The 7th Warsaw Book Fair has ended
The 7th Warsaw Book Fair and the accompanying 10th Science and Academic Book Fair ACADEMIA took place on 19–22 May 2016 at PGE Narodowy. They gathered 815 exhibitors from 25 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as 1017 authors and more than 70,000 visitors. The four-day event also featured nearly 1500 events: meetings, discussions, debates, presentations of new releases and bestsellers, competitions, literary and artistic attractions, and exhibitions. The Warsaw Book Fair is currently the biggest trade fair event in Poland in terms of the number of exhibitors.
The number of visitors to the Warsaw Book Fair this year is similar to the previous year. But... compared to the last year, we had twice as many organized groups of children and teenagers, which pleases us very much, said Jacek Oryl, Director of the Warsaw Book Fair.
Owing to the newly introduced registration system, kindergarten, primary and secondary school groups could book participation in selected events prepared by, among others: the Festival of Children's Literature, the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Stefan Wyszyński University, Czas Dzieci, EMPIK, museums of Warsaw and the region, many publishers and promoters of culture, as well as Wszechnica PAN, with its series of lectures promoting science among school children. On Thursday and Friday alone, they were attended by 7054 participants from 241 schools, kindergartens and other didactic institutions.
Two years ago we decided that one of the key goals we wanted to fulfil in the coming years was increasing interest in the Fair among the youngest readers, inducing in them the habit of annual participation in the WBF as a great celebration of books, teaching them to love books. Thanks to the additional attractions such as the Warsaw Family Weekend organised in the stadium field and the Game Festival “Lotto – The Joy of Winning”, addressed to families with children, the WBF was visited by thousands of young readers. Their happy faces are the best reward we could get. Seeing how well our undertaking has been developing, we are already planning new activities to be prepared in cooperation with publisher, to offer this group of readers an even more attractive programme next year, adds Jacek Oryl.
Guests from two linguistic areas that are not very well known in Poland: the Guest of Honour – Hungary, and Barcelona and Catalan literature – the Special Guest, have added a special dual cultural element to the Fair.
At the Hungarian stand, visitors had the opportunity to experience not only interesting literature: starting with the classics, through contemporary literature, to fascinating historical studies, but also the rich culture of that country. The extensive presence of Hungary at the WBF was related to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the commencement of the Hungarian Culture Year in Poland. Some of the guests who visited Warsaw on this occasion were: István Kovács, Endre László Varga, Csaba Gy. Kiss, György Spiró, Lajos Grendel, János Háy, Johanna Bodor and Krisztina Tóth. Hungary’s programme for the WBF had been prepared with the help of the Hungarian Embassy in Poland and the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw.
The Catalan presence at the WBF provided the opportunity for the broadest contact with Catalan literature in Poland so far. The Fair included many literary meetings, professional events, and on Thursday – the ‘Sport Meets Culture’ programme block prepared in association with FC Barcelona. Guests at the WBF: Sebastià Alzamora, Blanca Busquets, Jaume Cabré, Jenn Díaz, Rafel Nadal, Marc Pastor, Jordi Puntí, Care Santos, Màrius Serra and Jordi Sierra i Fabra. The organizer of the Barcelona and Catalan Literature feature was Institut Ramon Llull, in cooperation with the Barcelona Council and the Council for Participation, Transparency and Culture of the Government of the Balearic Islands, as well as FC Barcelona.
The Warsaw Book Fair also hosted a collective francophone stand (Salon Frankofonia) with eleven highly regarded writers: Pierre Assouline, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Elisabeth Carrier, Barbara Constantine, Paul Colize, Nedim Gürsel, Hermann Huppen, Georges Mink, Boualem Sansal, Lyonel Trouillot and Dominique Wolton. Thanks to the History and Culture Foundation, for the first time the WBF hosted a collective Ukrainian stand: Literary Ukraine, comprising 20 publishers.
Thursday and Friday belonged to professionals and the youngest readers. Saturday and Sunday, in turn – to everyone who love books. As usual, Friday was devoted to academic and science books, and Saturday was the Reportage Day – an opportunity to meet the finalists (authors and translators) of the 7th edition of the Ryszard Kapuściński Award for literary reportage.
Already for the sixth time, the WBF featured the Comic-Book Warsaw Festival, where fans could purchase the latest published comics, meet their favourite comic creators and receive a dedicated drawing. Several thousand young readers – kindergarten and school children – were attracted by the programme of the Festival of Children's Literature, literature and history lessons, literary activities, games and competitions.
Families with children were invited to the Warsaw Family Weekend in the stadium field, which was a peaceful oasis among the hubbub of the Fair, a perfect place to relax on deckchairs with some coffee, to take part in the Game Festival “Lotto – The Joy of Winning” or in the extremely popular book exchange organized each year by Lubimyczytac.pl. The Culture Department of the Municipal Office of the City of Warsaw and the Warsaw Programme of Cultural Education (WPEK) invited everyone to watch the performances on the stage located in the stadium field.
The 2016 Warsaw Book Fair was visited by over 70,128 people.
This result shows to the world that contrary to the figures showing low levels of readership in Poland, we do buy and read books here by the Vistula. It proves that great exhibition events, combined with a festival format of meetings with authors, are best for promoting books, literature and reading, says Rafał Skąpski, President of Targi Książki.
We would like to thank all those who have created this unique atmosphere at the Fair. Please come next year too! The 8th Warsaw Book Fair and the 11th Academic and Science Book Fair ACADEMIA will be taking place on 18–21 May 2017 at PGE Narodowy.
And still this year we would like to invite you to two summer open-air book-related events: on
24–26 June in Jasne Błonie in Szczecin and on 29–31 July in the Feliks Nowowiejski Seaside Boulevard in Gdynia. After the summer holidays, from 30 September to 2 October, you can take part in the second Silesian Book Fair at the International Congress Centre in Katowice, adds Rafał Skąpski.
Dorota Sadowińska-Rzepka – Project Coordinator; (+48 22) 662 109 574; email@example.com