World literature: alive, well and doing great business
Frankfurt Book Fair 2014
7 November 2014 - Victor Schiferli
My first visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair was in 1993 – the year that the Netherlands and Flanders were joint guest of honour at the Buchmesse for the very first time. In those days I was working as a junior for what was then known as the Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature (NLPVF) and I could hardly believe my eyes as I took in the halls filled with books, stretching as far as the eye could see. Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander was in attendance, and Harry Mulisch and Cees Nooteboom were enjoying their respective literary breakthroughs in Germany. At a reception I found myself standing next to an immaculately tailored young woman with a pageboy hairdo with whom I exchanged a few polite words – she turned out to be Donna Tartt. In short, world literature was alive and well and doing great business in Frankfurt.