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Chinese publishers, writers to be featured at London Book Fair

Updated: 2012-03-20 09:09
By Zhang Chunyan and Mei Jia ( China Daily)

China will take the stage as the Market Focus of the London Book Fair in April, a senior Chinese official announced in the city on Wednesday.

The 41st London Book Fair, one of the world's top three book fairs, also falls on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United Kingdom.

The tradition of Market Focus started in 2004 and offers an opportunity for the chosen country to promote its business and culture to a world audience.

The Chinese delegation will bring more than 600 publishers and 57 leading writers to participate in various forums, seminars, cultural events and writer activities at the book fair, which will be held from April 16 to 18, Zhang Fuhai, general director of the international exchange and cooperation department of China's General Administration of Press and Publication, said at the news conference.

The China Market Focus 2012 Program, titled China: New Perspectives, New Concept, also includes four professional publishing forums, 10 high-level dialogues and 11 culture and art exhibitions.

"We hope that our participation will promote closer cooperation between the Chinese and English language book markets, as well as raising the profile of China's published works and cultural products in the global cultural market," Zhang said.

According to Zhang, the Chinese delegation will stage more than 300 events, with 181 Chinese publishing houses participating.

Liu Feng, director of the international business development department of Phoenix Publishing & Media, Inc, told China Daily that they will launch the English version of the Encyclopedia of Peoples of China during the book fair. The book is co-authored by both Chinese and English publishers, who describe the roughly 56 ethnic groups in the country with abundant pictures.

"In the backdrop of the dramatic changes in the world publishing industry brought by the rising e-publishing trend, I'm sure Chinese publishers will learn a lot and show the best of our products," Liu said.

The fair will put China's publishing and literary industries in the spotlight, encouraging trade relations between China and the rest of the publishing world and showcasing contemporary writers from China.

"I think everyone's interested in China these days, and there's a general sense that it's good to engage with China on a cultural level, not just in terms of politics and economics," literary translator Eric Abrahamsen told China Daily.

Abrahamsen, who is devoted to introducing Chinese writers to a global audience, said he's excited about being a member of the Chinese writers delegation, which includes veteran writers as Tie Ning, Wang Meng, Mo Yan and Liu Zhenyun.

"I noticed an increasing interest in Chinese writers, as I'm attending more international writers' exchanges," writer Liu Zhenyun, author of Cellphone and winner of the Maodun Prize, told China Daily. "London will be great fun."

Alistair Burtenshaw, director of the London Book Fair, said, "We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone to the fair, and hope that this year's spotlight on China provides the opportunity for future dialogue and understanding among international publishers."

"This is also part of our ongoing work to create a cultural dialogue between our two countries, with further visits by Chinese authors to Britain taking place throughout the year as well as visits by British authors to China," said Susie Nicklin, director literature of the British Council.

The Chinese organizer also selected 600 UK titles (translated and published in China) and around 200 Chinese titles (translated and published in the UK) as illustrations of the best in translated works between the two languages in literature, art, education and philosophy.

More than 10,000 titles will be on display in the China Pavilion, which occupies a floor area of 2,019 square meters.

You may contact the writers at zhangchunyan@chinadaily.com.cn and meijia@chinadaily.com.cn

In London and Beijing

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