E- and English-language books to have bigger presence at fair
Technology is changing the way we read and this evolution will be addressed at the 22nd Hong Kong Book Fair, running from July 20-26 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. This year there will be more than 520 exhibitors from 18 regions, and about 300 related cultural events. The theme is 'Reading the World, Reading as Self-Discovery'.
'We want to encourage readers to continue to develop good reading habits, to understand themselves and to understand the world,' says Benjamin Chau Kai-leung, deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which organises the book fair.
To fulfil this mission, the fair is expanding beyond sales in traditional publishing formats and embracing electronic books, which can be read on platforms such as e-readers and smartphones. 'This year, the number of exhibitors in the e-books and e-learning resources category has increased by 38 per cent,' says Chau.
The council and telecommunications company 3 Hong Kong collaborated on an e-book reading platform for smartphones to make e-publications even more accessible. About 100 books are available for free download until August 30. 3 Hong Kong runs the mobile e-book reading service 3Books, which gives readers access to more than a million books, magazines and comics.
The other main exhibition categories are children's and teens' books; religious books; multimedia products; and stationery and printed products. In 2010, 510 exhibitors drew 915,206 visitors.
Hong Kong writer Xi Xi, the fair's author of the year, will speak at two talks titled 'The Literary and Creative World of Xi Xi'.
The council and weekly publication Yazhou Zhoukan are organising the Renowned Writers Series, featuring China's Bi Feiyu, who won the 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize for his novel Three Sisters; Taiwanese writer Li Ao; and Hong Kong-based poet Bei Dao.
For this 22nd fair, the section known as English Avenue has grown by 50 per cent. Featuring almost 90 booths, it offers the most English-language books that have ever been for sale at the fair. 'Though the fair is primarily focused on Chinese-language books, we want to encourage young people to read more in English,' says Chau.
In support of English Avenue, organisers have arranged a series of talks called 'Public Sessions by Renowned English-Language Authors', including British poet Wendy Cope, British historian Julia Lovell, Indian novelist Tabish Khair and Hong Kong-based writer Justin Hill.
Businessman David Tang will moderate two sessions of the Open Public Forum on 'How and What and Why Do Writers Write?', on July 22 and 23. The four speakers are English historian David Starkey, critic and essayist A.A. Gill, food writer Tom Parker Bowles and novelist Nicholas Coleridge.
Xu Xi, City University's writer-in-residence, is holding an English-language introductory creative writing workshop.
Admission: HK$25 adults; HK$10 children, tourists with travel documents, and entry before noon; free for children under three or adults over 65; HK$80 pass for unlimited admission.