Book fair next year to offer a look at Belgian culture

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 - Page 3

Visitors to next year’s Taipei International Book Exhibition, one of Asia’s major book fairs, will be treated to a taste of Belgian culture during the Jan. 30 to Feb. 4 show, organizers said.

The book fair, now in its 21st year, will feature Belgian literature, music, history, architecture — and even the Smurfs cartoon characters, said Huang Pao-ping (黃寶萍), director of the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, which is organizing the event.

The blue fictional creatures will be spotted not only at the Belgium Pavilion, but will also be used in the advertisements and decorations for the whole show, she said at a pre-event press briefing.

Along with the Smurfs, Belgium’s other famed comic series, The Adventures of Tintin, will also be on display, as well as publications from 22 Belgian publishing companies, Huang said.

After three years of preparation for the Belgian pavilion, Huang said, it will be a rare opportunity to see so many publishers and publications from the European country in Taiwan.

As the theme country of next year’s event, Belgium will showcase four exhibitions: comic books and illustrations; architecture designs by Victor Horta; the origin of saxophones; and poems and original manuscripts by Maurice Careme.

Belgian children’s book illustrator and writer Kitty Crowther, who won the 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council — the biggest prize in children’s literature — and writer Carl Norac are also scheduled to attend the event and interact with visitors.

Belgium Office in Taipei Director Caroline Vermeulen said visitors to the pavilion would gain a better understanding of Belgium.

Other countries participating in the exhibition include France, Australia, Turkey, Mexico, Peru, South Korea, Japan and the US.

The six-day event will include seminars and workshops on topics such as international publishing, digital reading and the development of digital content applications to improve exchanges in the global publishing sector.

More than 800 publishers have registered for the fair next year, and 500 writers from home and abroad are expected to attend.

This year’s show attracted a record 600,000 visitors.