Thursday 12th May is Opening day of the 13th Thessaloniki Book Fair

On Thurday 12th May, the 13th TBF will open its gates to the audience, while the official opening ceremony will take place in the evening of the same day at 19:00, organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, TIF-HELEXPO, the Greek Publishers and the City of Thessaloniki, under the auspices and with the support of the Ministry for Culture and Sports.

For four days, Thessaloniki will be the focal point for publishers, writers, professionals in the field as well as for the many readers that are expected to visit Pavilions 13 and 15 of TIF-Helexpo, until Sunday 15th May, for the annual book rendezvous. Above all, it is once more an important interactive meeting of people, authors and readers, about books, art and culture.

With Russia as Guest of Honour and a thematic exhibition entitled “Refugees, Then and Now, the International Literature and Translation Festival, the 3rd Young Writers’ Festival, the beloved Children’s and Teen’s Corner, the TBF presents an overall program of events.

The Fair in numbers

The number of publishers participating in this year’s TBF is almost 300, of which 214 are Greek and 80 are International, coming from 20 different countries.

The total number of events taking place is 284. Out of these events, 135 are part of the general program, 27 events are organized in the framework of the tribute to the Refugees, 46 events in the framework of the Translation Festival and 76 events are taking place in the Children’s and Teen’s Corner.

All these events are taking place with the participation of 500 speakers: writers, illustrators, translators, academics, critics, artists, musicians, journalists, librarians, educationalists, publishers and professionals specialized in the publishing field.

The Press Conference

A creative “commotion” will be created in the city by the 13th Thessaloniki Book Fair between the 12th and the 15th of May, according to the president of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Tasos Tzikas, as he mentioned in the Press Conference that took place today regarding this year’s Fair. He also mentioned the fact that Russia is the Guest of Honour and explained that it serves as a preparation for the 81st TIF, where Russia will also be the Guest of Honour.

The Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Ioannis Boutaris, mentioned, on his part, that the City aims, in collaboration with TIF-Helexpo, to make Thessaloniki Book Fair less dependent of the capital. “We want TBF to be the first sample of Thessaloniki’s autonomy”, he noted.

The ability of Thessaloniki to support big events was also noted by Ms Elli Chrysidou, Deputy Mayor for Culture of the City of Thessaloniki. She also mentioned that this year, the City’s central stand will be devoted to the refugees and all its functions will be related to this issue.

‘Titanic’ was characterized the effort which was necessary in order to keep the tradition of the Thessaloniki Book Fair alive, by the member of the board of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and associate Professor of Philology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Mr. Giorgos Papanastasiou. He pointed out, however, that this year’s Fair will justify its characterization as a great cultural event of the country. “The book, apart from being a means of transmitting culture, also becomes a pretext for culture”, he noted. Regarding Russia’s presence, he stressed that the Guest of Honour’s program of events is first class.

As an important contribution to the longstanding relationship between Greece and Russia, is viewed the Russian participation as Guest of Honour in the 13th Thessaloniki Book Fair, according to the representative of the Russian delegation, Ms Elena Sartori.

Finally, the deputy general director of TIF-Helexpo, Mr. Alexis Tsaxirlis, referred to the Fair as a great effort and a multi-event for Thessaloniki as well as for the entire country, stressing the efforts of all the involved parties and TIF-Helexpo’s personnel.

From left to right, Ms Elli Chrysidou, Deputy Mayor for Culture of the City of Thessaloniki; the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Ioannis Boutaris; president of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Tasos Tzikas; member of the board of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and associate Professor of Philology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Mr. Giorgos Papanastasiou; representative of the Russian delegation, Ms Elena Sartori; and deputy general director of TIF-Helexpo, Mr. Alexis Tsaxirlis.​

The thematic axes of the 13th TBF

This year’s multiple event fair entails:

A. The cultural program that will be presented by the guest of honour, Russia, in the framework of Greek-Russian Year 2016, is a journey into Russia’s History, Arts and Culture. Discussions with authors, roundtables, book presentations, lectures, collaborative functions with Russia’s great museums, educational linguistic and translating programs, events for adolescents and children will be part of this big tribute to Russia. It is a program with many dimensions, in order to depict the cultural profile and the existing bonds in the field of books, of arts and of education, providing us with a panorama of the country’s current cultural reality. At the same time, the existing or possible relations with Greece’s cultural life will be accentuated, whether concerning the presentation of a program funding translations and publications of Russian books in Greek, or the contemporary publishing activity of Russian monasteries on Mt Athos. More details can be found in the press release regarding the Guest of Honour.

B. The thematic exhibition of this year’s Fair entitled Refugees, Then and Now aims to demonstrate the contemporary reality of this problem, as well as its historic dimension, and entails: Scientific and sociopolitical Discussions and Daily Conferences, Literary approaches as well as Testimonies, Documentary screenings, Art exhibitions with different art forms - painting, engraving, sculpture, video, constructions – book presentations and readings with a simultaneous projection of audiovisual material about regular publications, as well as publications in the form of comics, a thematic book exhibition as well as photographic exhibitions.

