Themes at the Göteborg Book Fair 2021

Three different themes will be in focus at the Göteborg Book Fair 2021: Democracy, Nordic literature and a follow-up of last year's theme READ! READ! READ!


How is democracy faring? Taking as our point of departure the 100th anniversary of the first general parliamentary election offering universal suffrage held in Sweden, the Göteborg Book Fair is focusing on democracy in 2021. The theme examines contemporary challenges, historical perspectives and future possibilities.

Questions of democracy have been the subject of debate for millennia. Democracy is something that is in a constant state of flux and development. At present, the pandemic and digitalisation are redrawing the map and impacting the future course of the world.

The Göteborg Book Fair’s democracy theme encompasses more than 30 seminars highlighting the role of schools, education and the role of media- and information-related knowledge, the role of tech companies and the media, and local, regional, national and global perspectives on democracy.

This theme is presented in partnership with the 100 Years of Democracy committee, the National Union of Teachers in Sweden, the Global Square, Majblomman, and the Swedish Media Council. Together with these and other stakeholders, the Göteborg Book Fair is inviting Swedish and international writers, journalists, researchers and debaters to take the pulse of democracy and discuss its state of health ahead of the 2022 general election in Sweden.

Nordic literature

Contemporary Nordic literature is home to a myriad of literary voices and treasures who have forged its position on the global literary scene. The Göteborg Book Fair has a long tradition of serving as an expression of Nordic culture – this year we are shining the light on our neighbours that little bit more.

The geographic and cultural proximity that we have grown accustomed to has been turned upside down by the pandemic. We suddenly find ourselves further apart than ever before in the modern age. Can literature break down borders and reunite us once again?

This theme celebrates current Nordic releases. Groundbreaking, beloved authors will encounter some of the most celebrated writers of the younger generation. Join us on a literary journey across the entire Nordic region!


The theme READ! READ! READ! is more topical than ever. The proportion of children who read on a daily basis is in decline. It takes a vocabulary of 50,000 words to form an in-depth understanding of the contents of a newspaper – but without reading or hearing texts, the average 17-year-old has a vocabulary of just 17,000 words. The foundations are laid for the rich, living use of language during the preschool years by means of reading aloud and conversation.

Through this theme, we continue to highlight language and reading as the cornerstones of democratic society. The desire to read and tell stories is at the heart of this and accommodates all forms of reading: using eyes, ears and fingers. An outstanding selection of authors, researchers, experts and teachers are brought together. Profound conversations see them explore issues such as poetry and the urge to read, picture books, the appeal of classics and a new think tank. The Swedish government is also in the process of setting up a Reading Council to promote reading.

READ! READ! READ! is being delivered in partnership with the Reading Movement, which was launched at the Göteborg Book Fair 20 years ago under the slogan “Give your children the gift of language.”