Literary Programming - Guiding Principles

Literary Programming - Guiding Principles

Literary Programming - Guiding Principles


One of the major commitments made by Canada to the Frankfurt Book Fair as part of our 2020 Guest of Honour (GoH) presence is the organization of a literary programming.

Canada’s GoH literary programming will include: 1) the delegation of authors and illustrators who will attend the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair to participate in various speaking engagements and presentations; 2) a series of author and illustrator visits to festivals, Literaturhäuser, residencies, and other literary events in Frankfurt and elsewhere in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland throughout 2020 as part of a broad spectrum of Canadian literary and cultural events and exhibitions linked to our Guest of Honour year; and 3) other related literary programming such as poetry slams, storytelling, readings with music, film adaptations of novels, documentaries on authors, etc.

Responsibility for planning and delivering the literary programming has been contracted to Canada FBM2020 by the Department of Canadian Heritage.  

Canada FBM2020 is now pleased to announce plans for the organization of the programming. Our goal is to work with a dedicated Literary Programming Committee and our Canadian and German partners to deliver an outstanding and diverse programming that is representative of Canadian authors and illustrators.  

We emphasize that there are two intersecting areas of interest within this project: that of Canada’s creators and publishers, who want their work presented in German-language territories; and that of German-language publishers and programmers, who have an interest in Canada yet remain attentive to their German audience. The Canadian industry will propose participants, and the German industry will make their selections from this group. A limited number of authors/illustrators/performers will benefit from this prestigious initiative.

Canada FBM2020 Mandate and Commitment to Diversity

The literary programming must represent:

  • Indigenous, Francophone, and Anglophone literature, writing, and literary expression in Canada;
  • the various regions of Canada;
  • literary and non-literary genres;
  • books for all ages: children, young adults, and adults.

The declared priorities of the Department of Canadian Heritage for this project are to:

  • promote an inclusive and diverse society;
  • work toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians;
  • engage youth;
  • reaffirm the importance of strong environmental stewardship.

Description of the Project

In early 2019, Canada FBM2020 has established a dedicated Literary Programming Committee to plan, manage, and deliver Canada’s literary programming.

Committee Member Profiles

Committee members have experience with literary festivals, fairs, salons du livre, or other similar events.   


Canada FBM2020 is planning for a minimum of 80 Canadian authors and illustrators to participate in GoH activities in 2020. The events at the Fair itself, from October 14-18, 2020, and in the city of Frankfurt during that week, will be the centrepiece of Canada’s GoH presence, and we are also planning for authors/illustrators/performers to travel to Germany to participate in other events throughout the year.

The Committee will be responsible for organizing the literary programming, with these main areas of activity:

  1. Finalize a list of criteria for the inclusion of authors/illustrators/performers in the delegation and share this list of criteria with the Canadian industry;
  2. Prepare a master schedule of literary and cultural events in which Canadian authors/illustrators/performers might participate in 2020, e.g., festivals, book fairs, readings and slams, individual author/illustrator tours, colloquia, residencies, exhibits, workshops, etc.;
  3. Communicate with the German programmers of these events to learn what is of interest to them, and then hold discussions with them to determine the Canadian authors, illustrators, performers, and topics;
  4. Assist with planning and scheduling when an author/illustrator/performer is invited to one of those events;
  5. Propose, confirm, and schedule the GoH author/illustrator/performer delegation for the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair;
  6. Maintain a master schedule for all confirmed GoH literary events.

A major milestone for Canada FBM2020, and thus for the Literary Programming Committee, is to have the delegation and reading tour lists ready, and to start the activities and promotion in Germany by March 2020, at the Leipzig Book Fair.  

Delegation of Authors/Illustrators

To a large extent, the makeup of the GoH literary programming will be based on invitations extended by German publishers, festivals, Literaturhäuser, etc.  

There will be clear criteria for authors and illustrators to be considered for inclusion in the GoH literary programming. The first criteria are:

  1. The author/illustrator has a German commercial partner for their work.
  2. The author/illustrator has a recent German release. This is an important consideration for German publishers and programmers, whose interest is in engaging the German public with new work.
  3. The author/illustrator is notable through reputation or through subject matter of interest in Germany but has been overlooked in the process of translation.

We expect there will be opportunities to program events with certain Canadian authors/illustrators whose work has not, or not yet, been published in Germany, but these will not be the main focus of the programming.


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crédits photo: Gaëlle Marcel sur Unsplash