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France handed over GuestScroll to Georgia

15 October, 2017

Frankfurt, 15 October 2017 – Every year on the last day of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, a very special event  takes place. On Sunday afternoon, the acting Guest of Honour takes its leave and hands the role over to the future  Guest of Honour in a formal ceremony. An actual object, the  “GuestScroll”, was created especially for this purpose and,  every year, the  next Guest of Honour adds a literary contribution to it. France chose a quote from Paul Ricœur:

„Hospitalité où le plaisir d’habiter la langue de l’autre est  compensé par  le plaisir de recevoir chez  soi, dans sa  propre demeure d’accueil, la parole de l’étranger."
„Linguistic hospitality, in which the pleasure of inhabiting the language of others is repaid by the pleasure of receiving the word of the stranger in one’s own home.“

Georgia’s addition to the “GuestScroll” is an excerpt from the national 12th-century epic “The Knight in the Panther Skin” by Shota Rustaveli:

The sun shines alike on roses and dung, on everything we see. You, alike to the greatest and the lowly, merciful  should be.
The one who’s getting bound binds  himself; the generous bind the free.
The sea’s waters flow in and flow out: be generous like the sea.

Pénélope Bagieu,  French author and  illustrator and  the  Georgian author Davit Gabunia were  present on stage for the “GuestScroll” handover.

Paul  de  Sinety,  Chairman of “Francfort en  français / Frankfurt auf Französisch”, concluded: “France’s appearance  as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse was at the same time an invitation to the French language. It was a great honour and  pleasure for us, and  an exceptional opportunity to rethink  the  Europe of culture together with our German friends.  This is a vision we would  like to share with our Georgian friends.  In this sense, the  fact that  Georgia has been invited to be the  Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018  Guest of Honour is very symbolic and  we wish our European neighbour beyond the borders of the European Union all the best.”

Juergen Boos, Director  of the Frankfurter Buchmesse, said: “This year’s Guest of Honour,  France, expanded our view of the  French-speaking world.  We  got  to  know  the  richness, thematic variety  and  contradictions of  French-language literature, which  is written and  read  far beyond our  neighbouring country’s national borders. Georgia’s participation heralds a Guest of Honour whose millennia-old cultural roots  remain largely unknown to many of us. We look forward  to making literary discoveries and are very excited to see which personalities and stories the Georgian organising committee will present in October 2018.”

Georgia’s contribution to the “GuestScroll” has been added in the elegantly curved letters of the Georgian alphabet. This unique script is also very important to the British-Georgian singer Katie Melua, who provided the musical accompaniment for the Handover Ceremony: “I have it to thank for making me develop a love of reading books, which has played a decisive role in forming my personality”, said the artist. “Georgia  is always in my heart. My work is part of my character, which was formed not least by Georgian letters.”

Medea Metreveli, Director of the  Georgia 2018  Guest of Honour Committee, promised that  more  exciting  and  unusual encounters lie in store for next year. “With the  slogan ‘Georgia - Made  by Characters’ we want  to present the  country’s great literary tradition, which stretches all the way back to the fifth century and is so rich in genres, and the unique script in which  it was  written”,  explained Medea Metreveli.  “We want  to show  how, since Georgia’s independence, Georgian literature has established itself in a completely different and  experimental way and  has once again  developed its own identity.  Finally, we want  to share with the  whole  world  our  historical and  cultural experiences and  our answer to the challenges of the modern world.”

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