Hong Kong Book Fair

English the focus at HK Book Fair

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 12:00am

Organisers target international community for annual event

This month's Hong Kong Book Fair will have a stronger focus on English-language books and events to engage the international community living in the city, say its organisers.

Raymond Yip Chak-yan, the Trade Development Council's assistant executive director, said more international exhibitors would join the fair for the first time.

The British Council would also have its first official presence at the fair, being staged from July 23-29 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Mr Yip said the British Council, celebrating its 60th anniversary in Hong Kong, would bring British authors and cartoonists to meet local readers at the fair.

Trade Development Council senior exhibitions manager Agnes Chan Ngah-yee said it was time to diversify the focus of the Book Fair and make it more international.

Ms Chan said that in the past students at local international schools had low participation at the fair, and fair organisers had been liaising with local schools through the Education and Manpower Bureau.

'It's time for us to reach out to the world and look at how we can diversify the fair,' she said.

This year's Book Fair will have 481 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions, including newcomers from Spain, Argentina, Bangladesh and Denmark, a slight increase from last year's 474 exhibitors.

Spain will host its first regional pavilion, featuring six publishing houses.

July 25 has been named British Cultural Day. English-language talks and events featuring authors and illustrators including Peter Suart, Polly Dunbar, British-educated Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao and Simon Gillow will take place throughout the fair.

Foreign libraries taking part in the fair include the United States' Queens Library, the University of California at Berkeley and Brooklyn Public Library; the Australian School Library Association; Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman from Malaysia; and other organisations from Macau and the mainland.

Meanwhile, wines bought at the Hong Kong International Wine Fair in August, the first locally organised event of its kind, could enjoy free corkage at restaurants in Central and Wan Chai, Mr Yip said.

He said the council had been negotiating with restaurants in the districts to allow free corkage for wines bought at the fair on August 16, the last day of the three-day event and the only one on which it will be open to the public.

Mr Yip said the admission fee for the fair would be HK$200 and only people aged 18 and over would be admitted.

He said it would be the most expensive admission fee that had been applied to any of the fairs staged by the council.

'We hope to attract genuine wine lovers.'

New chapter

This year's Book Fair will have 481 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions

The gross floor area occupied by the fair, in square metres: 12,069