An International Show-Going Experience to Explore in A Book Exhibition
Feb 09, 2018

It might be considered relatively smaller than book exhibitions held in other major Asian cities, yet given its dedication and vitality in the promotion of reading, international experience exchanging, and forums of the publishing industry, TIBE deserves to be titled as the most multi-featured international book exhibition in Asia.

The 26th edition of the Taipei International Book Exhibition kicked off on Feb. 6th and will last until 11th 2018, at Halls 1 and 3 of the Taipei World Trade Center. Organized by the Taipei Book Fair Foundation under the auspices of Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, the book show is themed “Age of Reading” this year and features Israel­— which just celebrated its 70th anniversary—as guest of honor. During the six-day event, over 200 Israeli publications from comics and children’s books to history, literature, and lifestyle has been showcased in a venue inspired by the Hebrew Bible, giving the participants a taste of Israel’s robust publishing industry.

Chu Jui-Hao, director of the MOC Department of Humanities and Publications, said at a press conference announcing the event that the gathering of heavyweight Israeli authors, food writers, and artists at this year’s TIBE will bring local readers a show-going experience like never before, praising the rich culture and history of the country. His sentiments were echoed by TBFF Chairman James C. M. Chao, who highlighted the felicitous combination of this year’s exhibition theme and theme country. Chao said that reading brings power to the people, which can be seen in the example set by Israel over the years, and the unique books, design and food exhibited at the press conference serve to illustrate this point.

Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, according to Rep. Asher Yarden of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, while most literary works are written in Hebrew. Thousands of new Hebrew titles are published a year, Yarden said, in genres ranging from essay to drama and poetry. Modern Israeli writers have racked up countless accolades all over the world. Samuel Josef Agnon, for example, became the first Israeli Nobel laureate in literature in 1966 with his unique and penetrating narrative style. Amos Oz, meanwhile, is one of the most internationally recognized Israeli writers of our time. His memoir was adapted into a critically acclaimed 2016 feature film “A Tale of Love and Darkness” starring Natalie Portman.

There are three approaches to understanding the country, Yarden said. The first approach is through its history, culture, and heritage. The book Jerusalem: The Biography which is recommended by President Tsai Ing-wen, is a perfect guide for this approach. The two other approaches involve innovative technology and everyday life, and will also open up gateways into Israel and its rich assets. Therefore, the TIBE Israel pavilion will pave a path through Israel’s ancient history and cutting-edge technology using a wide array of publications to tell the country’s story. During the course of the show, the theme country pavilion will also host various food and wine tasting events, in addition to the screening of a documentary on bestselling writer Etgar Keret, plus a post-screening talk.

Another highlight of the campaign is the meet-and-greet events given by Israeli writers, according to Israel Pavilion organizer Peini Beatrice Hsieh. 2018 TIBE will be graced with the presence of award-winning novelist Noa Yedlin, caricature portrait artist Hanoch Piven, bestselling YA author Yannets Levi, and Hebrew language revivalist and food writer Gil Hovav.

An exciting lineup of activities, including author talks, signings, book launches, workshops, Hebrew calligraphy sessions, and Hebrew recitations, are planned on a daily basis at the theme country pavilion. Other shows on the schedule include the live performance of independent klezmer group Di Gasn Trio, in addition to Rummikub (Israeli mahjong) game sessions, and virtual reality tours of Israel’s technological innovations. Also, as the book fair coincides with the Lunar New Year holidays, the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei will offer participants limited-edition gifts, specially designed to combine the characteristics of the Hebrew and Mandarin languages.

Multinational Pavilions to Explore

According to the Taipei Book Fair Foundation (TBFF), the 2018 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) features 10 pavilions, 5 forums, and more than 500 events. In the presence of representatives from European Economic and Trade Office, Goethe-Institut Taipei, and the French Office in Taipei, Ms. Mei-Rong Deng (the deputy director of the Department of Humanities and Publications of the Ministry of Culture) and TBFF Chairman Mr. James C. M. Chao expressed gratitude to everyone who has supported the event along its 26 year history.

EU Pavilion

The Head of the European Economic and Trade Office, Ms. Anna Maria Madeleine Majorenko, pointed out that this year is the 6th anniversary for the EU Pavilion, and age 6 is when kids start to read on their own. Visitors for the EU Pavilion can leaf through books from Austria, Czech, Estonia, Greece, Italy, and Portugal in a venue taking inspiration from ancient Greek agora, and participate in cultural events every day from 14:00 to 16:00 while enjoying complimentary coffee.


According to the director of the Goethe-Institut Taipei, Mr. Jens Rösler, the Germany Pavilion features 15 publishers and 250 award-winning books for teenagers and children of such themes as environment, design, and architecture. Three German writers have been invited to share their views with Taiwanese readers. Another highlight this year is the illustration exhibition LOOK!, which had been curated by Germany as the Guest of Honor at the 2016 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.


