left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Chinese publishers, writers to be featured at London Book Fair

Updated: 2012-03-08 08:09
By Zhang Chunyan in London and Mei Jia in Beijing ( 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 and

Private bookstores may get help from govt

China is mulling policies to cut taxes and rent fees to support private bookstores amid the downturn in the industry, said Liu Binjie, minister of General Administration of Press and Publication.

Under the new policies, all cities should also ensure that major avenues have room for bookstores, and all newly-built communities should include plans for bookstores, Liu told reporters on the sideline of the annual national legislature session, which convenes on Monday in Beijing.

The policies are meant to ensure equal competition between private bookstores and State-run ones, which have less pressure from rent fees and housing, Liu said.

Liu said the policies, jointly discussed by his ministry and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, will probably come out this year.

GAPP is now conducting surveys on private bookstores, and the policies will be tilted to the western and central parts of China, Liu said.

Liu also said his administration has taken in more than 20 million yuan ($3.17 million) to support the operation of 100 bookstores selling Chinese books in overseas countries. Liu said the bookstores are now in full operation.

Liu admitted that many bookstores have collapsed in recent years due to electronic book sales.

"There have been difficulties in operating such stores, but we have to persist on," said Liu.

China Daily