10 October, 2007 - Published 15:50 GMT

Write or Wrong

Art and politics are creating an explosive mix at the world's largest trade fair for books, which starts in Frankfurt tomorrow.

The guest of honour this year is Catalan Culture. But does that include books written in Castilian Spanish as well as Catalan?

The language spoken in Catalonia has long been a fraught issue. During the Franco dictatorship the Catalan language and culture were subjected to unprecedented persecution.

Since then, it's gone from strength to strength, as the clamour for autonomy from Madrid has grown louder. The regional government in Barcelona decided that only those writers whose books are written in Catalan should represent the region at the fair.

It then reversed its decision. But by then, some leading Catalan authors who write in Castilian Spanish had refused to attend.

Among them Ignacio Vidal-Folch, who is from Catalonia but writes in Castilian Spanish.

Ignacio Vidal-Folch

The Spanish journalist Isabel San Sebastian works for the conservative newspaper, ABC.

Why then did the Catalan government originally take the decision to send only writers who publish in Catalan.

Isabel San Sebastian

Given the political sensitivities of the issue, why choose Catalan Culture as Guest of Honour in the first place?

Thomas Minkus is the spokesman for the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Thomas Minkus

First broadcast 9th October 2007

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