Book fair embracing the digital realm

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Book fair embracing the digital realm

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This year’s 22nd Seoul Book Fair, which is being held jointly with the 2016 Digital Book Fair Korea, is presenting various programs for readers of all ages, including visits by best-selling authors, poets, experts in the book industry and even book designers. [JOONGANG ILBO]

This year’s 22nd Seoul Book Fair combines analog and digital: It is being held jointly with the Digital Book Fair Korea in order to nurture a healthy environment where both the analog and digital publishing industries can coexist.

The fair runs from Wednesday to Sunday at COEX in southern Seoul, with 346 participating groups from 20 countries. The fair has various programs that can intrigue both Korean readers and those who want to gain professional knowledge on the publishing industry here, with seminars that analyze recent trends.

For example, ardent readers will be satisfied with the chance to experience foreign literature from 19 countries. As the book fair aims to promote the joy of reading, it plans to approach a wider range of people through the “Book & Design” section.

At the art book market, the works of cartoonists and beautiful illustrations and calligraphy will be on display. In addition, children can also participate, as there are various lectures, storytelling sessions and activities specially prepared for them.

“Design is an integral element of books, and the role of illustrators and book designers is increasing. This is the reason why we prepared such events,” said Go Young-soo, the head of the organizing group, the Korean Publishers Association.

For experts in the publishing industry, a total of 11 seminars will be open. Issues such as bookstore management, globalization of Korean literature, exporting publishing rights and trends in the global publishing market will be discussed. Two seminars are being held together with the digital book fair.

The Seoul International Book Fair also aims to introduce foreign literature. As part of this effort, France and Italy have been invited as the “culture focus” and “spotlight” countries.

“We will introduce literature of emerging French authors who are less known in Korea now at the fair,” said Antony Chaumuzeau, the director of the Institut Francais.

In fact, this is the second time Italy has been chosen as the spotlight country, following last year.

“Last year’s book fair was cancelled because of the Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak that shook Korea,” Go said. “Thus it was held last October but with a smaller scale. Considering that the country has a lot to present to visitors, we decided to invite it once again.”

At the fair, there are total five programs in the Italian book section. Prof. Kim Un-chan will talk about the literature and philosophy of renowned Italian author Umberto Eco at 1 p.m. on Thursday. In addition, Italian children’s book author Elena Peduzzi will discuss how heros are perceived in literature at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Famous Korean authors and poets will also be visiting the venue. Best-selling authors Jeong You-jeong, Yi Mun-yol, Kim Kyung-uk and others will talk about their literature, and poet Shin Dal-ja will also have a conversation with attendees.

On Sunday at 11: 10 a.m., Deborah Smith will give a talk about how Korean literature is translated into foreign languages. She translated “The Vegetarian,” a novel written by Han Kang that won the Man Booker International Prize in May.

For the digital book fair, various programs including a webtoon academy, conversations with web novelists, exhibition booths as well as expert seminars have been prepared.

“The Seoul book fair and digital book fair are being held together this year because we share the same ecosystem,” Go explained.

The book fair is rich in content as it includes both readers and experts, domestic and foreign literature, and the young and older generations.

For more information, visit sibf.or.kr or call (02) 6000-1433.

BY KIM HYE-JUN [kim.hyejun@joongang.co.kr]
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