A crowd at the Gothenburg Book Fair. Image (C) Niklas Maupoix/Göteborg Book Fair.
The main theme of this year's Gothenburg Book Fair is bildung, a term that refers to the German tradition of self-cultivation. Image (C) Niklas Maupoix/Göteborg Book Fair.

Gothenburg Book Fair - Focus on Bildung and Cultivation 

British Authors in Sweden - 28th September - 1st October 

This year, the Gothenburg Book Fair considers the place of democracy and its meaning in 2017. The main theme for the fair is bildung, a term that refers to the German tradition of self-cultivation, wherein philosophy and education are linked in a way that refers to a process of individual and cultural maturation. To help answer what bildung is in today’s world, attention turns to Finland, a nation which celebrates her centenary this year, and writing from the Republic of Ireland. In addition, seminars will give platform to a number of well-known British writers. British Council Sweden looks more closely at the mindset behind three in particular, each of whom could be seen as having their own, unique take on bildung: the historian Peter Francopan, the writer of romantic comedy Sophie Kinsella, and the Queen of crime fiction, Val McDermid. 

Peter Frankopan: The Historian 

Peter Frankopan, who is half Swedish, is Professor of Global HIstory at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. His research concentrates on historic relations between religions and borders: Islam and Christianity; the Mediterranean, Russia, the Middle East, Persia and Central Asia. In 2009, Francopan translated The Alexiad from Greek for Penguin Classics and in 2012 authored The First Crusade: The Call from the East. Francopan regularly shares his views on past and present world relations in the international press, with articles appearing inThe New York Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian and China Daily. In 2015 his book, Silk Roads, was named The Daily Telegraph's History Book of the Year and went to Number One in the Sunday Times Non-Fiction charts. The New Statesman has described the historian as 'the history rock star du jour' and Svenska Dagbladet has labelled Francopan an ‘exceptional historian’.

Peter Frankopan reassesses our world history on 29th September from 13.30-13.50.

Sophie Kinsella: The Novelist 

Born as Madeleine Sophie Wickham, Sophie Kinsella started using a pen-name early on in her career. The first two novels in her best-selling Shopaholic series, The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Abroad, were adapted into the film Confessions of a Shopaholic in 2009. Her books trace the daily dilemmas of young women living in a crazy modern world, and have been translated into over 30 languages. Having initially started out as a musician, Kinsella decided to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at university, before working in financial journalism and writing her first novel aged 24. After seeing her character, Becky Bloomwood, come to life in Confessions of a Shopaholic, Kinsella responded that, despite the Hollywood treatment of her novels, the movie "had exactly the right tone to it and it had the spirit of the books, recognisable moments and scenes and characters and everything that readers love and that I love."

Sophie Kinsella will be sharing conversation, laughter and a cup of tea with British novelist, Jenny Colgan, on 30th September from 15.00-15.45.

Val McDermid: The Crime Writer

Val McDermid is one of the biggest names in crime writing. From the journalist Lindsay Gordon to the private investigator Kate Brannigan and the psychologist Tony Hill, her notable characters and their personal stories and investigations haunt her many novels. McDermid splits her time between Manchester and Edinburgh where she lives with her partner and son. After growing up in Kirkcaldy on the East Coast of Scotland, a small town famous for producing linoleum, McDermid started writing Report for Murder in 1984, which was published by The Women’s Press in 1987. She gave up her day job in 1991 and has been making a living through writing ever since. Journalism, as well as an interest in the uses and abuses of social media, play an important part in her writing process. McDermid was the crime reviewer for the Manchester Evening News for four years, and now writes for various national newspapers and broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. "Most days," she says, "I feel like one of the very lucky ones."

See Val McDermid will discuss her writing and her use of social media with journalist Maria Neij on 1st October from 14.00-14.45.

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