Frida Edman, Book Fair director and Oskar Ekström, program director. Photograph Natalie Greppi

Gothenburg Book Fair: The Largest Cultural Event in the Nordic Region Presents This Year’s Programme

Publicerad 13 juni 2024

Gothenburg Book Fair has released this year’s edition of its renowned seminar programme, a special milestone marking the 40th edition of the fair – gathering a veritable who’s who of Swedish authors and international visitors in Gothenburg.

This year's event promises a multifaceted experience for both literature enthusiasts and those drawn to research, science, and societal development. 300 unique conversations, interviews, and debates were recently announced at a press conference in Stockholm and at a public event in Gothenburg, in a programme featuring 862 prominent authors, researchers, opinion leaders, and public intellectuals, including 113 international guests from 29 countries. In addition to highlighting authorship and the latest publications, the program also covers current issues such as war, conflicts, history, media, and ideology. Another new feature is a psychology track, which delves into what it means to be human. A brand-new music track will be introduced, exploring the fascinating intersection between literature and music.

"This year, we're turning 40 and we plan to celebrate! Since its inception, the Book Fair has aimed to stir the soul by being the most inspiring and thought-provoking experience of the year by facilitating unexpected encounters between fascinating guests and readers. The Book Fair acts as a historical archive, reflecting and documenting the major issues and stories of our time. This year's program is no exception, offering an in-depth exploration of current topics that touch and engage," says Frida Edman, Book Fair director.

‘Sjöjungfrun’ - The Mermaid Award to Joyce Carol Oates

In honour of the Gothenburg Book Fair's 40th anniversary, the fair's iconic symbol, the mermaid, takes on new significance as a prestigious literary prize. This award is given to an active author who has touched Swedish readers. The 2024 Mermaid Award goes to Joyce Carol Oates, who first visited the Book Fair in 1987. The prize will be presented during a special seminar and award ceremony on Saturday, September 27, at 11:00 AM.

"In addition to our fantastic star, Oates, we welcome several other prominent international authors and guests, including Hernan Diaz, Maria Stepanova, Chris Whitaker, and Baek Heena. We are also delighted to host several prominent sci-fi authors, including Alastair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, and Ken MacLeod. This year's program is multifaceted and reflects our contemporary world. It addresses issues of war and conflict, history, media, and ideology, but also encompasses deep conversations and exciting guests from a range of other fields," says Oskar Ekström, program director.

A vital reminder of freedom of speech

Amid the celebration of the anniversary fair, the Book Fair will also remember those who cannot be with us. Dawit Isaak and Gui Minhai both turn 60 but are still imprisoned for expressing their free words. A manifestation will be organized during the Book Fair on the Freedom of Speech stage. Learn more at

This year's Guest of Honour: Tjállegoahte

This year's most significant cultural endeavor is the Sápmi Theme, where the Book Fair highlights the rich Sami storytelling tradition. This marks the largest Sami cultural initiative outside Sápmi ever, extending beyond national borders. With 27 seminars and 82 participants, including the esteemed guest Tjállegoahte, who hosts 15 seminars, the theme explores Sami history, literature, and philosophy. The Book Fair also welcomes indigenous guests from other countries to foster new, unexpected encounters. Visitors will be inspired and immersed in a profound storytelling tradition rooted in joik and duodji, Sami craftsmanship.

The Sápmi Theme is organized in collaboration with the cultural institution Tjállegoahte and the Sami author associations Bágo and Sámi Girječálliid Searvi, who are the honored guests of the 2024 Book Fair.

Exploring Space

Space has always served as a catalyst for fantasies, ideas, and questions about our existence and our place in the universe. Yet, space is more than just that! Today, our societies rely on space technology to function, and we find ourselves in the midst of our era's greatest space age, with vast investments in the space industry. With this theme, the Göteborg Book Fair 2024 invites profound conversations: about modern technology, the limits of imagination, and the history and future of our life forms.

This year's Space theme comprises 28 seminars, 11 of which are organized by the Swedish National Space Agency, a partner of the theme. In total, 78 guests participate in the program, which is both broad and multifaceted, bringing together researchers and prominent sci-fi authors to address existential questions. There will be a rich variety of seminars and discussions, ranging from space politics and law to science and science fiction. The program includes discussions where priests, physicists, and astronauts – Marcus Wandt, Christer Fuglesang, Sara García Alonso, and Andreas Mogensen – share their diverse experiences of and fascination with space. Questions like "Are we alone in the universe?" and "Where do we come from?" will also be reflected in the program.

School and Library

Gothenburg Book Fair has a proud tradition of promoting professional development within education and libraries. This tradition dates back to the Book Fair's origins as a dedicated library fair in 1985. Today, the fair continues to be an important gathering place for teachers and librarians from across the country to come together, network, and participate in a comprehensive program tailored to their professional development.

The professional development program within education and libraries is extensive and covers a variety of topics and themes. Library seminars offer training and insights into the importance of libraries in society. This year, discussions include topics such as staffed school libraries, banned books, and gaming in libraries. Additionally, the entire Book Fair program, with its focus on current releases and literary trends, is also of great interest to librarians, providing them with the opportunity to discover new books and authors.