All these events will take place in the Fair but also at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art with the participation of distinguished academics, university professors, writers, illustrators, journalists, artists, directors, actors, musicians and professionals in the field of books.

The thematic exhibition is organized with the collaboration of: the City of Thessaloniki; the Historical Archive for Greek refugees of the Municipality of Kalamaria; the Central Municipal Library of Thessaloniki; the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art; the Publishers; ERT3; the Enosis Ellenon Bibliothekarion (Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists); the School of Visual and Applied Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Greek Office); the group Ex-ils; and other artists.

C. The multicultural spirit which governs the international character of the TBF is supported in this year’s Fair by the participation of 24 international writers and a Translation Festival which poses and treats the issues of language and communication of ideas through translation and translators.

In particular, the international writers who are participating and meeting their audience at the 13th TBF are: 3 from England (Rob Davis, Daniel Hahn, Philip Kerr), 2 from France (Marc Boutavant, Laurent Binet), 1 from Germany (Carmen-Francesca Banciu), 5 from Israel (Yishai Sharid, Orly Castel-Bloom, Avirama Golan, Alon Hilu, Yael Dayan), 2 from Italy (Diego Marani, Luigi Ballerini), 4 from Canada (Rawi Hage, Madeleine Thien, Joseph Kertes from the Toronto International Festival of Authors, as well as Denis Thériault), 1 from Croatia (Ivan Srsen), 2 from Romania (Rostas Zoltan, Monica Savulescu Voudouri), 3 from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Vladimir Martinovski, Stojcevska Antik Vera, Vlada Urosevic) and 1 from Basque Country (Katixa Agirre Miguélez).

In this year’s Fair, 20 countries are participating with their own stands: Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Korea, Romania, Russia (Guest of Honour), Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine.

The International Literature and Translation Festival will be hosted in the room “BABEL, in the world of Translation”, Pavilion 15, focusing on the important role of our “worldwide language”, translation, and pointing out its contribution to multiculturalism, via a complete four-day program of events, workshops and discussions.

D. As a continuation of the 1st Young Writers’ Festival, organized in December 2011 by the National Book Centre, as well as the second Festival, organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture (in the framework of the 12th TBF) but also due to the warm welcome that it received from the young writers and the public, the 3rd Young Writers’ Festival will take place this year, giving the stage to new literary voices. The criteria for the selection of the participants were the following: The participants had to be up to 40 years old, they had to be authors of up to two books and they couldn’t have participated in the two previous Young Writers’ Festivals.

In addition, it was attempted to maintain a balance between Athens and Thessaloniki (and the rest of Greece), poets and prose writers, short story writers and novelists, male and female authors, as well as to include a wide spectrum of ages. There was also an effort to cover most trends in the literary production of the younger writers, as well as to represent through them older well-established but also newer independent publishing houses and magazines. At the same time, recent works are represented, as well as young authors who have already been

honoured or nominated for state – and other important – awards. Moreover, this year the participants of the 1st Young Writers’ Festival were asked to take part, in order to share their already five-year old experience since they were awarded.

In this year’s Festival, the space where it is taking place is indicative of its identity, since for the first time it will be held in the Gallery Room, in Pavilion 15 of the TBF, creating an open and at the same time protected nest (a ‘nestival’), away from – but in constant communication with – the buzzing of an international Book Fair. The goal is the creation of a reflective framework of focus and concentration, as well as a sense of union with the Fair’s larger landscape. The Festival starts on Friday 13th May in the afternoon and will continue on Saturday 14th May for the whole day.

In the Festival’s framework, three discussions are taking place, but mostly many readings and various events, so as to create a touch of interaction between the young authors and the audience, through other arts as well, with the participation of musicians, drama students and actors and the coordination of director Sofia Karakantza.

E. Among the main attractions for the visitors of the Fair is the Children’s, Teen’s and Teachers’ corner, where multiple events are organized, including narrative, interactive and overall imaginative presentations of the currently circulating books, together with presentations of the issues that revolve around the social and academic life of all those who contribute to education, as well as the parents.

Another important function is the one the organizers were inspired to do under the title Tracks with words and pictures. In the framework of the thematic exhibition of this year’s Fair, more than 100 authors and illustrators have responded to the invitation of the organizers to write phrases and paint pictures with refugees as a theme. Their words and pictures will become tracks to be followed by young and older visitors of the Fair, leading them to the children’s corner.

