Following hard on the heels of the Lunar New Year holiday, the 2009 Taipei International Book Exhibition (2009台北國際書展) opens at the Taipei World Trade Center (台北世貿中心) on Wednesday and runs until Feb. 9. Exhibition organizers are undaunted by the world’s economic woes. Taipei Book Fair Foundation (財團法人台北書展基金會) chairman Lin Tsai-chueh (林載爵) joked that it would be a perfect opportunity to put recently issued consumer vouchers to good use.
As with many past Taipei International Book Exhibition events, there will be a wealth of international books on display, with the focus this year on German, French and Thai authors, some of whom will be visiting Taipei to promote their work and give readings from their novels.
Among the most exciting guests will be the young German novelist Juli Zeh, whose Adler und Engel (“Eagles and Angels”) won the 2002 Deutscher Bucherpreis for best debut novel. An expert on international law who has worked with the UN, her published works range from psychological thrillers to children’s books, and she has garnered critical acclaim as one of the most original young voices coming out of Germany.
Zeh, though only 34, has been extensively translated, a fact that has contributed to her rapidly growing international reputation.
Translation is a major theme at the exhibition, which will be highlighted in a presentation by Clemens-Peter Haase, head of the Department Literature and Translation Promotion at the Goethe Institute, who has been active in bringing German authors to a wider reading public. The distinguished Austrian writer and translator Herbert Maurer will also be part of the German delegation.
In the Thai pavilion, one of the young authors to be featured will be Tawara Siripipat, a 23-year-old whose writings under the name Dr Pop have already earned him the title of “Prince of Sci-fi Fantasy” in his home country.
In addition to the main featured nations, the exhibition is introducing an international smorgasbord section to highlight the diversity of international book and music publishing.
While Hall One of the World Trade Center is dedicated to literature, Halls Two and Three focus on the interests of children and young people. Hall Two hosts the ever-popular section dedicated to graphic works such as comics, anime and manga, and Hall Three is devoted to children’s publishing and features dinosaur and woolly mammoth fossils and games.
While the exhibition’s focus is primarily on conventional publishing, this year, in a nod to the growing power of the Internet, it plays host to representatives from eight digital publishing or book distribution companies based in the US, including NetLibrary and the Online Computer Library Center. At the other end of the publishing spectrum is the display of outstanding book design, which includes works by 40 contemporary Chinese artists as well as winners of prestigious awards such as the Japan Book Design Concours, Korean Book Design Now and Taiwan’s Golden Butterfly Award (台灣－書籍設計金蝶獎回顧).
The 2009 Taipei International Book Exhibition officially opens on Feb. 4. Hall One will be restricted to trade representatives and disabled persons on the first day. Opening hours are from 10am to 6pm on Feb. 4, Feb. 5 and Feb. 9, and from 10am to 10pm from Feb. 6 through Feb. 8. Admission is NT$100 on weekdays and NT$180 on Friday and weekends. Admission after 6pm is NT$50. Children under 120cm get in free. Comprehensive details of the event can be found at www.tibe.org.tw/2009.