Sunday, November 01, 2015

Claretians at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Ever since 1985, Fr. Alberto has been a regular participant of the Frankfurt Book Fair - the largest bookfair in the world. This year we were seven participants from the Claret Publishing group, representing Macao, Argentina, Brazil, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Hong Kong and the Philippines. Particpation and even a visit to the Fair is expensive in Frankfurt, yet Claret Group is a regular participant as it offers an opportunity to make ourselves known to the rest of the publishing houses, especially those representing the world of religious publications.  

Fr. Jijo Kandankulathy, Director of Claretian Publications in Macau, a first time participant in the Frankfurt Book Fair, shares his Frankfurt experience:

I was new to Frankfurt and the Book Fair (FBF). Being in FBF was a different experience from the hearsay. My mental association with other book fairs was connected to a booklovers community that discussed ideas and theories that might change the world. Along my wanderings to different booths, I did want to buy every good book on the shelf, but eventually realized that FBF is all about business. People came there for buying and selling copyrights, translation rights and finding out popular reading habits across the world.  
A walk through downtown Frankfurt: Alberto, Dennis and Jijo
This year, the fanfare of the FBF was the presence of the Satanic Verses fame, Salman Rushdie. Iran chose to boycott the Fair altogether because of Rushdie whom they had issued a Fatwa, years ago. Imagine the poser of a writer to hold a whole country at bay!
Julia, representing the Amity Printing, explains the new
challenges and solutions in the printing of books
In the inaugural address, Rushdie passionately defended the freedom of expression and compared the writers to front line warriors without tanks and guns to fight. I regret that I had not learned enough German to understand the live telecast of the interviews with the authors, which appeared serious fodder to the inquisitive minds...

On my way back, the maple trees that had blushed to red with the kiss of the autumn gentleman around for some time bemused me. Ah! The backdrop for the romantic scene of creation saga must have been cast here along the sides of Rhine. Thanks Frs. Devadas and Thomas for tricking me to fall into the mesmerizing German autumn spell.

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