FAQ on COVID-19 for Literary Programming

Last update: July 10th, 2020

Question 1

Is the Frankfurt  Book  Fair (FBM) still happening this year following the COVID-19 pandemic and  with  all the international events being cancelled right now?  

Based on the information provided by the organizers of the Fair, the FBM will take place from 14 to 18 October 2020 in a modified format.

Canada will be present in a virtual capacity this year. In addition, given the restrictions and international public health requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the FBM’s willingness to offer virtual activities this year, the Government of Canada will not be moving forward with major expenditures related to the development of the Guest of Honour pavilion for 2020. We do not therefore foresee any physical participation by the official literary delegation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2020.

Canada’s presence as a Guest of Honour (GoH) has been postponed to 2021 following discussions between the Government of Canada, the FBM and the next three Guest of Honour countries: Spain, Slovenia and Italy. Canada is currently working closely with its Federal, Provincial and Territorial partners and the Frankfurt Book Fair to develop a virtual program for the 2020 special edition of the fair. The Government of Canada will share more details in late summer once plans are finalized.

Question 2

Will the authors/illustrators of the 2020 literary delegation be included in the virtual plans for this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair? 

Canada will have a virtual presence with modest literary programming in 2020. As space is very limited, the authors and illustrators selected will receive a formal invitation shortly with more detailed information to this effect. 

Question 3

Does that mean that some authors and illustrators would be asked to travel to Germany?  

The Government of Canada’s priority is to ensure the health and safety of people in Canada and around the world. At this time, due to the COVID-19 health and safety precautions put in place by the Government of Canada, Canada FBM2020 does not support or encourage the physical presence of any Canadians at the Frankfurt Book Fair or at any events related to the Guest of Honour project. We ask that authors/illustrators refrain from making travel arrangements or modifying existing arrangements made as a result of receiving funding for this initiative. 

With this in mind, our presence at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair will rely on virtual activities to promote the sale of translated Canadian works on the German market.

Question 4

Does that mean that the authors and illustrators who signed a contract to participate at FBM 2020 will have to return the financial support they received? 

As stated in our communication to authors and illustrators on June 22, we will contact all authors/illustrators that received financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) individually to outline next steps. Canada FBM2020 and the CCA’s primary concern is to ensure that no author or illustrator will suffer any financial loss as a result of their original participation at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair or other events/festivals that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working closely with the CCA to develop and implement a simple and seamless administrative process.

Question 5

Will there be Canadian collective stands in Frankfurt this year?

On July 10, Livres Canada Books made the decision to cancel the Canada Stand at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair due to the health and safety precautions put in place by the Government of Canada as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Livres Canada Books do not support or encourage the physical presence of any Canadians at the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair or at any other events related to the 2020 Guest of Honour Project. Livres Canada Books have also indicated that they will soon be contacting exhibitors already registered based on the information they receive from the Fair regarding online rights sales activities and the various events planned.

Please note that registration for the Canada Stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2021 will begin soon.

If you have any questions pertaining to collective stands, please contact :

Question 6

I was supposed to participate in an event related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presence this spring but it was cancelled. I was asked to keep a record of the travel expenses I have accumulated using the financial support I received from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) before everything was put on hold. What should I do now?

On March 16th, the CCA stopped processing and issuing travel reimbursements related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020.

Now that Canada’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair has been postponed to 2021 and, as stated in our June 22 communication to authors and illustrators, we will contact all authors/illustrators that received financial support from the CCA individually with the next steps regarding their possible participation in the official delegation for the GoH presentation in October 2021. We are working closely with the CCA to develop and implement a simple and seamless administrative process.

Question 7

Since Canada’s Guest of Honour presence is postponed to 2021, does this mean the authors and illustrators who were invited to be part of the 2020 literary delegation will be guaranteed an invitation for 2021?

Now that Canada’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair has been postponed to 2021 and, as stated in our June 22 communication to authors and illustrators, detailed information on plans for Canada’s Guest of Honour presence in 2021 will be released in due course. It is our intention to extend the invitations that were sent to the authors/illustrators in the 2020 literary delegation to 2021.

Even though Canada’s Guest of Honour presence is postponed to 2021, an author’s or illustrator’s participation in October 2021 will only be confirmed after signing a new and/or amended contract with information on new travel arrangements and any additional financial support they may be eligible to receive. In the meantime, please continue to refrain from making any travel arrangements or from modifying any existing travel arrangements until further notice. 

Question 8

I have received an invitation to attend a festival/event/activity related to Canada as the Guest of Honour at the FBM 2020. I have received financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). Should I book my travel (ex.: Booking flights, hotel reservations)?  

No. As of Friday, March 13, 2020, a non-essential travel advisory outside of Canada was issued by the government that remains in effect. Even though Canada’s virtual activities are still moving forward for the FBM in October 2020, until further notice, we are asking you to hold off from making any travel arrangements and to wait to hear back from us before doing so. To monitor information regarding the travel notices concerning COVID-19, please follow this link.  

From March 16 until September 1, 2020, no travel compensation will be processed or issued. For those who have already incurred expenses or are in the process of being reimbursed, we are asking you to keep your receipts and make note of your expenses and await news from us before moving forward. Until further notice, we are asking you to hold off from making any travel arrangements and to wait to hear back from us before doing so.

Now that Canada’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair has been postponed to 2021 and, as stated in our June 22 communication to authors and illustrators, we will contact all authors/illustrators that received financial support from the CCA individually with the next steps. We are working closely with the CCA to develop and implement a simple and seamless administrative process.

Question 9

I have received an invitation to attend a festival/event/activity related to Canada  as the Guest of Honour at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair but I have not yet received any financial support from the Canada Council  for  the Arts. Should I book my travel anyway (ex.: Booking flights, hotel reservations)?  

Until further notice, we are asking you to hold off from making any travel arrangements and to wait to hear back from us before doing so. From March 16 until September 1, 2020, no travel compensation will be processed or issued. For those who have already incurred expenses, please notify us immediately if you haven’t already done so.  

Question 10

I have received financial support from the Canada Council  for  the Arts (CCA)  for my travel expenses for an upcoming literary event in Europe but haven’t yet booked my travel arrangements. Can I use the financial support given to me to pay for my travel/cancellation insurance? 

Now that Canada’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair has been postponed to 2021 and, as stated in our June 22 communication to authors and illustrators, we will contact all authors/illustrators that received financial support from the CCA individually regarding the next steps.

At this time, we ask that you refrain from making travel arrangements or modifying existing arrangements made as a result of receiving funding for this initiative.  

Question 11

I have received financial support to travel or tour for an event that has been cancelled. I cannot be reimbursed for some or all of my expenses. Will I have to pay back the financial support I received from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA)? 

Now that Canada’s presence as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair has been postponed to 2021 and, as stated in our June 22 communication to authors and illustrators, we will contact all authors/illustrators that received financial support from the CCA individually regarding next steps r.

Canada FBM2020 and the CCA’s primary concern is to ensure that no author or illustrator will suffer any financial loss as a result of their original participation at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair or other events/festivals that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working closely with the CCA to develop and implement a simple and seamless administrative process.


For information on updates regarding the Canada Council for the Arts financial support programs excluding the literary programming at the FBM2020, please visit the following website: COVID-19: Info update.