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“Plenty of Luther” at the Leipzig Book Fair

The glass hall during last year’s Leipzig Book Fair. (Photo: Leipziger Messe GmbH/Tom Schulze)

Current political debates will once again impact on the Leipzig Book Fair. The public need to talk about the future of society and the future has never been so great as this year, according to the director of the Book Fair Oliver Zille, speaking in Leipzig. He pointed to issues such as the Ukraine conflict, populism in Saxony, Germany and Europe and the threats to freedom of expression in Turkey. But this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation will also play a leading role in Leipzig.

The Leipzig Book Fair, which this year takes place between 23 and 26 March, is the most important spring meeting of the book and media sector and is aimed at readers, authors and publishers. Overall, the organisers are expecting 260,000 visitors, including 195,000 at the Leipzig Exhibition Centre. The Leipzig Book Fair, with its reading festival “Leipzig Reads” will feature 3,300 participants at 3,400 events on 411 stages in the city of Leipzig, 160 of them at the Exhibition Centre itself, where 2,400 exhibitors will be represented, says Zille.

No topic as strong as Luther and the Reformation

Zille notes, “There’s plenty of Luther at the Fair”. The Reformation 500 ago was “a revolution in human thought”. Hence the Book Fair will be looking both back and forwards. Renate Nolte of the Vereinigung Evangelischer Buchhändler und Verleger (Union of Evangelical Booksellers and Publishers) sees a certain dominance of works on Luther at this year’s Book Fair. “There certainly isn’t a subject with as much coverage this year,” the managing director told the Evangelischer Pressedienst (epd – Evangelical News Agency). The literature on the jubilee year and the reformer includes all genres. Along with specialist theological works there are books for children, audiobooks, literary fiction and graphic novels. There are also academic publications on the subject, added Nolte.

Many publications get to grips with “the entire age of the Reformation”, Nolte notes. Along with Luther, the reformer Thomas Müntzer (1489–1525) and Luther’s wife Katharina von Bora (1499–1552) are well-represented. Another prominent publication at the Trade Fair is the Luther Bible. “It’s also part of the concept ‘Reformation 2017’,” explained Nolte. She anticipates that the Book Fair will provide a general impulse for the jubilee year. Although publishers and bookshops are beginning to get the impression that there is enough literature on Luther, “I think the Germans haven’t extensively recognised the anniversary in all areas,” she explains.

Impression of the Leipzig Book Fair in 2016. (Photo: Leipziger Messe GmbH/Tom Schulze)

Five Luther books are being presented on 23 March as part of the reading festival “Leipzig Reads”, which is running parallel to the Book Fair. The “Religion Reading Island” will introduce people to unusual perspectives on the reformer. For instance, works introduced there will examine the “Catholic Luther” and ponder “Why Luther touches our hearts”. But the role of women in the Reformation era will also be debated.

Luther is also very present at the 23rd Antiquarian Book Fair, with Luther prints, the index volume to Luther’s complete works from 1568 and autographs on dealing with Luther and the question of how to celebrate him. A contemporary approach to Luther and the Reformation is provided by the participants in the nationwide poetry slam series “machtWORTE!”, which opens on Wednesday in the Old Stock Exchange. The competition jury includes the author Thea Dorn, the theologian Dr. Alf Christophersen and the historian Prof. Dr. Susanne Lachnit.

Another focus of the Book Fair is the partner country Lithuania. Around 60 events are concerned with Lithuanian literature, culture and society. The country is represented by 26 new publications, including by Eugenijus Alisanka. A total of 100 Lithuanian artists and authors feature in the 60 events.

The programme “Europa21” will see roundtables on the future of Europe. Participants include the former director of the Polish Institute in Berlin, Katarzyna Wielga-Skolimowska, the Turkish Banu Güven, the former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Martin Roth, and the actor Katja Riemann. Last year’s themes were migration and refugees. This year the focus is more on European society.


Source:epd/Leipziger Buchmesse Date:21-03-17
Leipzig Book Fair, Martin Luther, Anniversary of the Reformation, literature, books


In the Leipzig Debate, Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon und Karlstadt confronted the theology professor Johannes Eck from Ingolstadt and questioned the pope's exclusive authority to teach.


Leipzig Book Fair

Leipziger Messe, 04356 Leipzig

Opening Hours
23 to 26 March 2017
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Unlimited ticket 33 Euros
Day ticket 17.50 Euros, 14 Euros reduced
Day ticket Saturday 19 Euros, 15.50 Euros

Further information at