The head of Culture, Education, and Science Section of the French Office in Taipei, Mr. Nicolas Bauquet, gave a special mention to guest speaker Ms. Leïla Slimani. She is the winner of France's top literary accolade, the Prix Goncourt, and was made France's emissary of the French language by President Macron. The France Pavilion will showcase 11 reading devices. Digital publication creators and producers will personally introduce their works and participate in the digital publishing forum, book signing sessions, as well as the first-ever VR presentation.

Greek Section of EU

A special selection of children’s Greek books is presented in the Greek section of the EU pavilion, organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. Warsaw Trade Office in Taipei would also like to present some of the most prominent books for children which have received many prestigious awards in Poland and abroad. Estonia will also present a selection of the best designed books and children’s books of 2016.


This year, Belgium Pavilion features various titles from publishers, and a famous and talented illustrator invited by Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI). The Portuguese exhibit showcases 6 winning titles of 4 important Portuguese book awards. The Czech Republic is a small country located “in the heart of Europe” well known for its book writers and illustrators. The Italian Economic, Trade, and Cultural Promotion Office in Taipei (IETCPO) will exhibit both classical and contemporary literary works alongside their Chinese versions. Austria will present a selection of books from Austrian publishers focusing on architecture. The Trade Office of Swiss Industries are especially excited to present three books written by Taiwanese-Swiss authors who describe their views and experiences with the Swiss way of life. Central America Trade Office collects hardcover travel books from Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, as well as the rare series of books on Central American literature to be demonstrated during the six days of event. Organizations from the UK include the Publishers Association—which is attending TIBE with 11 publishers for the first time in a decade—and the first-time exhibitor Book Depository, which offers free book delivery worldwide.


The Japan Pavilion is showcasing replicas of the legendary Osamu Tezuka’s manga. Publishers of children's books from Japan and Taiwan can share their experiences in a newly-introduced event. In addition, a conversation will be held between two renowned illustrators Yūichi Kimura and Jimmy Liao. The Hong Kong Pavilion has prepared a star-studded list of speakers that includes Zheng-Yu Huang, Agnes Chan, Koon-Chung Chang, Po-Chung Chow, and Susanna Chui-Yung Cheung. Korean bestselling authors You-Jeong Jeong, Kang-Myoung Chang, and Won-June Tae will also give talks at this year’s TIBE.


Organized by the Brazil Book Chamber (Câmara Brasileira do Livro), the Brazil booth showcases the winning titles of the 2017 Jabuti Awards (Prêmio Jabuti). Jabuti was created in 1958 and is Brazil’s most traditional and celebrated book award. The most important differential in relation to other literature awards is its reach: besides appreciating writers, the award highlights the work quality of several areas related to creation and production of a book. Publishing houses of several segments and independent writers apply annually hoping for the desired statuette and the recognition it provides. Winning a Jabuti is a desire by all of those who consider a book as an ideal of life. It is a distinction that gives to its winner much more than a financial reward. Winning a Jabuti represents to the book the ballast of the Brazilian intellectual community; it means to be admitted to a group of remarkable writers that are part of the national literature.

Digital Publishing

The 26th TIBE presents four exhibition pavilions: the Creative Comic Collection Interactive Digital Exhibition, the Taiwan Characters Carnival, the Digital Publishing Pavilion, and Make a Zine 2. The Creative Comic Collection Interactive Digital Exhibition brings together the comic book industry and the technology industry. The Taiwan Character Brand Licensing Association will bring their IP mascots to the venue. The Digital Publishing Pavilion allows readers to experience digital publications incorporated with AR and VR technologies, while visitors can design their own magazines in Make a Zine 2.

Independent Organizations

The section for literary, NGO, and independent publishers is organized by the Taiwan Association for Independent Bookshop Culture, Indie Publishers, and the Taiwan Labor Front. The three organizations are hosting small book fairs and over 20 talks in and outside Taipei to bring the power of reading to local communities.


In the Children’s Pavilion at Hall 3, readers can find works from illustrators who had represented Taiwan in the Museum of the Fantastic at the 2017 Bologna Children's Book Fair. The organizer, Howard Chen, mentioned that Jimmy Liao, Chin-Lun Lee, and other artists will give talks at the newly-added Illustrator’s Salon. The “Where the Books Are” section welcomes young readers to play the role of detective, and investigate the animal kingdom. Stage plays are scheduled for the weekend to bring the joy of reading to children.

TIBE 2018 also features the Rare Books Auction, where collectors Victor Wang and Wei Li will have a conversation on rare book collection.

For more information please visit the official site of TIBE 2018.
Edited by Sharon Tseng

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution