It’s a book party

By Sun Shuangjie Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/7 18:38:39 Last Updated: 2016/8/8 15:47:41

Shanghai Book Fair returns with focus on Chinese culture, socialism

Next week, the Shanghai Book Fair (SBF) returns for its annual celebration of books and knowledge.

And this year, following President Xi Jinping's speech on July 1, the 95th birth anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the fair has adopted "self-confidence in China's culture" as an overarching thread for the municipal event, following the similar existing themes on China's path, theory and system, according to the event's latest two press conferences.

Xu Jiong, head of Shanghai Municipal Press and Publication Bureau, said that more than 5,000 kinds of publications that promote the core values of Chinese socialism and advocate Chinese culture will be showcased to the public at the fair, which starts August 17 and runs till August 23. The admission fees are 10 yuan ($1.50) per person for daytime and 5 yuan for night.

This year's Shanghai Book Fair starts August 17 and runs till August 23.

Among them are books that shed light on the Party's history and its Long March 80 years ago, and publications covering current major topics, such as One Belt, One Road initiative, supply-side economic reform, and Shanghai's development into a hub for scientific and technological innovation.

Moreover, books that facilitate the revival of traditional Chinese arts and literature in contemporary life and that help cement China's cultural influence on the world stage through big-name writers are also included. Meanwhile, Xu said, the fair will feature activities related to those themes.

In this regard, the fair, which will be held at Shanghai Exhibition Center (1000 Yan'an Road Middle), will have an area dedicated to thematic publications selected from some 500 publishing houses from around the country. In another section for social sciences, dealers will offer thematic books.

Culture and self-confidence

On the opening day, a forum titled Stories of Self-confidence in China's Culture will be held. Attendees include Ge Jianxiong, a professor and history PhD with Fudan University; Qiao Liang, a major general in the air force and a professor with PLA National Defense University; Rao Yi, a famed biologist with Peking University; and Chen Xianghong, chairman of Wuzhen Tourism Company, who turned a small ancient water town into a major tourist site by bringing in art talents from around the world.

A panel composed of publishing houses, scholars and theorists will be held to shed light upon the relationship between self-confidence in China's culture and capacity of communication through publishing.

The talk will discuss how publishers can contribute more ideas and activities about concerns of the Party and the nation, and meanwhile tell Chinese stories to the world.

Li Yuantao is the vice chairman of Shanghai Century Publishing Group, which is co-organizing the panel with the municipality's publicity department and Shanghai Municipal Press and Publication Bureau.

This year, Shanghai Century Publishing Group, with 25 publishing houses under its wing, will present 14,000 books and 195 events involving 410 guests during the fair.

Li told the Global Times that each year his group releases new books as a response to the State's notice on "thematic publications," which this year revolves around five themes: new concepts and strategies of the CPC for State affairs; socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese dreams; the current economy and economic reforms; core values of Chinese socialism; and commemoration of the 95th birth anniversary of the CPC and 80th anniversary of the victory of the Long March.

"Thematic publication is an essential part of our work," Li said. "It's an important tool to publicize our country's mainstream values, to advocate a positive spirit among citizens and to safeguard the security in the nation."

This year, Li's group will release several books on the Silk Road, in light of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

The fair will feature a seminar on the publisher's newly released To Be Turned Into Iron, The Metal Itself Must Be Strong: How To Behave As A CPC Member Today?

"I'm not sure whether these books will sell well, but we'll see," Li said, noting that it's his group's aim that these books can achieve both social influence and economic success.

Some books published by his group in the past years have proved popular, for instance, Reflections On The Mournful First Sino-Japanese War, published in 2014, has sold more than 400,000 copies.

Copies of Reflections On The Mournful First Sino-Japanese War and To Be Turned Into Iron, The Metal Itself Must Be Strong: How To Behave As A CPC Member Today? published by Shanghai Century Publishing Group Photos: Yang Hui/GT and CFP and from the Internet

Other highlights of SBF 2016

▶Largest number of foreign authors

More than 40 writers, poets and translators from China and abroad will attend some 50 events during the International Literary Week (August 16-22). Belarusian writer and winner of last year's Nobel Prize for literature, Svetlana Alaxievich, will bring the Chinese version of her book Second-Hand Time in a talk with critic Chen Xiaoming on August 19 at Sinan Mansions (505 Fuxing Road Middle). Other distinguished guests of the fair include Dominican-American Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize winners Sean O'Bryan and Sharon Olds, Russian essayist and poet Mikhail Popov, Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, Japanese writer Shuichi Yoshida and American writer Gabrielle Zevin.

▶Poetry night turns to a poetry festival

Former International Poetry Night turns into the Shanghai International Poetry Festival, co-organized by the government of Xuhui district and School of Humanities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. On August 18, over 15 Chinese and foreign poets will read their works at Shanghai Mass Art Center (125 Guyi Road) from 7 pm to 9 pm. From August 16 to 20, these poets will go to different venues across the city for talks and workshops.

▶Cooperation with London Book Fair

SBF will announce a series of cooperative programs with London Book  &  Screen Week from London Book Fair. Jacks Thomas, director of the London Book Fair, together with Ian McDonald, three-time winner of British Science Fiction Association Awards for Best Novel, will join in several events.

▶Online data serves offline showcase

This year, SBF's section dedicated to social sciences will collaborate with to select the most popular books to showcase to readers, based on online reviews of experts in social sciences, insiders of publishing houses and major media.

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, City Panorama

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