Home 5 News 5 Letter from Frankfurt: freedom of speech has a difficult challenge as author pulls out

Letter from Frankfurt: freedom of speech has a difficult challenge as author pulls out

by | Oct 20, 2021 | News

It has been a dramatic few hours at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  The screen writer, activist and author Jasmina Kuhnke, whose father was Senegalese and whose mother is Croatian, cancelled her appearance at the fair because of the presence of the German New Right publisher Jungeuropa.  She had been due to talk about her debut novel Black Heart.  She said simply that the Frankfurt Book Fair was “no place for Nazis”.

It is understood that she was particularly annoyed that the events space ‘the blue sofa’, where she due to speak, is right across from Jungeuropa’s stand.

Founded in 2016, Jungeuropa is run by Philip Stein who has a leading position in One Percent, a network for members of the German New Right, an extreme right-wing nationalist movement.  At Frankfurt the publisher has a large photograph of one of the dark moments in French history adorning its stand.  It shows far right protesters rioting on Place de la Concorde in 1934, near the seat of the French Assembly.  It looks like an eerie precursor to the storming of the Capitol in Washington in January 2021.  The police shot and killed 15 demonstrators during the disturbance.

Responding to Kuhnke’s decision, the Frankfurt Book Fair and the German Booksellers and Publishers Association issued a joint statement. “We regret that individual authors have decided not to appear at Frankfurter Buchmesse. Their voices against racism and in support of diversity will be missed at the book fair.

“With our own programming and that of our partners, we send clear signals for a diverse society and take a stand in favour of interacting with others in a tolerant, respectful way. In doing so, we clearly distance ourselves from extreme positions. Frankfurter Buchmesse has always been a place for discourse where questions of human rights, freedom of speech and expression, and how to respond to extremism have been addressed.

“Freedom of expression and publication are, for us, paramount. They are the basis for engaging in a free exchange in our democracy and for having a book fair at all. Frankfurter Buchmesse and the German Publishers & Booksellers Association are committed to promoting freedom of speech and freedom of the press worldwide. That is why it is also clear for us that publishers who operate within the law can exhibit at the book fair, even if we do not share their views. In our constitutional democracy, banning publishing houses or their publications is the role of the courts and not individual actors like Frankfurter Buchmesse.

“Ensuring the safety of participants at the book fair is our top priority. The fair is organised based on a comprehensive security plan that makes it possible for everyone to visit the fair safely.”

Recent News

24Jun
Boris Johnson to “Unleash” Political Tell-All Amidst Election Turmoil

Boris Johnson to “Unleash” Political Tell-All Amidst Election Turmoil

HarperCollins wins former PM’s memoirs With the Conservatives trailing in the polls in the UK, HarperCollins has announced it is to publish the memoirs of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  Unleashed will be published in the UK by William Collins on 10 October and in the US by Harper on 15 October.   The Conservatives […]

20Jun
Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

A rare edition of J.K. Rowling’s cherished novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has fetched $57,200 at an auction in Edinburgh, Scotland. This copy is among the first 500 printed in 1997, distinguished by a misspelling of “Philosopher’s” and a duplicate listing of “1 wand” on the equipment list on page 53, making these […]

20Jun
A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

The UK’s MacleHose Press, part of Hachette-owned Quercus, has bought the latest example of what some are dubbing ‘healing fiction’.  MacLehose Press will publish Korean feel-good bestseller Yeonnam-dong’s Smiley Laundromat by first-time author Kim Jiyun in August 2024. It will be released in a translation by Shanna Tan, whose first book, Hwang Bo-reum’s Welcome to […]

Related Posts

Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

Harry Potter Rarity Auctioned for Over $57,000

A rare edition of J.K. Rowling’s cherished novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has fetched $57,200 at an auction in Edinburgh, Scotland. This copy is among the first 500 printed in 1997, distinguished by a misspelling of "Philosopher's" and a duplicate...

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

The UK’s MacleHose Press, part of Hachette-owned Quercus, has bought the latest example of what some are dubbing 'healing fiction’.  MacLehose Press will publish Korean feel-good bestseller Yeonnam-dong’s Smiley Laundromat by first-time author Kim Jiyun in August...

Barnes & Noble Acquires Tattered Cover Bookstore

Barnes & Noble Acquires Tattered Cover Bookstore

Barnes & Noble is to buy Denver’s Tattered Cover, one of the world’s most famous independent bookstores.  According to news site Denverite, the deal – for $1.83m– will see Barnes & Noble retain the famous name on Tattered Cover four shops.   The deal is being...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest