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Reading – Your Passage to the World
HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair 2008 Features More than 180 Cultural Programmes

About 300 primary school students from Tung Chung, Tai Kok Tsui, Sham Shui Po and Tin Shui Wai joined the "Summer Bookworms" programme today. Each was provided with HK$200 to purchase books at the fair. Officiating guests (centre, left to right) are: Carmen Kwong, Mguru representative; Michael KC Lai, CEO, St James' Settlement; Raymond Yip, Assistant Executive Director, HKTDC; and Michael Wong, Executive Director, Sun Hung Kai Properties
Accompanied by volunteers, children search for their favourite books at Children's Paradise, Hall 5
Singer Leo Ku makes a special appearance at the opening ceremony for Children's Paradise
Leo Ku tells the Summer Bookworms' audience a story about the spirit behind sports

23 July 2008 - The annual HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair opened today, with more than 480 exhibitors from 21 countries and regions promoting their books and copyrights during the seven-day event (23-29 July) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the fair has become one of the must-attend summer events for students and families. "Once a general retail event, now a cultural phenomenon, the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair is not only a promotional platform for local publishers and writers, but also the place where readers get to know books representing a myriad of cultures," said Raymond Yip, Assistant Executive Director of the HKTDC.

Apart from Hong Kong, exhibitors this year come from Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, the Chinese mainland, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Korea and Vietnam.

The "International Cultural Village" returns this year with more choices of books from 16 different cultures. And for the first time, Spain, the third-largest European publishing country, has set up a group pavilion at the fair to respond to growing interest in Asia for learning Spanish.

"With more multicultural elements added to the programme, we hope the book fair will provide more choices for visitors," added Mr Yip.

Riding on the theme "Reading - Your Passage to the World," the HKTDC joins hands with various cultural institutes and publishers to launch more than 180 special events during the fair.

Charity events:
Students from Tin Shui Wai, Sham Shui Po and Tung Chung were among the first to visit this year's fair. Jointly organised by the HKTDC, Sun Hung Kai Properties, St James' Settlement and Mguru Ltd, the three-day Summer Bookworms 2008 programme (23-25 July), which kicked off this morning, offers a series of sharing and workshop sessions. The programme also provided HK$200 cash for each of 700 primary school students to purchase books and stationery at the fair. Artist Leo Ku will host a sharing session with the students.

To help children affected by the 12 May earthquake in Sichuan Province, the Hong Kong Publishing Federation has organised a charity sale at the fair. Revenue from books sold will be donated to Sower Action for school reconstruction projects in Sichuan.

Seminars by renowned authors:
Among the many offerings at the book fair, the "Renowned Writers Series" is bound to be one of the main attractions. Organised with Yazhou Zhoukan, the event will feature well-known authors, including Ha Jin and Wang De Wei from the United States, Chen Dan Qing, Mai Tian Shu, Yan Lian Ke, Xu Zhi Yuan, Liu Zhen Yun and Qian Wen Zhong from the Chinese mainland, Chu Tien Wen and Chang Ta Chun from Taiwan, and Yip Fai and Chung Hsiao Yang from Hong Kong. They will share reading and writing experiences at the seminar series. Another fair highlight is the seminar co-organised with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, featuring Chinese authors, including Bei Dao, Chung Ling and Lawrence Pun.

To cater to the popularity of Japanese comics and literature among local readers, the HKTDC, with help from Ming Pao Reading Page, has invited Lily Franky, author of Tokyo Tower: Mom, Me and Sometimes Dad, Liu Leh Er, writer and Japan expert, as well as Lin Shao Hua and Lai Ming Chu, translators of works by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, to share their views on Japanese literature translation at the New·Japan@ New·Media seminar series.

