photo: Łukasz Jarocki / The Book Institute

Reactions of visitors to the Polish presentation at the Taipei International Book Exhibition

The Taipei International Book Exhibition - one of the largest book fairs in Asia, at which Poland had the honoured role of Guest of Honour this year - lasted for almost the entire previous week. The representatives of the Book Institute present in Taipei were amazed at the warm welcome that the Taiwanese public gave to Polish literature.

The Taipei International Book Exhibition TIBE was visited by more than half a million readers this year. Over the six days of the event, a total of 811 events were held for readers, 470 exhibitors (including 225 from abroad) presented their offerings, and more than 400 foreign visitors came to the Taiwanese capital.

The Guest of Honour, which this year was Poland, is very prominently displayed at the Taipei Fair. We tried to make the most of this opportunity as best we could. In addition to numerous meetings with Polish writers and illustrators, we organised, among other things, tastings of traditional Polish dishes, concerts, and comic book workshops. All these events attracted numerous visitors to the Polish pavilion.

"We were in Taiwan for the first time and straight away as a Guest of Honour. Our pavilion was superbly prepared in every respect. It contained everything that is most important, namely Poland in a nutshell," claimed Book Institute Director Dariusz Jaworski.

Throughout the fair, representatives of the Book Institute received very positive feedback from the numerous fair visitors and great interest in Polish culture was shown.

To convey at least a fraction of this experience, we publish below some of the translated comments published by visitors to the fair on social media:

"My family and I visit the TIBE trade fair every year. This time we were really delighted with Poland. The entire Polish stand was magnificent, including old books, manuscripts (Chopin!), comics and children's books. We really enjoyed all the beautiful books you brought to Taiwan. Above all, all the stand staff were friendly. The attendants patiently answered all my questions, so I now know more about your exhibition and Polish culture. Thank you for the gifts received - we have already started to use them. They will remind us of the great moments with Poland at TIBE. Thank you, Poland! One day we will visit you!"

"The Polish presentation was very diverse, filled with culture, food, and beautiful books. Thank you!"

"A truly excellent and rich presentation! Thank you, Poland, for sharing your enthusiasm and the results of your work!"

"Thank you so much for bringing us all these wonderful things! I have been to Poland once, many years ago, but after seeing this presentation I fell in love with the Poles even more. I very much hope to be able to visit your country again, especially Krakow!"

"This year's themed pavilion is prepared with impressive diligence! It makes people want to learn more about Poland."

The Taipei International Book Exhibition began on 31 January and ended on 5 February. The main organisers 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 event, the Taiwanese audience was presented with the works of several authors, including Andrzej Sapkowski, Witold Szabłowski, Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar, Rafał Kosik, Bartosz Sztybor, Bronisław Wildstein, and Stanisław Łubieński. Most of those writers were present in Taipei in order to meet with Asian readers.

Here is a short film published by the organisers from the Taipei International Book Exhibition, which shows that the Polish presentation was strongly highlighted at this year's event:

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'.