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Hong Kong: Bibliophiles Descend on Convention Centre in Wanchai

Conventions and Exhibitions

The Hong Kong Book Fair threw its doors this morning at 10 am. By the time the fair closes at 5 pm on 23 July 2013, 300 speakers will have spoken and 400 cultural events will have been held.

Hong_Kong_Book_Fair_2011_Overview_Photo_Credit_WiNG
Early arrivers beat the crowds at the Hong Kong Book Fair. Photo Credit: MiNG.

 

And hundreds of thousands of bibliophiles will have carted off books, comic books, and book related products at bargain basement prices.

Now in its 24th year, the Hong Kong Book Fair is one of the largest scale exhibitions of the year in Hong Kong. Last year's fair drew 900,000 bibliophiles – despite heavy rains.

Will participation at this year's fair top the 1 million mark? Judging by today's turnout, the summer rains will not dampen enthusiasm for the fair.

Open Public Forums

Surely one of the highlights of this year's book fair will be two Open Public Forums moderated by Sir David Tang, author of “An Apple a Week and “A Chink in the Armour”.

Three renowned writers – noveliest and poet Erica Jong, biographer Jung Chang, and journalist and broadcaster William Shawcross – will share their writing insights at forums held on Friday 19 July and Saturday 20 July 2013.

Friday's forum will be held from 5.15 pm to 7.30 pm at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. Saturday's will be held from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm at the University of Hong Kong.

I attended a forum hosted by Sir David three years ago, and I can assure you, this is NOT something you will want to miss. And I WILL be there again this year!

Hong Kong humourist Nury Vittachi – not one of my personal favourites – kicked things off this morning. Other high profile authors participating in the book fair include Mark O'Neill, Nicole Chabot, Ira Chaplain, Jason Ng, and John Burdett.

Impact of Social Media on Reading

One of the more topical talks will be a presentation by social media guru Jay Oatway on How Social Media Can Make Us More Engaged Readers.

I've met Jay and heard him talk, and he always has something interesting to say. Too bad about the scheduling. I'm afraid I'll have to give this one a miss.

Most of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Hong Kong Book Fair, of course, will never make it beyond the exhibition halls, where a record 560 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions will be hawking thousands upon thousands of books, comic books, and book related products.

And whenever some skimpily clad models make an appearance, you can be sure that a plethora of paparazzi and would-be paparrazi will be crowding around them and snapping shots like crazy.

Tips for Visiting the Hong Kong Book Fair

If you haven't been to the Hong Kong Book Fair before, here are a few tips:

  • Arrive early – the crowds will amaze you.
  • Avoid weekends - it only gets worse.
  • Bring a suitcase with wheels – that's what everyone else does.
  • Examine the maps first – you'll want to plot your course.
  • Have books delivered – a delivery service to addresses throughout Hong Kong is available.

 

 

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