Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) opened the 2018 Taipei International Book Exhibition on Tuesday by lauding Taiwan’s diversity and freedom, saying those are elements that gave birth to one of the most important book fairs in Asia.
“Why is Asia’s most important book fair held in Taiwan? Because we have a democratic political system, a free society and because a diversity of positions and voices can be found in this land, stirring creativity,” Tsai said at the opening of the annual book fair.Taiwan’s diverse and free environment is the result of efforts by generations of Taiwanese, she said.
The president also noted that many publishers are concerned that the trend of digital publishing will lead to fewer readers, but she believed that the effective use of new technology can actually attract more readers.
The fair’s Creative Comic Collection Interactive Digital Exhibition, which allows visitors to enjoy Taiwanese culture and comics through augmented reality (AR), proves that “challenges can be turned into opportunities,” Tsai said.
This year’s book fair features Israel as its theme country and over 200 titles will be showcased at the Israel pavilion, including the Hebrew Bible.
“Israel and Taiwan have many things in common. One of the things we share is our love for books, education, writing and reading,” Israel’s representative to Taiwan, Asher Yarden, said at the opening.
He noted that four acclaimed Israeli authors — novelist Noa Yedlin, children’s book author Yannets Levi, Hebrew language revivalist and culinary writer Gil Hovav and collage artist and caricaturist Hanoch Piven — will attend the exhibition.
Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君), meanwhile, said some 580,000 visitors attended the book fair last year — the highest number in five years — and she hoped this year’s attendance will be even higher.
The Taipei International Book Exhibition, which will run through Feb. 11 at Taipei World Trade Center Halls 1 and 3, is featuring over 500 book launches, forums and other events.
Other international authors attending the fair include American writer Wendy Walker, who wrote the best-selling psychological thriller “All Is Not Forgotten,” award-winning French illustrator Clémence Pollet, and Steve Antony, the British illustrator of the popular “Mr. Panda” book series.
Japanese writer Banana Yoshimoto and German writers Anja von Kampen, Martin Schäuble and Stephan Thome will also greet readers at the fair.
Franco-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani, who was scheduled to appear at the fair, had to cancel her trip due to health reasons, according to the French Office in Taipei.
(By Christie Chen)