In Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the International Book Exhibition - one of the most important events of its kind in the Far East - began on Tuesday. This is the first time that Poland is the guest of honour at the event.
The Taipei International Book Exhibition TIBE will last until 5 February. It will be an opportunity to promote not only Polish literature, but also culture. Planned activities include meetings with Polish artists, an exhibition of children's illustration, a concert, and tastings of Polish food.
One of the most important events of its kind in the Far East is mainly aimed at the reading public, which translates into an emphasis on meetings with authors, cultural entertainment, and book sales. However, events for publishers, agents, and other professional industry parties also play an important role.
The main organiser of the Polish presentation are the Book Institute and the Polish Office in Taipei. They are partnered by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the National Library, the Pilecki Institute, and the International Cultural Centre.
During the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Dariusz Jaworski, Director of the Book Institute, thanked, on behalf of the Book Institute, for inviting our country as guest of honour to participate in the prestigious Taipei International Book Exhibition. He emphasised that "Poland is a fascinating country". "A country that has always built its identity of over a thousand years on truth, love, faith, and freedom," he pointed out.
He noted that "part of this identity is our culture – the spiritual and the material". "It was shaped by such eminent figures as Nicolaus Copernicus, Frederic Chopin, and Pope John Paul II. It has also been shaped by eminent writers and poets," the Book Institute director recalled.
“We are therefore delighted to be able to present the wealth of Polish literature - prose, poetry, non-fiction, comics and children's literature - at a special guest of honour stand right here in Taipei. You will meet fascinating wordsmiths, book illustrators, and publishers; you will be invited to explore extraordinary exhibitions, reprints of old prints and listen to beautiful music performed by a Polish-Ukrainian group. We will also serve food to our guests, because Polish cuisine is culinary poetry, “ said Jaworski.
He added that "the Book Institute, together with its partners: Polish Office in Taipei, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, and the National Library would like to invite you to an extraordinary encounter with Poland - because Poland is always where the Polish spirit is, and this spirit is infused in Polish literature."
During the opening of the event, speeches by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Glinski, addressed to the participants of the event, were also broadcast.
"We have known many examples of how culture has proven to be an excellent tool for increasing understanding between peoples. I am delighted that Polish literature can be showcased at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this year. I believe that such activities contribute to strengthening our cultural exchange," said Deputy Prime Minister Glinski.
He assessed that it was "an excellent opportunity to present new Polish books, their authors, translators, and publishers". He invited the public to participate in the "many interesting cultural events accompanying the Polish presentation". "I hope it will encourage you to become more familiar with Polish culture, which is very rich and diverse," the culture minister stressed.
Director of the Polish Office in Taipei Cyril Kozaczewski pointed out that "Poland and Taiwan have a lot in common"."We share the same democratic values, appreciate the beauty of nature, and have similar cooking habits. Poland and Taiwan helped each other during the coronavirus pandemic," Kozaczewski recalled.
The opening ceremony of the International Book Exhibition was also attended by representatives of the Taiwanese side - Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's new Minister of Culture Shih Che, and President of the Taipei International Book Exhibition Foundation Isabella Wu.
"The Taipei International Book Exhibition allows us to explore understanding between countries. This year, Poland is the Guest of Honour. Poland and Taiwan share common democratic values, and our dialogue has deepened in recent years. I believe that TIBE will allow us to get to know each other and forge closer relationships," said the Taiwanese president.
The opening of the International Book Exhibition was honoured by a performance by the Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana.
The Taiwanese fair, which is again being held with the participation of the public after a pandemic break, is an opportunity to showcase the best of Polish literature and illustration to readers and publishers there, as well as to publishers from East Asia (including South Korea and Japan). Particular emphasis will be placed on books that are about to be published or have been published in recent years in traditional Chinese translation and in English - novels, short story collections, essays, reportage, poetry, and literature for children and young adults.
The highlight of the Polish presentation will be live meetings with a representation of Polish authors from various fields of literature.
Writers Andrzej Sapkowski and Witold Szabłowski, who have already been translated into traditional Chinese, will meet Taiwanese audiences, as well as illustrators Piotr Socha and Marianna Oklejak, who are well-known locally. The event will also be attended by Stanisław Łubieński, whose book Książka o śmieciach (“What We Leave Behind”) will have its premiere at the fair. Polish poetry will be represented by Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar, and comics by Bartosz Sztybor. Rafał Kosik, author of books for children, young people and adults, will also participate in the book exhibition. The programme will also include events around books by Bronisław Wildstein and Piotr Nowak, which have been translated into English.
The Polish presentation will take place primarily within a pavilion of more than 440 square metres, designed by Dr Anna Skołożyńska-Cieciera of ASC Studio, and referring to Polish traditional folk designs. There will be an information desk, an exhibition on Polish history, an exhibition presenting the traditions and present day of Polish children's illustration, a sales point for books by Polish authors translated into traditional Chinese, a stage for meetings with authors, workshop space, thematic zones, and a B2B meeting zone for publishers. Polish publishers, literary agents, and cultural institutions will be exhibiting at our stand, including the State Publishing Institute (PIW), Powergraph, Foksal, Manuscriptum, Dwie Siostry, Nasza Księgarnia, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Andrew Nurnberg Associates, KaBooks, the National Library, International Cultural Centre, and Pilecki Institute.
The accompanying events will include, in addition to meetings with authors, art workshops for children and culinary demonstrations with tastings of Polish dishes.
Visitors to the Polish pavilion will be able to enjoy an exhibition devoted to Polish children's illustration - "Captains of Illustration from Poland", organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and curated by Jacek Friedrich, as well as concerts by the Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana, which has been combining elements of Polish and Ukrainian culture through jazz, electronica, and world music for over 14 years.
At the exhibition, visitors will be able to learn about the long and rich history of Polish children's literature and the related art of illustration, which developed most vigorously between 1950 and 1980. Works by artists working in the so-called golden age of Polish illustration, i.e. the 1960s and 1970s, as well as contemporary artists will be on display.
The International Book Exhibition in Taipei is part of the strategy pursued by the Book Institute, the aim of which is to have a sustained, distinct presence of Polish literature in places where up to now Polish books have not been available or have been insufficiently available. The project was co-financed by funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the task 'Poland as Guest of Honour at the TIBE 2023 International Book Exhibition in Taipei'.
Here you can find the programme: