Taipei, The 2021 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) opened virtually on Tuesday, giving readers the opportunity to browse through exhibits and attend livestreamed events from the comfort of their own homes.
This year’s book fair was originally set to be held both in person and online from Jan. 26-31. Organizers, however, decided to cancel the in-person portion last week, due to concerns sparked by a domestic cluster infection of COVID-19 that surfaced earlier this month.
Speaking at the book fair’s opening on Tuesday, Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) said that canceling the physical part of the event was “an extremely difficult decision” as many publishers and readers were looking forward to it.
Although the book fair will now be entirely online, it will still be brilliant, Lee said.
On the book fair’s website, which is available in both Chinese and English, readers can learn more about authors and books highlighted by various publishers, including winners of this year’s TIBE Book Prize and Golden Butterfly Awards.
They can also attend virtual exhibits, including one with over 50 illustrations inspired by the stories of Italian author Gianni Rodari, who is most famous for his children’s literature.
South Korea, which is the theme country of TIBE for the second consecutive year, has set up its own website for the fair, which features a selection of South Korean picture books, famous authors and their works, as well as interviews with South Korean writers.
On the TIBE’s Youtube page, readers will be able to watch livestreamed events featuring authors and illustrators from Taiwan, South Korea, India and a number of European countries.
These include Suzy Lee, a South Korean picture book artist, and Amitav Ghosh, an Indian fiction writer, according to the organizers.
Also Tuesday, Taiwan’s top research institution, Academia Sinica, said it had transformed its physical booth at the fair into an online site, with the theme of “advancing knowledge.”
The website has brief descriptions of books published by the institute that they had hoped to display at the book fair, as well as links to research they had conducted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the second year in a row that the in-person portion of the Taipei book fair has been canceled due to COVID-19. The last time the fair was held in person, in 2019, it attracted some 580,000 visitors.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel