New Zealand honoured guest at Frankfurt book fair

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The Independent Culture

New Zealand will be the guest of honour at the world's biggest book fair in the German business capital Frankfurt in 2012, organisers said Wednesday.

Fair director Juergen Boos, visiting Auckland along with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, said Frankfurt would spotlight the country for its vibrant blend of European-derived literature and indigenous traditions in storytelling.

"New Zealand offers a cultural experience of extraordinary intensity," he said in a statement issued in Frankfurt about the fair running October 10-14, 2012.

"The multicultural identity of New Zealand is based on sweeping stories, whether conveyed orally, written, sung or filmed."

He cited world-class authors such as Katherine Mansfield, Michael King, Janet Frame, Keri Hulme and Alan Duff, as well as poet Hone Tuwhare, who was the first to translate Maori verse into English, and novelist Witi Ihimaera.

But he noted that only a few New Zealand writers were published in German including Alan Duff, Patricia Grace, Ngaio Marsh and Anthony McCarten - a deficit that the exposure at the fair can help to change.

The 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair will take place October 12-16 with Iceland as the guest of honour.

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