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Basel denies book fair rift

Basel book fair director Stephan Lips insists there is no question of rivalry with the Geneva fair.

He says it makes sense for them to overlap because it could open a new page in establishing synergies between two similar events in different cultural regions of Switzerland.

"We have had contacts about future coordination through the Swiss editors' and publishers' association, and we are waiting for it to arrange a meeting between us and the organisers of the Geneva fair," he told swissinfo.

Among other things, Lips and his colleagues would like authors attending one event to also make public readings at the other, thus helping to build bridges between the two linguistic regions.

Of the more than 260 publishers attending the Basel fair, about 97 per cent of them are from Switzerland and Germany, making the event an almost completely German-language one.

A literary festival - entitled "Europe Speaks" - is taking place parallel to the fair in Basel. This involves some 160 authors meeting the public and reading extracts from their works at various venues in the city.

At a time when surveys are revealing declining numbers of book readers everywhere, Lips says that in one important respect the two fairs share a common goal: "We all want people to read more books."

swissinfo, Richard Dawson


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