Monday, October 15, 2012

Grisly Lunch: Kiwi crime at Frankfurt Book Fair

Overnight, New Zealand time, the crime fiction of our country was featured at the world's premier book fair in Frankfurt, with authors Paul Cleave, Paddy Richardson, Greg McGee (Alix Bosco), and Chad Taylor in conversation with Wulf Dorn at the A Grisly Lunch event, as part of New Zealand's 'Guest of Honour' series of events at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair. More than 300,000 international publishers, buyers, and readers were expected to visit the fair during over its five days. As Guest of Honour, New Zealand created a 2,500 square metre special pavilion (pictured above right), described as "an island in twilight, floating in an ocean under a starry sky". The theme of New Zealand's guest of honour programme was "While You Were Sleeping" - appropriate, given the time differences and our location at the other end of the world. According to on-the-ground reports, New Zealand's Guest of Honour status has been strongly embraced by German media and others, and the pavilion has been one of the most popular Guest of Honour programmes in recent memory.

Edit: Apparently New Zealand has broken all sorts of records in terms of the popularity of its pavilion and Guest of Honour programme - see a media release from Frankfurt organisers here.

So a big bouquet then to all the organisers - who have copped a bit of flak back here at home over the past few months, and various people in the books industry focused, somewhat negatively, on what wasn't being included, rather than what was. From all the reports I've read in recent days, the New Zealand programme has been a huge success. Hopefully we can kick on from here and expose more of our terrific authors to a wider global audience.

Given German readers' penchant for crime and thriller writing, it's great to see four of our top exponents of the genre showcased at Frankfurt. Cleave, of course, will already be quite familiar to German readers - his debut THE CLEANER, was the #1 crime/thriller title on a few years ago, and his critically acclaimed subsequent books have also been popular best-sellers there. But just like there is more to contemporary Scottish crime writing than fore-runners Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, or more to Scandinavian crime writing than Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, there is a lot more depth and breadth to recent New Zealand crime writing than 2011 Ngaio Marsh Award winner Cleave. So it's great to see an international audience further exposed to Richardson, Taylor, and McGee/Bosco - along with other New Zealand crime writers whose books have been or will be translated into German thanks in part to preparations for and exposure arising from the Frankfurt Book Fair.

I have yet to hear directly from any of the authors about the A Grisly Lunch event, post-event, but I will share news and feedback with you as it comes to hand.

You can see more about the authors and the event here.

Have you ever visited the Frankfurt Book Fair? Were you there this year? I'd love to hear any 'on-the-ground' feedback or experiences.

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