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Jul 11, 2018

Hong Kong Book Fair 2018

 

Reading is a habit that has seen drastically reduced popularity through the years. With the increased penetration of technology (especially smartphones), the love and passion for books seems to be dwindling rapidly. However, the city of Hong Kong makes an effort every year to encourage more people to read, by hosting one of the largest book fairs in Asia.

 

Founded in 1990, the event is organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. It draws a huge number of people, with the aim of promoting a culture of peaceful reading in a highly crowded and commercialized metropolis. Nearly thirty years after the Fair began, this aim is more pertinent than ever, in the age of smartphones and technology.

 

This year, the theme is Romance Literature.

 

Despite 2017 being considered a ‘weak’ year for the fair, no one was surprised that several visitors left with suitcases and shopping bags full of books!

 

According to the South China Morning Post, children's books are the best sellers at the HKTDC Book Fair, indicating that most parents want to develop a reading habit in their children from a young age.

 

The book fair has a lot of cultural significance. Being one of Asia's biggest fairs, it’s also the only fair in China where writers from various regions interact with readers freely.

 

 

With the recent controversy over anti-gay activists lobbying to have 10 children's books with LGBT themes removed from libraries, the book fair's deputy executive director Benjamin Chau Kai-Leung responded by saying, “There is no censorship in publishing in Hong Kong.” He was praised for standing up against the group, who also pressured the fair to remove the books from the exhibits and stalls. After all, “love is love”, as the LGBT+ saying goes… a line that’s especially appropriate given that this year's theme is romance!

 

One of the many things that make the Hong Kong Book Fair 2018 interesting is the wide demographic range it caters to. From younger generations to older ones, all with different interests and preferences, the Hong Kong Book Fair is all about catering to various kinds of tastes. Cooking, travel, fashion, self-help and every other kind of non-fiction, as well as thriller, comedy, crime, and more in terms of fiction! (There is, of course, great romance on offer as well!)

 

2018, same as other years, will feature a lot of internationally renowned authors, including English-language authors such Balli Kaur Jaswal, M A Bennett, Chantal Thomas and more.  Here's some of the most eagerly anticipated seminars associated with the upcoming fair:

 

 

July 18: Romance Along The Silver Way: Baroque Love Poetry and Prose From The Spanish-speaking World

July 19: Israel and China: from the Tang Dynasty to Silicon Wadi

July 20: The Power of Women In The 18th Century

July 21: Ponti – Movies, Malay Myths and Local Monsters

July 22: Rebellious Daughters, Sisters and Wives: Non-Conforming Women As Archetypes in Indian Diaspora Fiction Writing

July 23: Culture in Revolution – The Shanghai Museum and China’s Mao Period

 

 

Reading, learning and discussion. What the younger generation want, and need, are open conversations on a wide range of topics. Sharing knowledge is one of the best gifts any human being can give to another.

 

What the Book Fair provides is a platform for thoughts and ideas, a bridge between generations, and an avenue for the passing of knowledge. It’s always good to learn more, and freely interacting with writers and fellow readers provide an excellent opportunity to walk away with a lot more than just a physical book! 

 

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