Sharing sessions by celebrities and cultural icons
Amid the push for a knowledge-based society, the fair organiser and Mguru Ltd have also invited Financial Secretary John Tsang and Legislative Councillor Albert Cheng to talk about Hong Kong's road to a creative economy. Cultural icons, including Wyman Wong, Winifred Lai, Carmen Kwong, Jimmy Pang, Leung Man To and Freeman Lau, have been invited to give their insights on fashion writing, creative publishing and the attraction of books.

The story-telling sessions at Children's Paradise are perennial favourites among young readers and parents. This year's speakers include director Alfred Cheung, columnist Chip Tsao, cultural commentator Leung Man To, Hong Kong Observatory director Lam Chiu Ying, TVB General Manager Stephen Chan, British Council Alumni May Chan, award-winning theatre actress and director Olivia Yan, popular writer Lam Yin Ni, TV presenter Lavender Cheung, British illustrator Polly Dunbar, Engineering Professor Lee Chack Fan, climbing expert Chung Kin Man, as well as Sun Wai Ling and Irene Yim of the Hong Kong Parents' Book Club.

Olympic Games and Classic Comic Displays
To enhance public understanding of the Olympics with just two weeks to go before the start of the Beijing Games, about 50 Olympic-themed books are on display at the Grand Hall Foyer, HKCEC.

Also featured are classic comic books of well-known Hong Kong characters. Lee Wai Chun, creator of Miss 13 Dot, and Joseph Wong, son of the creator of Old Master Q, will discuss changes made to the two comic characters over the years.

Fair theme days
To promote eco-friendly publishing, the environmental group Greenpeace has organised the "Authors for Forest" seminar on the fair's "Green Day" (24 July), with Dr Kitty Poon, Undersecretary for the Environment, and local writers promoting environmental awareness to publishers and readers. A recycled paper products display will be staged at the Grand Hall.

Other theme days include British Cultural Day (25 July) and Children's Cultural Day (26 July). To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the British Council has arranged a series of seminars and workshops hosted by award-winning British writers and illustrators, including Peter Suart, Justin Hill and Polly Dunbar, as well as creativity development expert Carey Fluker Hunt, singer and music therapist May Chan and columnist Chip Tsao.

Organised with the Hong Kong Parents' Book Club, Children's Cultural Day will be packed with a variety of workshops, performance and sharing sessions for children and their parents.

Promoting copyright trade
The book fair features both public and trade elements. The Asian Publishing Conference (25 July), an occasion for members of the publishing industry to exchange views and explore cooperation opportunities, will be held 25 July, with Jason Epstein, co-founder of On Demand Books, and many Asian publishers, including Chan Man Hung, Candy Tam, Chen Chang Lang and Chung Kum Wing, discussing issues regarding digital technology and the publishing industry.

To promote copyright trade, the fair organiser has helped library associations and publishers form 15 overseas buying missions to visit the fair, including missions from Australia, the Chinese mainland, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand and the US. The Copyright Exchange Centre will also be staged, offering central display, online copyright search and a comfortable environment for publishers, writers and creative-content designers find promising business partners.

Fair website: www.hktdc.com/hkbookfair
Book search: http://bds.hkbookfair.com/chi/book_enquiry/book/book_search.asp
Event schedule: http://hkbookfair.hktdc.com/evt_schdt/event.htm
Autograph schedule: http://hkbookfair.hktdc.com/chi/newsletter/sign.htm
Ticketing: http://hkbookfair.hktdc.com/chi/newsletter/ticket.htm

Visitor statistics: As of 2pm today, 52,729 people had visited the Hong Kong Book Fair, a 24 per cent increase over last year.

Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC Media and Public Affairs Department:
Lyann Li     Tel: (852) 2584 4525     Email: lyann.my.li@tdc.org.hk
Katherine Chan     Tel: (852) 2584 4537     Email: katherine.cm.chan@tdc.org.hk
Osbert Kwan     Tel: (852) 2584 4395     Email: osbert.wc.kwan@tdc.org.hk

About the HKTDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, visit www.hktdc.com

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