Jan. 30 Update: Prioritizing public health amid the global coronavirus outbreak, the Taipei International Book Exhibition, which was originally slated for Feb. 4-9, will be postponed for three months and be held May 7-12 instead.
South Korea shall serve its third term as guest nation of the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE), the 28th edition of which is set to run from Feb. 4 through 9 at Hall 1 of the Taipei World Trade Center. Moreover, the theme of the 2020 book fair has been revealed to be "New Horizons of Reading," as reading is crucial in determining the scope of one's vision and the strength of one's competitive edge in this information-rich era.
The publishing industries of South Korea and Taiwan are closely linked. With the support of the Ministry of Culture, copyright exchanges have blossomed, as have invitations to participate in literary events. In 2020, South Korea will once again be the focus of TIBE, with independent bookstores from the country invited to participate in a dedicated forum. There will be close collaborations between the two nations in everything from creative output to publishing and sales, with the hope of not only letting the Taiwanese side sample "K-Style," but also giving the Korean side a taste of "T-Style."
Joo Yeon Sun, curator of the Korean pavilion and president of the Seoul Book Institute, notes that frequent exchanges between Taiwan and South Korea have resulted in South Korean books becoming widely popular in Taiwan. Taiwan is the second-largest publisher of South Korean books, with more than 500 Korean works published here in 2017, while Taiwanese writers including Liu Ka-shiang (劉克襄), Wu Ming-yi (吳明益), Wang Ting-kuo (王定國), Lin Xiaobei (林小杯), Lai Ma (賴馬), and Jimmy Liao (幾米) have also become quite well known in South Korea, he added.
The Korean pavilion will take as its theme "K-Style." From books and music to fashion, content curated by the Korean Publishers Association and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea will introduce to Taiwanese readers the trends and cultural expressions in Korean publishing. The national showcase will be designed in the image of a Seoul apartment to help Taiwanese readers experience the guest nation’s books, authors, and culture in the context of Korean life.
Twenty-nine different publishing houses and agencies will be present at the Korean pavilion, with exhibits on major issues in South Korean society over the past two years, 25 best-selling books in the Korean market, 25 of the most popular manhwa (Korean comics) of the past five years, 25 picture books from Korean writers, and 10 Taiwanese works published in South Korea.
In addition, the Korean curators have also organized exciting cultural activities, like spectacular illustration shows, painting demonstrations, literary lectures, and book productions. They have also invited hip-hop beats-maker Sowall to perform at the opening ceremony and welcome gala. Such exciting events and exhibits will let the public experience the charms of South Korea without having to leave the country.
As for the authors who have been invited to participate — the most-anticipated announcement for avid readers — 12 heavyweight Korean writers have been invited to Taiwan, many of whom have had their works adapted for film and television. Exhibitors at the 2020 TIBE have also invited 35 authors from China, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States — including Prix Goncourt winner Éric Vuillard from France, respected American comedy expert Steve Kaplan, and well-known Chinese-American writer Ha Jin — to give lectures during the book exhibition.
To keep the embers of enthusiasm burning from 2019's "School Fun Book Fair," the 2020 exhibition will take advantage of winter vacation with a special "Winter Vacation Fun Book Fair" offering free admission to students under the age of 18 to encourage schools, afterschool childcare centers, and cram schools to organize group visits. The Ministry of Culture has also expanded subsidies to assist rural schools in visiting book fairs: those who meet the Ministry of Education's definition of a "rural school" will be eligible for subsidized transportation, accommodation, meals and other expenses in line with the remoteness of the school, thus helping promote equal access to culture.
Set to be spectacular, the 2020 Taipei International Book Exhibition will also be cooperating with the Taipei Game Show for the first time in a promotion titled "Game Together, Read Together," aiming to attract different audiences to experience the joy of reading!