Book Fair (Bokmässan) 2018: Highlights


The 2018 Book Fair ended successfully in Gothenburg aka Göteborg with 85,371 visitors attending the four day event. According to the organisers, there were representatives from 32 countries in the seminars and exhibitors from 29 countries. There were 3,726 programmes ranging from socio-political discussions to writers and publishers talking about their books to Swedish memory ace Jonas von Essen sharing memory techniques to an audience.


  • Next year’s book fair is from 26-29 September 2019
  • The dominant themes of the fair were RACISM, RESPECT, IMAGES. The definition of race from Swedish perspective is not only discrimination on the basis of colour but also includes religion (antisemitism) and sexual orientation (LGBT, HGTQ). TALK RACISM attracted the attention of visitors because of the sensitivity of the issue and its location at the fair.
  • Samir Badran & Viktor Frisk the music duo told that their celebrity stardom also brought them stress and no free time (fritid) for pastimes along with fun.
  • GAPF (Glöm Aldrig Pela och Fadime) reminded the visitors the need to keep fighting against honour killings and honour culture usually practised among some immigrant communities.
  • #jagärhär made its presence felt and reached out to visitors as to what it does and why: fighting against trolling, spamming among others.
  • Anna Benson the activist sported moustache and brought attention to men and women: more men die of prostate cancer every year (10,000 men die of prostate cancer and most of the deaths are avoidable if screening was done at an earlier stage)
  • SEMINARS ORGANISED BY Meg. OVER 2 DAYS: Meg. is Sweden’s meeting point for media professionals, academia, politicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, communicators and media executives meet to talk about all issues related to journalism, media and communications in the backdrop of digital technology. At the seminars organised by Meg. Issues ranged from democracy, research, technology, business models in contemporary and future media landscape and state of journalism in Sweden. During the exclusive two-day seminar, the bigwigs of professionals attended and shared their views and experiences. FGJ is also part of the seminar programmes, and it is the Swedish association of investigative journalists, and publishes a magazine titled SCOOP four times a year. Meg. organised 37 seminars in two days, and some of the seminars were packed with visitors and few had more panellists and speakers than the audience.
  • At some of the seminars organised by Meg., there was an interplay of sounds from the adjacent venues: mix of voices from two seminars. For example at a seminar titled ‘Hur svenska medier beröringsskräck?’ – How Swedish media handles terror/propaganda? In this, Cathrine Gyldensted (Constructive Journalism Network), Janne Josefsson (SVT), and Anders Lindberg (Aftonbladet) participated in the seminar moderated by Belinda Olsson (SVT). A panellist on the theme told that the Swedish media does a decent job but what prevents it from doing cutting-edge investigative journalism is to stick to ‘political correctness’ and its pro-establishment outlook.
  • Media researcher and scholar Ulrika Andersson from SOM (JMG), University of Gothenburg presented her findings about journalists’ working conditions and was a panellist on working environment for journalists along with Jonas Nordling from Journalistförbundet. (Peter Dahling the photojournalist from Faktum said ‘years ago Bokmässan used to give coffee for journalists but not now – budget’. There were 917 journalists at the fair to report about the event for their respective media organizations).
  • Kersti Forsberg and colleagues from FOJO: Media Institute, Linnaeus University in Kalmar and Växjö presented their findings about the news coverage during the 2018 Swedish elections. She told that there was no Russian interference in the elections.
  • Alan Charles Rusbridger the former editor of The Guardian newspaper in the UK spoke about Investigative Journalism. He told the audience about what prevents newspapers and journalists from doing investigative journalism but why they should do it – public service is the role of journalism. He told that the Swedish media can help its society from polarising if the newspapers lift the paywalls because the people will pay them back with their loyalty and trust. Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Nowis his latest book.
  • Mikhail Viktorovich Zygar the independent Russian journalist was at the Meg. seminar and spoke about Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin and how is it for a journalist to work independently in Russia. He told the two dozen audience in a seminar hall of hundreds that anyone can be locked up in Russia and there is no judicial or legal remedy.
  • Nichiren Buddhism was introduced at the fair by Frederik Hultman from Stockholm. Nichiren Buddhism is a branch of Buddhism started by a 13th century Buddhist reformer named Nichiren, and its philosophy is interpreted in 21st century by Daisaku Ikeda. Frederik told that by practising Nichiren Buddhism he has overcome his eating disorders and more at peace with himself and others for he practises meditation and Nichiren Buddhism.
  • MUSLIMER FOR FRED: Ask a Muslim was the slogan of ISLAMS AHMADIYYA FÖRSAMLING. It made it clear to the visitors and those who asked a question that Islam is a peaceful religion and condemns terrorism, antisemitism among others.
  • Hotel Havana in Varberg had a stall at the book fair, and made the leaders of Cuban Revolution Che Guevara and Cienfuegos look like caricatures as part of its publicity posters.
  • The book fair was not only about books, publishers and printers but also about selling gold and silver, cheese and paintings among others.
  • Jessica Fleetwood the sculptor from Dalsland displayed her sculptors – metal brassieres. She said harassment of women and girls continues and the fight should go on.
  • Rolands Kazaks from latgales druka the Latvian Printing Company came to the fair for the fourth successive year. He said the business is increasing marginally, and he also likes Gothenburg and the eatery ‘TUGG’.
  • At the Global Square of the fair, many international themes were highlighted. Olaf Palme International Centre’s Secretary General Anna Sundström was present and shared the ideology and legacy of Olaf Palme. She said Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström did a great job as the foreign minister echoing the vision of Olaf Palme.
  • published 29 stories, ethically and journalitically sourced, on Instagram @gothenburg400 ranging from photos, videos, photo collages and photo+video collages. If you are interested, please check.
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