Gothenburg Book Fair is the biggest cultural event in the Nordic region and one of the most significant book fairs in Europe, with more than 80,000 visitors, over 800 exhibitors, and 300 seminars.
Each year, thousands of programmed events take place on stages and stands throughout the stunning venue, while a prominent Guest of Honour adds their own stamp to the event with their literature, food and culture. International agents meet with Swedish and Nordic publishers in our rights centre to broker a plethora of deals. Gothenburg Book Fair is a hub for literature and inspiring and thought-provoking cultural debate.
By promoting education, literacy and the role of literature in society, we work together to make the world a better place.
THE BOOK FAIR’S VISION is to stir the soul by being the most inspiring and thought-provoking experience of the year. And when we say we want to make the world a better place, we mean it. No other book fair offers a programme of seminars as extensive as ours. Gothenburg Book Fair was founded in 1985 by Bertil Falck and Conny Jacobsson, two passionate enthusiasts who were determined to create breath taking moments for book lovers through literature and cultural debate. Since then, Gothenburg Book Fair has grown enormously and now receives more media coverage than any other event in Scandinavia.
TODAY, THE FAIR is an exciting event not only for professionals within the cultural sphere but for the public at large. Around 40% of visitors are professionals, of which the two largest subgroups are teachers and librarians who strive constantly to ensure we read more.
THE MAIN VENUE is always buzzing with life and a passion for reading, with fiction and non-fiction, children’s literature, educational materials, comics, and periodicals all jostling for space side-by-side with public agencies, charitable organisations and the media.
THE BOOK FAIR is an arena that seeks to inspire – it focuses on the encounter between authors and readers, provides teachers and librarians with a platform to develop their skills, serves as an industry party and a high point for the wider reading public, acts as a forum for wide-reaching debate and freedom of expression, and allows for the discussion of specific industry issues. It also serves as a big book store!
GOTHENBURG BOOK FAIR makes a crucial impression on debate in wider society, with its impact resonating far beyond Sweden’s borders. At the heart of the Book Fair programme is a high profile, curated seminar schedule featuring more than 300 events, which sits alongside thousands of other events taking place on stages and stands throughout the exhibition centre. It is this particular focus on content that makes the Gothenburg Book Fair completely unique. It allows for the most unexpected encounters between contemporary authors, researchers and journalists – bringing the world new perspectives on the biggest issues of our time.
“Audiences flocked to the stand, national and international media reported, and we continue to watch the triumph of Nordic literature and culture around the world.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Michel Ende, Neil Postman
Doris Lessing, Anthony Burgess, Régine Deforges
Tormond Haugen, Roald Dahl, Joyce Carol Oates
Joseph Brodsky, Isabel Allende, Fay Weldon
Yasar Kemal, Suzanne Brøgger, Nawal El Saadawi
Margaret Atwood, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, Willy Brandt
Stefan Heym, José Saramago, Erika Jong
Germaine Greer, Julian Barnes, Amos Oz
Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, Ben Okri
Günter Grass, Norman Mailer, Fatima Mernissi
Seamus Heaney, Doris Lessing, Orhan Pamuk
Imre Kertész, Hanna Krall, Nick Hornby
Margriet de Moor, Günter Wallraff, Tahar ben Jelloun
Don Rosa, Uri Orlev, Ana Maria Shua
Ingo Shulze, Ingrid Noll, John le Carré
Vasil Bykov, Neil Gaiman, Kim Yong-juk
Jilly Cooper, Donna Leon, Moses Isegawa
Johannes Salminen, Eeva Kilpi, Noam Chomsky
Anna Politkovskaja, Olga Tokarczuk, Diana Gabaldon
Jeffrey Eugenides, Joanna Trollope, Märta Tikkanen
Jenny Diski, Roddy Doyle, Dario Fo
Orhan Pamuk, Jung Chang, Hanne-Vibeke Holst
Jaan Kaplinski, Desmond Tutu, Simon Sebag Montefiore
Nora Ikstena, Herta Müller, Michael Ondaatje
Rosa Montero, Isabel Allende, Robert Goddard
Nadine Gordimer, Jonathan Shapiro, Denis Mukwebe
Uwe Timm, Nina Hagen, Herta Müller, Jonathan Franzen, Sofi Oksanen
Tomas Tranströmer, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, Erlend Loe
Mircea Cărtărescu, Karl-Ove Knausgård, Richard Ford
Michel Laub, Desmond Tutu, Conn Iggulden
Péter Esterházy, Masha Gessen, Antony Beevor
Patti Smith, Lisa Jewell, Oscar Nakasato
Arundhati Roy, Sally Rooney, Tarja Halonen
Philippe Sands, Sergej Lebedev, Alan Rusbridger, Jacqueline Woodson
Han Kang, Samar Yazbek, David Nichols
Jonathan Safran Foer, Salman Rushdie, Svetlana Alexievich
Jonathan Franzen, Kim Thúy, Vigdis Hjort
Koleka Putuma, Siri Hustvedt, Greta Thunberg
EACH YEAR, THE TONE and theme for the Gothenburg Book Fair is set by our Guest of Honour – a specific country or language, region or culture.
