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Taiwan has strong showing at world’s largest book fair

2019-10-13Taipei Times  English News
Essayist and novelist Liao Hung-chi speaks at a news conference held by the Ministry of Culture at the Taipei Artists’ Village on Wednesday before traveling to Germany to support the Taiwan Pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair./Photo courtesy of CNA
Essayist and novelist Liao Hung-chi speaks at a news conference held by the Ministry of Culture at the Taipei Artists’ Village on Wednesday before traveling to Germany to support the Taiwan Pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair./Photo courtesy of CNA

The Taiwan Pavilion at the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair 2019 is to feature literary works on marine culture and preservation as well as a section dedicated to comic books.

The Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world that takes place annually in Frankfurt, Germany, will be held this year from Oct. 16 to 20, during which the Taiwan Pavilion will be called “TAIWAN: Island of Amazing Stories.”

Ministry of Culture official Chen Ying-fang on Wednesday said the ministry, which organized the Taiwan Pavilion along with Taipei Book Fair Foundation, has raised the budget for translating Chinese-language literature into other languages, and has invited foreign translators working on Taiwanese literary works to Taiwan for exchange and communication.

Two Taiwanese authors, Syaman Rapongan and Liao Hung-chi, both devoted writers of ocean literature, have been invited to the fair to present the breadth and depth of Taiwan’s ocean literature, while a designated section in the pavilion will display cross-disciplinary books published last year and this year that tell wonderful stories about the natural environment in Taiwan, the ministry said.

Rapongan, one of the most well-known writers of ocean literature in Taiwan, said that besides depicting the complex historical relationships between humans and water, another major theme in his works is “anti-discrimination” against Tao Aborigines on the island, which distinguishes him from other ocean writers.

Liao, an important force behind Taiwan’s marine ecology conservation movement, has spent several years working on coastal fishing boats and incorporating the life of fishermen and their observation of the sea into his literary works.

A section dedicated to Taiwanese manga will be showcased for the first time, featuring images and concepts of the“forest”that will be contrasted with the ocean, according to Rex How, Locus Publishing Co chairman and curator of the manga section.

Taiwanese comic artists Chang Sheng, Hom Weng and Honey Chen have also been invited as speakers to introduce the diversity of materials in Taiwanese manga at the fair, according to the ministry.

Chang is known for the fantasy nature of and vivid characters in his works, while Weng has won the Golden Comic Award — the most prestigious award for comics in Taiwan — multiple times and is also known for her previous work Big City, Little Things.

Chen, a young comic artist who often vividly role-plays her own characters at book signing events, will attend the fair this year both as a comic artist and professional cosplayer.

A total of 117 publishers will be featured in the Taiwan Pavilion, representing 832 paper and digital publications, the foundation said, adding that several interactive events and international license matchmaking events would also be held during the fair.