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Frankfurt Book Fair shines a spotlight on African publishing

African publishing was front and centre at the world’s biggest book fair this October as APIF grantees and partners gathered for our second Spotlight on Africa showcase of 2022.

The collective stand and half-day seminar at Frankfurt Book Fair emulated the successful first Spotlight on Africa programme, at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, in March. 

During the weeklong fair, ten former APIF grant winners and the DAISY Consortium—which is training African publishers in the arts of accessible publishing under the APIF’s final iteration—co-exhibited their work on a large collective stand in Hall 4.1. FBF22 BAQ

On Thursday 20 October we held three public, moderated discussions covering promotion of accessible (inclusive) publishing in Africa; education and reading on the African continent; and transforming libraries to better serve contemporary communities.

IPA President and APIF architect Bodour Al Qasimi opened the seminar, thanking the Frankfurt management for making the Spotlight on Africa possible. She also noted ruefully that the APIF had entered its final phase and would end on 31 December 2022.

In his keynote speech, German Foreign Office cultural relations head Carsten Wilms paid tribute to African creativity and efforts to raise its international profile. ‘We’re grateful to the many actors in the publishing industry as well as in civil society, academia and the broader society who share and advance this goal of putting the spotlight on Africa,’ he said.

Three discussions followed, between APIF grant winners, APIF committee members, and others close to the APIF’s work. See the programme.

FBF 22 panel librariesFrankfurt Book Fair President and CEO Juergen Boos then told the packed seminar he was determined to deepen his fair’s engagement with African publishers, and that the Spotlight programme was an encouraging first step towards that goal.

Closing the session, APIF programme manager Ben Steward saluted the remarkable character of the grantees.

‘These are real changemakers who live according to a set of values, and who make it their purpose in life to leave the world brighter today than it was yesterday,’ he said.