Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hong Kong Book Fair Seeks to Develop Global Profile

The Hong Kong Book Fair, which is known for its sher enormity, has made an effort to modernize and expand its reach.

Maybe because most of the books are in Chinese-language material to local buyers, or because it is more like a raucous and populist event, the Book Fair has not quite found its place on the global stage yet.

"Our goal is to put it on the map internationally," said Joe Kainz, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which organizes the fair. In this year's seven-day fair, more international authors, more English-language material, and a new area dedicated to e-books and digital media have been brought in. To help visitors who might be intimidated by that second language they learned in school, the Fair's organizers held sessions like "Chip Tsao's Reading Guide to Renowned English-language Authors."

Mr. Tsao, a British-educated local commentator, addressed a standing-room-only seminar on the first day. After a short introduction, he began reading in a slow, clear British accent while pointing to a screen with the first page of Mr. Horowitz's "Point Blank," part of his "Alex Rider" series of crime thrillers aimed at younger readers. Mr. Tsao translated difficult words into Cantonese and peppered his talk with jokes. "You don't have to run to the dictionary everytime there's a word you don't recognize," he reassured. "You don't need to know what a Beretta sub-compact, semi-automatic pistol is. You just need to know this man has a gun."

"I'm bowled over that there are a million people interested enough in books to show up." said the guests speakers who seemed overwhelmed by the crowds, "I was struck by how by how many young people are here. It made my old heart quite happy."

Source: The New York Times

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/arts/30iht-fair.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

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