Beijing book fair growing in size and popularity

Posted 2 years ago in NEWS & ARTICLE

As an ambassador of reading, writer Liu Zhenyun will be the "torchbearer" for the 24th Beijing International Book Fair to be held at the new Beijing International Exhibition Center from Aug 23 to 27.

"Books are torches that light up human ideas and thoughts. Book fairs distribute the torches and stimulate exchanges," he says.

Liu says he has been visiting many international book fairs and he's glad to see the Beijing one growing bigger. It's now the world's second largest as others shrink in scale.

He will talk about literature creation and translation with French publisher Genevieve Imbot-Bichet, Israeli translator Kobi Levi, and Czech writer Iva Pekarkova during the fair.

This year, the fair will be held together with the 15th Beijing International Book Festival.

Lin Liying from China National Publications and Import & Export (Group) Corporation says the combined events will "highlight international copyright trade with professionals as well as promote the delight of reading among general readers".

The 2017 fair covers an area of about 92,700 square meters, the largest in its history.

Lin says about 2,500 publishing organizations from 89 countries and regions will attend the literary feast. Publishers from Oman, Azerbaijan and Ukraine are to attend for the first time.

Among the 300,000 titles on exhibition, 10,000 have been selected for a special showcasing books with high quality and far-reaching influences that were published in the last five years in Chinese and foreign languages.

The selected books also represent the Party's governing philosophy, the country's progress in multiple areas, and how Chinese titles are read by a more global audience. Xi Jinping: Telling the Stories, published by People's Publishing House, is one such publication.

"BIBF is a window of world publishing and also of Chinese publishing's global presence," Zhao Haiyun, from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said.

"The fair grows stronger over the years because Chinese publishing is growing and the China-foreign cultural exchange deepens. Chinese publishers take global publishing as an important section of their business, they keep on updating knowledge and exploring new areas of endeavor," Zhao says.

Zhao added that Chinese publishers have set up 400 organizations overseas and are working with 500 publishers from 70 countries.

As usual, stories and literature are important fair elements. Authors like sinologists Wolfgang Kubin and Xu Zechen will release new books. BIBF Literary Salon draws more than 70 writers worldwide to Beijing.

Acclaimed international authors, translators and publishers will be awarded for their contributions to bringing Chinese stories to a global audience with the 11th Special Book Award of China. So far, 88 authors, translators and publishers from 40 countries have been honored with an award.

The Belt and Road Initiative will be a highlight among the 1,000 events to be held during the fair.

The BIBF key publishing forum will discuss international publishing cooperation, focusing on the initiative, on Aug 22. Professor Wang Yiwei from Renmin University will speak.

Zhao says Chinese publishers will share their experience of exploring the market in countries involved with the initiative and will invite their international peers to offer their insights.

The university plans to initiate a B&R academic publishing alliance during the fair to further promote research and exchanges.

Iran is the fair's guest of honor, with more than 100 publishers, writers, illustrators and artists from the country bringing 1,000 titles and performances to the gathering.

Mohammad Rasoul Almasieh, the cultural counselor of the Iranian Embassy in Beijing, says: "It's our honor to have the chance at the fair, which is a grand cultural event. The Belt and Road Initiative has already brought unprecedented development in our infrastructure and we're expecting it to shed more influence in terms of culture."

Another highlight and new area will be the venue for creative cultural products.

The fair first brought in the content in 2016 and it was popular.

Besides companies and workshops, 40 museums, including the Palace Museum, will join the exhibition and offer the audience their take on books that draw inspiration from the museums' collection and famed cultural IPs.



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