The Guest of Honour benefits from a large-scale, eye-catching and centrally-located stand at the event which is guaranteed to receive many visitors. Our food outlets tailor their range to the Guest’s culinary highlights, readings and artists from their country are showcased at VIP receptions, and the opening of the Book Fair as a whole takes place at the Guest’s stand under the gaze of cultural stakeholders, authors, journalists, politicians and readers.
As our prominent Guest of Honour and the centre of attention, you will be afforded a unique opportunity to market your country, culture, literature and authors to more than 80,000 visitors and in excess of 700 journalists. The book fair generates over 7000 articles in the media, and highlighting our Guest of Honour is always at the top of our agenda.
South Africa was Guest of Honour for 2022, and organised 30 programmed sessions, while also inspiring some 70 further events across other stages and venues. This created a significant impact on both the public and the media before and during the Fair.
“Our participation as Guest of Honour at this year’s edition of the Gothenburg Book Fair has been an invaluable opportunity for Korean authors and publishers to meet the people of Sweden. I hope that the continued exchange between our publishers and countries will lay the foundations for us to work together to secure the future of books, literacy, peace and democracy.”
AHEAD OF THE year in which the Guest of Honour is in residence, we plan a range of high-profile activities to prepare literary and cultural stakeholders for the theme that is going to be introduced to the Nordic market. We work in partnership with the Guest to plan events at our International Rights Centre to ensure that right from the start there is increased interest in the literature of your country among Nordic agents. We arrange for multiple delegations comprising authors, journalists and agents to visit the theme country and we draw up a robust communications plan. All attention is directed towards our Guest of Honour throughout this process.
THIS IS A GREAT opportunity to feature authors from the Guest of Honour’s country before and during the fair. It is also an opportunity to encourage more translations before and after the fair. The Book Fair and Guest of Honour work closely together to achieve a range of impacts across the Nordic publishing industry to ensure a successful and mutually beneficial partnership for both parties.
PAST GUESTS OF HONOUR: Brazil, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Gothenburg Book Fair is the most important marketplace for Nordic literature. In Sweden, almost one in five of all published books are translated from another language. Foreign authors account for 58% of fiction sales in Sweden.
Our International Rights Centre (IRC) brings together a plethora of agents and publishers from around the world as they buy and sell rights. This represents an excellent business and networking opportunity. The IRC is renowned in the book industry as an intense professional
forum which also manages to be qualitydriven, composed, professional and personal it brings agents together and affords them direct access to the rest of the exhibition centre.
Fellowship programme To increase the knowledge of Sweden’s literature and book market the Swedish Arts Council and Gothenburg Book Fair provide a fellowship programme for translators from Swedish into other languages, as well as non-Nordic publishers and sub-agents interested in attending the Gothenburg Book Fair.
WELCOME TO GOTHENBURG – a city of islands in the heart of Scandinavia. Sweden’s second largest city Gothenburg – known to its denizens as “Little London” – is a city experiencing constant growth, as well as a sustainability pioneer in one of Europe’s fastest-developing regions.
Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, declared “Here shall the city lie” when Gothenburg was founded and issued its charter in 1621. Much has happened since then, and today Gothenburg is a hub of innovation thanks to its two world class universities, its three Science Parks and its diverse and successful business sector – not to mention the biggest port in Scandinavia. And let's not forget that Gothenburg has been named the world's most sustainable city six times in a row!
