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28th Hong Kong Book Fair opens with ‘Travel’ theme

Record-breaking number of exhibitors and 320+ cultural events. This year's Book Fair adopts "Travel" as the Theme of the Year, under the tag line "Reading the World – People, Places, Passions."

HONG KONG – The 28th Hong Kong Book Fair opened and will run through 25 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), this year’s fair welcomes a record number of about 670 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions, showcasing a diverse selection of reading materials featured in 14 thematic zones, including the General Books Pavilion, English Avenue, International Cultural Village, Children’s Paradise and e-Books & e-Learning Resource. More than 320 cultural events are being held during the fair period, including seminars, reading sessions, cultural performances and storytelling sessions. Meanwhile, the Art Gallery, staged on the third floor of the HKCEC, presents a number of exhibitions to enrich readers’ cultural knowledge.

This year’s Book Fair adopts “Travel” as the Theme of the Year, under the tag line “Reading the World – People, Places, Passions.”In recent years, Hong Kong people have been able to enjoy more opportunities to travel abroad, and access to travel information has become easier,” said HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong. “Yet there are still many dedicated writers who prefer to share their travel experience with readers through the written word. Through the writers’ stories, readers can see the world from different perspectives, and build their own values and world views.”

Around the world through words
Echoing the Theme of the Year “Travel,” a dedicated zone, “Around the World Through Words,” introduces readers to nine Hong Kong travel writers from different backgrounds, including litterateurs (the late) Leung Ping Kwan and Xi Xi, cruise expert Albert Wong, historians Sonia Ng and Jason Wordie, explorer Rebecca Lee, veteran international journalist Zhou Yijun, novelist Kam Ling and writer and photographer Celia Cheng. Items and photos collected from their journeys are also being showcased. A series of “Theme of the Year: Travel” seminars is also being held, including today’s forum that featured Dr Chan Chi-tak, Professor Lo Kwai-cheung and Matthew Cheng, who spoke on the topic “Boundary crossing: Leung Ping Kwan’s Travel Literature.” Zhou Yijun also recounted her experience as a war correspondent. Sonia Ng, Kam Ling, Celia Cheng and Jason Wordie will visit the Book Fair in the following days and share their insights on travelling and writing.

At the Art Gallery, the “Beyond the Picture” exhibition, a collaboration with the National Geographic magazine, showcases photos of cultures, landscapes, scenery and architecture in Hong Kong and around the globe, offering a unique perspective of the world through the eyes of the photographers. The exhibition also features the works of famous painter Lee Chi Ching, who depicted Hong Kong in the olden days, and a collection of postcards, stamps and other printed matters that showcase Hong Kong’s past. Another exhibition, “A Journey to Sichuan,” which is supported by the Sichuan Province Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, features several highlights, including the works of famous Sichuan writers and painters; exhibits from Sanxingdui Museum that depict the Shang and Zhou Dynasties; and photos of the landscapes and scenery of the “Nature’s Storehouse.” Cultural performances, such as Sichuan face-changing opera and tea art, will also be arranged.

Sharing sessions by world-renowned Chinese writers
Among the most prominent literary events in the Greater China region, the Book Fair each year invites notable writers to share their insights. In collaboration with Ming Pao and Yazhou Zhoukan, the HKTDC has organised the Renowned Writers Seminar Series, which will kick off tomorrow with a seminar on “Writing and Reading Literary Classics,” featuring Han Shaogong, author of A Dictionary of Maqiao. Zhou Meisen, the screenwriter of the popular TV series In the Name of People, will exchange ideas with readers, while actress Liu Xiaoqing will present her autobiography. In addition, Taiwanese writer Chu Tien-hsin will speak on “Literature Today,” while Taiwanese travel writer Liu Ka-shiang and local author Craig Au-Yeung will discuss Hong Kong’s urban and rural coexistence.

Reading the world from Hong Kong
To promote English reading, the English Avenue features more than 30 exhibitors presenting a diverse selection of English books. With the support of the British Council, the English Reading and Creative Writing Series features bestselling crime-fiction writer Sophie Hannah, as well as travel writers Sara Wheeler and Tim Moore. Hong Kong-based writer Mark O’Neill will talk about the life of Sir Robert Hart, who served as inspector-general of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service during the Qing Dynasty. Local author Perry Lam will tell readers how to tap the advantages of bilingualism.

Besides featuring English works, the Book Fair also promotes cultural exchange by encouraging readers to expand their horizons. The International Cultural Village gathers 29 consulates and cultural promotion organisations, showcasing their culture through books. Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain have set up a new European Union Pavilion at the Grand Foyer. In addition, a number of French and Spanish writers will take part in the World of Knowledge Seminar Series. French illustrator Cedric Fernandez will share his thoughts on Le Petit Prince, along with illustrators of the classic’s Cantonese version Michelle Chan and Aria Lui, while French-Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou will discuss how modern Africa is reflected in his works.

Also at the Grand Foyer, the Japan Pavilion features the Kadokawa Corporation, one of Japan’s top four publishers, together with the Japan National Tourism Organisation and 11 cities and prefectures, including Tottori, Kagawa, Fukuoka and Nagasaki, showcasing local publications and cultural products from their respective areas.

Cultivating children’s reading habit at Children’s Paradise
B-E, Children’s Paradise features more than 200 exhibitors showcasing a diverse range of children books and educational materials, suitable for various age groups. At the Children’s Paradise Entertainment Stage, a number of celebrities will host storytelling sessions for children, including Hong Kong swimmer Stephanie Au, Film director Adam Wong Sau Ping, and children’s programme hosts Skye Chan and Leung Ka Ki. In addition, the Children and Youth Reading Seminar Series will feature the Sunday Reading session, hosted by writer and TV show host Ong Yi Hing and international relations scholar Simon Shen.

Other seminar series include the “Personal Development and Spiritual Growth Seminar Series,” the “Hong Kong Cultural and Historical Seminar Series” and the “Lifestyle Seminar Series,” covering a wide range of topics to suit readers’ interests. Visitors who have not pre-registered for seminars can arrive at the venues early to queue for seats.

For the first time, the Hong Kong Publishing Professionals Society has set up a display zone for the inaugural Hong Kong Publishing Biennial Awards at the Hong Kong Book Fair to exhibit award-winning entries from various categories. The Hong Kong Publishing Biennial Awards ceremony will also be held tomorrow to honour notable works in the Hong Kong publishing industry.

Concurrent Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo
The first edition of the Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo will open on 21 July and run through 25 July. Located at the Grand Hall of the HKCEC, the Expo features six thematic zones, including Outdoor Adventure, Sports Hub, Health & Fitness, Photography World, Fun & Play, and Handicraft Market. The Expo welcomes about 90 exhibitors from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Japan and Korea showcasing sports and leisure products and related services from about 130 brands. More than 40 events will be held on-site to give visitors a new shopping and leisure experience, and provide a perfect summer event for different age groups and interests. Visitors can visit the Expo with a valid Book Fair ticket.

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