- Last Updated on Friday, 08 June 2012 12:20
This year's London Book Fair, 16-18 April, has focus on China and Chinese publishing, writes Sajid Rizvi.
The China focus at London's premier jamboree for booksellers, publishers, writers plus numerous service provides follows on a much more ambitious China focus at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest, in 2009 which sank into controversy over the the fair's less than expert handling of political disputes between the Chinese government and its critics abroad.
China is on a much stronger political footing now than in 2009, thanks to its global economic clout and a greater willingness in the West to work with China as it is, rather than as the West wants it to be.
Frankfurt's greatest achievement was the spotlight it offered on Chinese writing at its best, the classical as well as modern, that had remained unknown to readers in the world at large.
Chinese publishing has excelled both in terms of content and quality, and has even ventured out over the years into the realm of foreign language publishing, with mixed results. It's not uncommon to see beautifully produced books, with the foreign language butchered in its visually appealing format due to the publisher's lack of foresight in failing to pay for decent translation, editing and proofreading.
Some of the best looking books in English published by Chinese publishers are also possibly the worst in terms of their English content -- often obtained by consulting with internet or hand-held dictionaries or guides, with tragicomic results. So, a more comprehensive collaboration between East and West that goes beyond purchase or sale of publshing rights is called for.
Below are some highlights of the China Market Focus event programme, ranging from high-level forums to book launches and photography exhibitions. A range of international speakers will be talking at each event, with insights being provided into the way the publishing industry is run in China and what lessons and advice they can offer to the rest of the world.
MONDAY 16 APRIL
- The Great China Wave: Discussions on the China developmental model, 09.30 – 12.30 | Hampton Room
This forum will focus on the historical and cultural foundation of the 'Chinese way,' the social, political and economic systems behind it, China's development path and the impacts of social system on international geopolitics and ideology. Speakers will include: Zhang Weiwei, a bestselling author in China, and Economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps.
- 15th Anniversary of the Hong Kong special administrative region photo exhibition, 11.30 – 12.00 | Hong Kong Booth
- Book launch ceremony of When the Earth Shook: Wenchaun Earthquake and The rebirth of our land: Creating a more beautiful Sichuan, 11.30 – 12.30 | Market Focus Pavilion
Sichuan Xinhua Winshare and McGraw-Hill come together to publish two titles exploring the effects of the Wenchuan Earthquake in May 2008. Filled with images of the destruction caused and the reconstruction efforts, both titles provide a visual insight into the historical event. Speakers will include representatives from McGraw-Hill Education, Sichuan People's Publishing House, as well as the Minister of General Administration of Press and Publication of the People's Republic of China and the Deputy Governor of Sichuan Province will be on hand to present these works for the first time.
- 2012 Publishing Industry of China: Present and future China publishing industry report new book launch, 13.00 – 14.00 | Hampton Room
This symposium is aimed to start dialogues between the publishing industries of China and the rest of the world, help the latter better understand its Chinese counterpart, and provide suggestions for foreign scholars and publishers to know more about and access to the Chinese market. Speakers will include: Wu Shulin, Director-general of the General Administration Press and Publication of the People's Republic of China, Ronald G. Dunn, President & CEO of Cengage Learning
- China Europe international publishing forum: Growth, Co-operation, and Development in International Publishing, 14.30 – 17.15 | Conference Centre 1
China's engagement in the international book trade and the growing use of the Chinese Language will create new challenges and opportunities for all international publishers as the rapid digitalization of the industry continues and the China Europe International Publishing Forum will consider these issues in a European context.
Speakers will include: The Hon Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Culture & the Creative Industries; Liu Binjie, Minister of the General Administration for Press & Publication of China.
The Cambridge China Library seminar, 17.00 – 20.00, Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington
Cambridge University Press and Peking University Press are coming together to hold a seminar to discuss the content of The History of Chinese Civilisation which are being launched for the first time. Speakers will include: Professor Yuan Xingpei (Peking University Press), Professor David Knechtges (Washington) and Professor David McMullen (Cambridge University Press)
TUESDAY 17 APRIL
- China – UK Digital Forum: New trends and new products in digital publishing in China and the UK, 09.30 – 12.15 | Thames Room
In this seminar, publishers will share evolving business models and show innovative new digital releases which show how publishers are approaching their new markets. Speakers will include: Liu Binjie Minister of the General Administration for Press & Publication of China, Rod Bristow President of The Publishers Association
- China and UK literature forum, 14.00 – 15.30 | Hampton Room
Four Chinese writers; Tie Ning, Mo Yan, Alai and Liu Zhenyun along with four British counterparts, will participate in a discussion covering topics such as 'maintaining national characteristics in a global context' and literature and social progress'.
- China Language Teaching/English Language Teaching publishing dialogue: Synergies and Differences between CLT (Chinese Language Teaching) and ELT (English Language Teaching) Publishing , 14.00 – 17.00 Thames Room
This seminar is to discuss areas in which ELT and CLT publishing businesses can learn from each other, and areas in which they may continue to differ. It will invite experts to share their experiences and comment on what the future may hold regarding key developments in the international market place. Speakers will include: Wu Shulin, Vice Minister of the General Administration for Press and Publication China; Martin Davidson, CEO, British Council
WEDNESDAY 18 APRIL
- Professional publishing forum: Cooperation and win-win- China/UK Publishing Partnerships and International Publishing, 09.30 – 12.15 Thames Room
This forum will invite professional publishers to share their experiences and provide solutions through the case studies of their successful cooperation and partnership in pairs. The publishers will also discuss wider cooperation in international publishing trade and investment. Speakers will include: Wu Shulin, Vice Minister for General Administration of Press & Publication China; Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, UK