Greek books at the Beijing International Book Fair

Greek books at the Beijing International Book Fair

The Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC) participated at the prestigious Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), on 23-27 August.

[Photo: Hellenic Foundation for Culture]

More than 120 books (fiction, children’s literature, scientific and art books) from 52 Greek publishers were showcased at the Greek pavilion at the 24th Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), on 23-27 August.  Moreover, the Greek delegation was awarded the Exhibitor's Excellence Award, by a special committee of the organizers, for the upgraded Greek presence, for its pavilion and the events it organized. Awards were given to a limited number of exhibitors, with Greece being honoured as the best presence among foreign exhibitors. The Greek participation at the Beijing Book Fair was organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC) and supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Greek embassy in China.

2,500 exhibitors from 89 countries participated at this year's event - the largest Book Fair in Asia - which featured Iran as the guest of honour, under the general message Iran - The Colourful Dream of Silk Road.

On Saturday, August 26, Greek author, Dimitris Sotakis, who traveled to China at the invitation of the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, presented his recent literary work, particularly, the book "The Miracle of Breath”, translated in Chinese. The event was attended by dozens of booklovers, mostly young people.

Addressing the event, Greek Ambassador Leonidas Rokanas referred to the significance of the 2017 Greece-China Year of Cultural Exchanges. Cooperation between Greece and China, he stressed, is closer than ever in all areas, politics, economy, culture. The latter is a central element of Greek-Chinese relations for many reasons, including the long history of the two countries, which is a fundamental element of friendship and trust between the two peoples.

On his part, the author referred to his literary stimuli, the Greek literary tradition, but also to his reorientation towards new areas, such as everyday life and its challenges, with an emphasis on man and his/her limits, choosing a symbolic and allegorical style of writing. Sotakis, a Chinese speaker himself, also referred to his special relationship with China, his love for Chinese culture and his desire to spread Greek literature in China. In addition, on 22 August, the author participated at a literary presentation along with the well-known writer Xu Zechen, hosted by Beijing’s popular foreign language bookstore Bookworm, attended by 100 booklovers.

Also at BIBF, the electronic comic "Travel to the Abyss of Kefalonia", which is due to be released in weekly episodes on all Chinese web and mobile social networks in early January 2018, in Mandarin, made its first steps. Its publisher, Yannis Skourogiannis, who was hosted in the Greek pavilion during the exhibition, managed in five days to create a community that already counts 1,467 Chinese followers. The Greek-Chinese production group included screenwriter Yiming and comic artists Danai Kilaidoni, Petros Christoulias, Stathis Petropoulos, Angeliki Salamaliki and Manos Lagouvardos.

Moreover, at an important event for Greek publishing in China, which reflects the outward-looking orientation and potential of Greek publishing houses, MM Publications celebrated 20 years of successful presence in the Chinese market through its collaboration with the Higher Education Press of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Addressing the event, on 24 August, at the Higher Education Press pavillion, Greek Ambassador Mr. Rocanas underlined the potential for this unique success story of Greek publishing in China to become a model for the emergence of more collaborations in other sectors of publishing, capitalizing on utilizing the quality and comparative advantages offered by Greece, especially in the area of human resources. The event was attended by Deputy Director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, Deputy Minister Mr Zhou Huilin, Higher Education Press Chairman, Mr Su Yuheng, and General Manager of MM Publications, Mr Yannis Malkoyiannis.