Hong Kong Book Fair

This year’s Hong Kong Book Fair wants to take you places

Armchair travellers can look forward to seminars and exhibitions by well-known travel writers featuring photos, travelogues and souvenirs

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 10:14am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 10:16am

Travel is the big topic at this year’s Hong Kong Book Fair, one of the largest of its kind in the world, with organisers offering a mix of travel books and photography, combining some of Hongkongers’ favourite hobbies.

Besides featuring well-known travel writers through seminars, photographs, a souvenir exhibition and travelogues, a section of the fair will also be devoted to award-winning photographs from National Geographic, showcasing pictures taken both locally and overseas.

But while many people reach for their cameras to record memorable journeys, writer Kam Ling insists that reading offers a unique experience that cannot be rivalled by pictorial media.

“Words are symbols that each reader can interpret differently. If I were writing about my experience in a Tokyo coffee shop, with a gentle ray of sunshine coming through the soft curtains, each reader would have a unique experience when reading,” said Kam, who has written 39 travel books and will be holding a talk on her visit to Iceland during the fair.

Freedom and openness of Hong Kong Book Fair make it an event worth relishing

“The window may be on the left-hand side or right-hand side, and the colour of the coffee cup will be different, and the wall will be different for each reader. So reading a travel story gives you a personal experience that you cannot find elsewhere.”

Kam and other authors were speaking to the press at a media preview of the event.

This year’s book fair will run from July 19 to 25 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The event drew a record attendance of close to 1.02 million visitors last year.

Historian and writer Jason Wordie, who has a column in Post Magazine, said travel writing allows you to travel in your mind without having to physically go abroad.

He added that travelling is much more interesting if you read about the history of your destination instead of browsing “tourist promotions, which are usually inaccurate”. His latest book is on the transformation of Macau from old to new.

Veteran reporter Zhou Yijun shared her experience of covering war-torn Palestine. She recalled an occasion when she was going to take some photos of powerful military officials but saw an expressionless Hamas girl of about five years old “being put on the stage”.

“The girl captured the mood of powerlessness perfectly. She touched my heart, I thought everything else was not important,” Zhou said, adding that she found out years later on an Arabic forum that the photo had become famous in the region.