2020 Taipei book fair to promote 'Korean-Style'

Author of bestselling book 'Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982' will visit Taipei next February

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Press conference of 2020 Taipei book fair.

Press conference of 2020 Taipei book fair. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Notable Korean authors are expected to visit Taiwan for the 2020 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TiBE) scheduled for February, as South Korea has been named the “guest of honor” for the 28th edition of the book fair.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture (MOC) and Taipei Book Fair Foundation (TBFF), the TiBE will kick off on Feb. 4 and last through Feb. 9. Having been held annually for more than two decades, the exhibition has bragging rights as one of the biggest, most open book fairs in Asia, with the number of visitors surpassing 580,000 in 2019.

The Korean pavilion will be organized by the Korean Publishers Association and Literature Translation Institute of Korea. With a focus on books, publishers, music, and fashion, the pavilion aims to promote “K-Style” and will present the latest trends in Korean publishing and culture, according to a CNA report.

Sun Joo-yeon, president of the Seoul Book Institute, will be the host of the Korean Pavilion. The pavilion will present the most important social issues in Korean society in the past two years, Sun said at a press conference held in Taipei on Tuesday (Dec. 24).

The pavilion will also showcase 50 Korean books that have received considerable attention recently, including children’s illustration books and comic books, according to Sun. He added that 29 publishing houses and managing companies would take part in the book fair.

Multiple Korean authors, including Cho Nam-ju, author of the bestselling book “Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982,” will visit Taiwan for the book exhibition next year. The work has sparked widespread debate for its portrayal of sexism in South Korea, and the book’s film adoption, released in November, has also earned critical acclaim.

There has been close exchanges between Taiwan’s publishing industry and its Korean counterpart over the years, said Chen Ying-fang (陳瑩芳), an MOC official responsible for publishing affairs. In addition to the Korean pavilion, the organizers will invite representatives of South Korean independent bookshops to forums during the fair.

Sun said that most Taiwanese books that had been translated into Korean and published in South Korea were illustration books, but in recent years, several Taiwanese writers, such as Wu Ming-yi (吳明益) and Wang Ting-kuo (王定國), had become known to Korean readers. He attributed the wide circulation of books between the two countries to a similar social environment.

TBFF Executive Director Wang Hsiu-yin (王秀銀) said the foundation would organize meetings for publishers that wish to acquire the copyrights of certain titles. Forums focusing on the publishing industry will also provide a glimpse of the current challenges facing publishing houses in different countries and regions, added Wang.