and the visual arts.

In search of partners and sponsors

The Frankfurt Book Fair takes place every year in October. With around 7,300 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, over 9,000 journalists and some 275,000 visitors, it is the largest and most important book fair in the world. Guests of honour in recent years have been Argentina (2010), Iceland (2011), New Zealand (2012) and Brazil (2013). This year’s Ehrengast is Finland and next year’s will be Indonesia. At this stage a wide range of possible partners from the Flemish and Dutch cultural and literary field are being invited to come and sit around the table and help spark ideas for the edition of 2016. The Dutch and Flemish publishing worlds, authors’ associations, literary societies, professional organisations, and Dutch and Flemish cultural foundations have already been contacted. Based upon those initial exploratory conversations, more concrete plans will be developed in the course of 2015.