A French Day will be included in this year's Book Fair to promote French literature and culture. Organisers insist it has nothing to do with last year's embarrassing snub of a top French author's book-signing session. A Trade Development Council spokesman said the promotion was being held because there were more French books and cultural activities this year. But he admitted last year's book-signing by novelist Pierrette Fleutiaux was not well organised. Despite being well known on the mainland - she won Best Foreign Novel in 2001 - Fleutiaux cancelled the signing session for her novel Short Sentences, My Darling because of lack of interest. 'To be honest, the autograph sessions were not very well attended,' the spokesman said. 'We concluded that it was because Hong Kong people are not very knowledgeable about overseas authors. Our promotional strategies were not adequate. This year we will put more effort on promoting international elements at the fair.' The details of French Day are yet to be finalised. Other countries to be featured at the international village include Denmark, Belgium and Italy. The full list will be confirmed at the end of this month. Renowned Chinese writers will also attend the event. They include Lung Ying-tai, the former director of Taipei's Bureau of Cultural Affairs and one of Taiwan's best-known writers, Su Tong, author of Raise the Red Lantern, and famous Taiwanese political critic Nan Fang Shuo. While books on how to get slim received the most attention last year, the council expects children's books to be a highlight this year. Last year's fair attracted a record 503,396 people and more are expected this year, with opening hours extended to midnight on the Saturday. 'Normally it closes at 10pm but this year we will create a midnight book fair. For some reason people prefer going to the book fair at night. We will serve coffee,' the spokesman said. A special zone focusing on movies and literature will be set up. Exhibitions, film screenings and discussion sessions on the relationship between the two mediums will be held. The fair will run from July 20 to 25 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.