The 2018 Taipei International Book Exhibition Looks to Israel for Inspiration in the Age of Reading
16 January 2018 / 2018TIBE

The 26th edition of the Taipei International Book Exhibition is set to kick off Feb. 6th-11th, 2018, at Halls 1 and 3 of the Taipei World Trade Center. Organized by the Taipei Book Fair Foundation under the auspices of Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, the book show is themed “Age of Reading” this year and features Israel­— which just celebrated its 70th anniversary—as guest of honor. During the six-day event, over 200 Israeli publications from comics and children’s books to history, literature, and lifestyle will be showcased in a venue inspired by the Hebrew Bible, giving the participants a taste of Israel’s robust publishing industry.


Chu Jui-Hao, director of the MOC Department of Humanities and Publications, said at a press conference announcing the event that the gathering of heavyweight Israeli authors, food writers, and artists at this year’s TIBE will bring local readers a show-going experience like never before, praising the rich culture and history of the country. His sentiments were echoed by TBFF Chairman James C. M. Chao, who highlighted the felicitous combination of this year’s exhibition theme and theme country. Chao said that reading brings power to the people, which can be seen in the example set by Israel over the years, and the unique books, design and food exhibited at the press conference serve to illustrate this point.

Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, according to Rep. Asher Yarden of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, while most literary works are written in Hebrew. Thousands of new Hebrew titles are published a year, Yarden said, in genres ranging from essay to drama and poetry. Modern Israeli writers have racked up countless accolades all over the world. Samuel Josef Agnon, for example, became the first Israeli Nobel laureate in literature in 1966 with his unique and penetrating narrative style. Amos Oz, meanwhile, is one of the most internationally recognized Israeli writers of our time. His memoir was adapted into a critically acclaimed 2016 feature film “A Tale of Love and Darkness” starring Natalie Portman.


There are three approaches to understanding the country, Yarden said. The first approach is through its history, culture, and heritage. The book Jerusalem: The Biography which is recommended by President Tsai Ing-wen, is a perfect guide for this approach. The two other approaches involve innovative technology and everyday life, and will also open up gateways into Israel and its rich assets. Therefore, the TIBE Israel pavilion will pave a path through Israel’s ancient history and cutting-edge technology using a wide array of publications to tell the country’s story. During the course of the show, the theme country pavilion will also host various food and wine tasting events, in addition to the screening of a documentary on bestselling writer Etgar Keret, plus a post-screening talk.


Another highlight of the campaign is the meet-and-greet events given by Israeli writers, according to Israel Pavilion organizer Peini Beatrice Hsieh. 2018 TIBE will be graced with the presence of award-winning novelist Noa Yedlin, caricature portrait artist Hanoch Piven, bestselling YA author Yannets Levi, and Hebrew language revivalist and food writer Gil Hovav.


An exciting lineup of activities, including author talks, signings, book launches, workshops, Hebrew calligraphy sessions, and Hebrew recitations, are planned on a daily basis at the theme country pavilion. Other shows on the schedule include the live performance of independent klezmer group Di Gasn Trio, in addition to Rummikub (Israeli mahjong) game sessions, and virtual reality tours of Israel’s technological innovations. Also, as the book fair coincides with the Lunar New Year holidays, the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei will offer participants limited-edition gifts, specially designed to combine the characteristics of the Hebrew and Mandarin languages.  




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