The majority of the program was assorted in reference to the suggestions made by 27 publishers of children’s and teen’s books: Agyra Publications, Anatypo Publications, Kyriakidis Bros Publications, Varfis Publications,, Diaplasi Books, Diaplous Publications, En Plo Editions, Epomenos Stathmos, Fagottobooks, Ikaros Publishing,, Kastaniotis Editions S.A., Kedros Publishers, Key Books, Kokkini Klosti Demeni Publications, Kokkino Publications, Kyriakidis Editions, Livani Publishing S.A., Mati Publications, Methexis Editions, Metaichmio Publications S.A., Nefeli Publishing, Nomiki Vivliothiki S.A, Pataki Publishers, Porphyra Publications, Syghronoi Orizontes

The participation of Foundations, Institutes and Institutions, that will be presenting their work and contributing by sharing their experience as well as by relative functions, is very important. The participating parties are:

Onassis Cultural Centre of the Onassis Foundation (Cavafy Archive), the French Institute of Thessaloniki, Greek IBBY National Section - Circle of the Greek Children’s Book,the Enosis Ellenon Bibliothekarion (Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists), the Public Library-Art Gallery of Thermi and the Artistic Bindery N.P. Leivadioti.

F. In the framework of the 13th TBF there will be Special Events, which include:

  • Events in honour of Aristotle for the official Aristotle Anniversary Year 2016. In view of the coming World Congress “Aristotle 2400 Years” organized by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from 23rd to 28th May, there will be a pre-conference discussion with the same topic. Participants: Periklis Mitkas, Professor of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rector of A.U.Th.; Dimitra Sfendoni-Mentzou, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Science, A.U.Th.; Ioannis Seiradakis, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics, A.U.Th.; Zacharias Skouras, Professor of Genetics, A.U.Th.; Aris Stylianou, assistant Professor of the School of Political Sciences, A.U.Th.; Konstantinos Katsampalos, Professor of the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering, A.U.Th.; Stavros Avgoloupis, Professor of Astronomy, A.U.Th.; and Spyros Pavlidis, Professor of the School of Geology, A.U.Th. Presentation of Complete works of ARISTOTLE, in particular, the new, bilingual scientific edition with commentary (Nissos Publications). Speakers: Vasilis Kalfas, Professor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Philosophy, A.U.Th. and Pantelis Basakos, Professor of Philosophy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences.
  • Events in view of Kazantzakis Year 2017. THE ECUMENICAL AND TIMELESS DISCOURSE OF KAZANTZAKIS. Pre-celebration tribute to the ‘vigilant’ of the Greek nation, occasioned by the announcement of 2017 as ‘NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS’ Year. A representative of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture will give a welcoming speech to the audience. Speakers: Zoi Samara, Professor Emeritus of A.U.Th. –poet – translator – president of the Society of Writers of Thessaloniki; Dimitris Kokoris, assistant Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, A.U.Th.; and Kostas Arkoudeas, writer. Excerpts of works by Kazantzakis will be read by the actor Dimitris Vagias. Presentation: Stelios Loukas, journalist, poet. 
    Organization: Society of Writers of Thessaloniki / ‘A book, A journey’ TV show on TV100 / Hellenic Foundation for Culture

    Speakers: G. Stasinakis, president of the International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis; D.Ch. Gounelas, Professor of Modern Greek Literature, A.U.Th. Coordinator: Giouli Ierapetritaki, historian – archaeologist – representative of ISFNK in Thessaloniki.

  • Events for the 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. Presentation of the bilingual publication Sonnets by William Shakespeare. The book was translated and contains an Introduction by Lenia Zafeiropoulou. Speakers: Lenia Zafeiropoulou, poet – translator; Orfeas Apergis, poet – translator; Kostas Dardanos, publisher.

    Event with the title ‘William Shakespeare – 400 years later / The tomorrow we were seeing yesterday’. Five poets converse, through their original texts, with excerpts, fragments and sonnets from the work of the great British dramatist. Participants: Thomas Ioannou, Elsa Korneti, Dimitris Leontzakos, Dora Kaskali, Georgia Trouli. Coordination – reading of biographical information: Giorgos Alisanoglou (part A). Dimitris Dimitriadis as a translator of Shakespeare. Coordination: Giorgos Alisanoglou (part B)

Moreover, throughout the Fair there will be professionals’ meetings, thematic day conferences, translation workshops, speeches, roundtables, film screenings, artistic and theatrical events.

The 13th Thessaloniki International Book Fair constantly looks forward to broaden the horizons of reading, to the support of Greek publishers, the accentuation of new authors but also the acknowledgement of older native and international ones, as well as to connect all the above to the sociopolitical national and international circumstances. Above all, it constitutes an important interactive meeting of people (authors and readers) about books, art and culture, while the authorities, scientific and cultural institutions and bodies, as well as the city’s academic and educational community participate in this year’s fair both actively and on a symbolic level, rendering it a major social event.

A comprehensive program of events as well as thematic press releases can be found on TBF’s website:

12 to 15 May 2016
Free Entrance