For the fourth time running the Federal Foreign Office is presenting its literature promotion programme at its own stand at the Leipzig Book Fair (13 to 16 March).
Germany's reading culture is internationally renowned – in 2006 German publishers brought out nearly 95,000 new titles, including some 5700 translated from other languages. By the same token, there is huge interest abroad in German literature, particularly fiction and books for children and young people. Through its literature and translation promotion programme, the Federal Foreign Office plays a valuable role in making German literature better known abroad, supporting the translation of German books and organizing an attractive programme of literary events designed to satisfy the great demand. For making German books better known outside Germany contributes in important ways to our cultural activities abroad: German books are not only a valuable resource for language learning but also provide information about Germany and enhance its reputation as a country that values culture and education.
Since literature, unlike music and the visual arts, can be accessed only through the medium of language, promoting translations is a major priority. We sponsor mainly the translation of German works into other languages, but we also have a small programme to help fund German translations of literary works from Asia, Africa and Latin America. This year for the first time the German-Italian Translator Prize, a joint project of the Federal Foreign Office and the Minister of State for Culture and the Media, is to be awarded in Rome. The intention is to raise the profile of translators as communicators of culture.
This year, in addition to our stand, we are once again sponsoring "Café Europa", a project of the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB). "Café Europa" will showcase the many different faces of European literature, with well-known authors from a variety of European countries reading from their own work on the theme "Urban insights – acceptance and aggression in the urban community".