Even if you’ve never been, you know the Frankfurt Book Fair is a big deal–the biggest deal, maybe. But even if you know about the movie deals, the hours and hours of publisher education, and the demonstrations of slick new digital technology, you still only have part of the story. Frankfurt is certainly about narrative in all its (plat)forms, but the world’s largest book fair has grown to accomodate even more than that. From contests, to fine cuisine, to a journey to the birth of the universe (for real, though), there’s so much more weird and wonderful going on here than you ever dreamed.
The Hobbit Cosplay Award. Classic literature meets ComicCon meets international entertainment industry with the first ever Hobbit Cosplay competition at Frankfurt. First prize is a trip for two to New Zealand–2012 Book Fair Guest of Honor and geographically accurate location of The Shire (as imagined by Peter Jackson).
Advanced preview of the Nintendo Wii U. Seven weeks before it officially launches in Germany, Frankfurt Book Fair Storydrive will host a chance for “fair visitors… to try out the first Wii U games and to get acquainted with completely new forms of interactive video games,” on the new console, according to the press release. All the more evidence of the “platform agnosticism” that defines Storydrive.
Book-making, the old, old-school way. The Gutenberg Museum – Mainz will be making an appearance in Hall 4.1 Q533 to let visitors try their hand (and elbow grease) at a replica of Gutenberg’s printing press. If you’re visiting the birth-country of the modern book industry, you ought to pay your respects.
A reality-TVesque chance to snag investors for your new media enterprise. The five most compelling proposals for a new media undertaking (of those submitted
between September 3-20, 2012) will be presented at Storydrive and live streamed to “a select audience of business angels and potential investors.”
Cooking demonstrations. The Gourmet Gallery has been around for a few years in order to give dimension to the many culinary franchises who attend the Fair. Just last year, the Fair asked Leon Joskowitz to help found the Frankfurt Culinary Festival in conjunction with the Book Fair, and especially to highlight the International Guest of Honor. This year, New Zealand will benefit from this partnership with “New Zealand Is Cooking.”
Rub shoulders with elementary particles and quantum physicists. Researchers from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are setting up in the STEM publishing hall (Hall 4.2, Stand B 1422) with an interactive “LHC Time Tunnel” built especially for the Frankfurt Book Fair. “It takes visitors into the microworld of elementary particles … it also allows simulation of the collision of 2 protons with LHC energy.” There will be friendly physicists milling about to answer all your questions. Including, presumably, “What is the origin of life?”, “Does God exist?”, and “Where do babies come from?”
Bid on medieval manuscripts. No bit of book business is left out, even the collectible, centuries-old part. You can see some photos of the annual Antiquariatsmesse in our homepage slideshow of “Frankfurt Old and New”, but the full range of images on the website are stunning and deserve closer inspection.
Dance performances–lots of them: Since choreography is so central to traditional Maori artistic culture, this year’s Guest of Honor programming involves a range of dance performances, but especially kapa haka.