The 13th Thessaloniki Book Fair, which took place at Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre, from 12th to 15th May, proved to be – despite certain difficulties – one of the most successful Fairs in recent years, as it was admitted by all the involved parties, attracting more than 54,000 visitors.
In an atmosphere of creative synergy all the participants: organizers, publishers, writers, illustrators, translators, university teachers, academics, visual artists, directors, musicians, educationalists, artistic groups of the city, libraries, professional unions relative to the field of book publishing, as well as readers-visitors, managed to bring out the festive character of this year’s Fair.
Young and older students participated in the interactive events of the Children’s and Teen’s Corner, learners, on their own or in working groups, attended events that interested them, they sought and noted information that could be of use to their studies, and university students had the chance to attend and actively participate in scientific, literary and artistic meetings, student choirs and orchestras from the city pleasantly surprised the guests of the Fair with their music at various spots, artistic happenings and parallel exhibitions, everyone and everything contributed to this 4-day celebrating event.
The multifaceted program of events-discussions, screenings, presentations by the organizers and the publishers’ stands attained the visitors’ interest. In particular:
- The journey into Russia’s History, the Arts and the Culture, presented by the Guest of Honour, Russia at the country’s stand, was formulated in an original and modern way and attracted the interest and the curiosity of the visitors.
- The audience participation was intense at the thematic exhibition Refugees, Then and Now, there was interest about the historical and archival approaches, people were moved by the testimonies that were read or narrated and very troubled by the current situation, which is tormenting millions of people on the planet.
- The BABEL room was lively and interactive throughout the Fair, it hosted International writers and the Translation Festival and focused on the importance of our ‘worldwide language’, translation, stressing its contribution to multiculturalism through a program of events, functions, workshops and discussions with writers, journalists, literary critics, experienced and novice translators.
- The 3rd Young Writers’ Festival hosted three main discussions, but mostly many readings and various events, contributed to a creative dialogue between young authors, with the participation of musicians, drama students and actors.
- The Children’s and Teen’s Corner was visited by organized groups of 1,643 students and thousands of children and adolescents. In total, 76 events took place, which entailed book presentations, meetings with writers and illustrators, theatrical and artistic events, seminars, experiential learning workshops etc. with the participation of 105 writers, illustrators, animateurs and educators.
At the same time, the following events were given special prominence:
- The visual arts exhibition by the group Ex-ils, entitled ‘Visual notes on expatriation’ which was inaugurated at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art on the same day the 13th Thessaloniki Book Fair opened its doors to the public, attracting a large number of visitors. It is the exhibition of a group of artists that have been preoccupied for many months with the refugee issue and the way the painful and multidimensional issue of expatriation has been managed, with works of different art forms – painting, engraving, sculpture, video, constructions.
- The special events about Aristotle, Kazantzakis and other emblematic figures of Discourse and literature.
In addition, the fact that more than 500 speakers participated in the events is impressive: authors, illustrators, translators, academics, literary critics, visual artists, musicians, journalists, librarians, educationalists, publishers and specialized professionals of the publishing field, making the areas of the Fair bustling with people.
At the same time, for the duration of the 4-day 13th TBF, the exchange of views and experience for the evolution prospects and constant upgrading of this meeting played a very important part, not only between publishers and professionals of the book industry but also among journalists, the organizer of the Fair and other organizing parties, and, even more, the reading audience which made a dynamic appearance.
The appeal of this Fair is also proven by the fact that this year there was a serious discussion among the co-organizers about the Fair’s organizing direction as well as its closer connection with the city of Thessaloniki.
The 13th Thessaloniki Book Fair, which by general admission constitutes a major cultural event in Greece, has proven that it doesn’t just endure in times of adversity. On the contrary, it marches steadily towards creative evolution.
THESSALONIKI BOOK FAIR
12 to 15 May 2016
TIF – HELEXPO, PAVILIONS 13, 14 & 15