Wed, Aug 31, 2011 - Page 3 News List

GIO finally accepts invite to Europe’s main comics event

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan yesterday accepted an invitation from the Angouleme International Comics Festival in France, the largest of its kind in Europe, to represent Asia next year as the continent’s only “theme country” at the renowned convention, after its initial rejection caused a public outcry last month.

The invitation was addressed to Taiwan by Nicolas Finet, one of the organizers of the event in charge of Asian affairs, Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) said.

Scheduled to be launched on Jan. 26 next year in the city hall of Angouleme, the event, which draws more than 400,000 visitors every year, could also invite Spain and Sweden as theme countries representing Europe, Yang said.

Taiwan has been promised by the festival organizers the most prominent space at the convention: the courtyard at the city hall, which occupies about 300m2, Yang said.

The event will showcase a collection of works by 20 Taiwanese comic artists, Yang said, adding that the name of participants remained to be determined.

Early last month, the GIO reportedly turned down the opportunity to take part in the event, because of budget and manpower a limits in preparing for the event, as well as a comittment to attend the Chambery Comic Book Festival in France, which attracts fewer visitors than the Angouleme festival, in October.

The decision to attend the Chamberry festival, which attracts about 300,000 participants each year, rather than the larger festival at Angouleme, provoked criticism from lawmakers and the public.

Oon July 7, Yang initially defended the GIO’s decision, saying Taiwan would rather be chosen as a theme country in 2013 when the Angouleme International Comics Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary.

However, the next day he said that the GIO would again try to make use of the opportunity to become a theme country at next year’s exhibition at Angouleme.

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