THE CITY IS home to global companies in both the automotive industry and the Life Sciences. But above all, Gothenburg is a city where we read to our children and where books are the point of departure in ensuring that every child has a good start in life. For more than a quarter of a century, Gothenburg has been a sanctuary for artists and writers subjected to persecution and threats – it is a city that always defends free speech. It is only natural that Gothenburg has been designated a UNESCO City of Literature.
GOTHENBURG BOOK FAIR takes place in the heart of the city at the
Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, offering the best possible experience for all. Everything is under one roof – Book Fair, hotel, restaurants, spa and anything else you might need over the course of several intensive literary days. And all just 15 minutes from the airport.
“Gothenburg is still undergoing huge changes as it transitions from being an international trading and industrial centre to being a creative city with superb gastronomical credentials and plenty of new reasons to visit. Our experience-based sector is going from strength to strength, and the book fair is an important part of this.”
WELCOME TO SWEDEN – one of the world’s most competitive and internationally-focused countries, as well as one of the world’s most equal and democratic countries.
Today, Sweden is home to around ten million people, which is the biggest population in the Nordic region. We Swedes have grown in number since the turn of the millennium, largely thanks to a positive net migration rate.
A DESIRE TO experience and play a part in the world as well as our own country defines us – up to 90% of Swedes speak English, a number comparable to that of Canada. Perhaps our positive experience of change is the driving force: over the course of less than a century, industrialisation, post-industrialisation, our educational system, democratisation, and other steps towards an increasingly equal society transformed Sweden into what it is today.
OPENNESS TO NEW experiences also defines our relationship with nature – in literature as in life, the Nordic landscape holds a special place in our hearts. As Swedes we take pride not only in its beauty but in our generous Right of Public Access, and the work done to preserve our clean air and waterways.
SWEDEN’S REAL PEDIGREE lies in its vibrant export market – this is primarily in the fields of electronics, machinery, cars, paper, iron and steel, but the country has also achieved great success internationally with Swedish cultural exports, largely thanks to our successful authors. Writers such as August Strindberg and Selma Lagerlöf, Astrid Lindgren, Tomas Tranströmer and Stieg Larsson, as well as today's authors such as Fredrik Backman, Sara Stridsberg, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, and Camilla Läckberg, as well as many others, are read all over the world.
In Sweden, the reading of books actually increased in 2021 by 6.3% compared with the year before, according to the Swedish Publishers’ Association.
Everybody is here. Nobel laureates and world leaders, executives, politicians, authors, researchers, the entire publishing industry, journalists, opinion-shaping movers and shakers – in fact all those who love books.
Literature is the very foundation of our gathering, with the author at the centre of what we do. We must continue to stir and thrill the soul while also ensuring we make the world a better place. We will ensure that Gothenburg upholds its status as the cultural epicentre of northern Europe thanks to the Gothenburg Book Fair.
Here at the Gothenburg Book Fair, we will do our utmost to ensure you get the maximum benefit from your participation.
Please get in touch for more details and to start your partnership with us.
FRIDA EDMAN is an acclaimed leader with extensive experience in the areas of event design, meetings and development in the education, media and cultural sectors. Since her appointment to the role of Book Fair Director in 2017, Edman has worked together with the team to push the event into the future through a range of development initiatives that have put the Gothenburg Book Fair on the international publishing map. Edman was the driving force behind Gothenburg’s successful application to be designated a UNESCO City of Literature. In recognition of this, as well as her ability to strengthen partnerships with literary stakeholders in the city, she was awarded the City of Gothenburg’s badge of merit for her resourcefulness in 2022.
OSKAR EKSTRÖM has many years’ sterling experience in producing talks, debates and films both in Sweden and internationally. He has spent almost twenty years working together with Swedish publishers and other cultural stakeholders, and he has a wide network in the book industry, media and the third sector. He has also headed up major international projects with a focus on literature and human rights, including in the area of refuges for persecuted authors. Ekström holds a developmental and strategic role at the Book Fair alongside his work managing the team responsible for the curation of the event’s considerable seminar programme which serves as a hub for Swedish culture.