Having been running for more than 25 years, the Hong Kong Book Fair is one of the biggest events of its kind in the region. And it’s fitting as publishing is big business here, contributing $14 billion to the city annually and employing some 40,000 workers. But the book fair doesn’t just attract industry types. Last year people queued overnight to be among the first in and visitor numbers topped one million for the first time. They come to see big name authors in the flesh, snap up sought-after titles, attend free public talks and generally soak up the buzz that packs the Convention Centre.
Running for six days from July 20 to with 600 exhibitors, there’s a lot on. To help give you a flavour of what’s in store, we speak to two authors appearing at the fair and look at some of the best cultural events taking place so you know what not to miss.
Hong Kong Book Fair 2016 highlights
The Hong Kong Book Fair’s theme this year is Chinese Martial Arts Literature, the kind that inspired Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There is a dedicated zone in the Art Gallery showcasing cultural and historical artifacts, publications and photographs illustrating the development of Chinese martial arts literature. The eight highlighted authors include the likes of Jin Yong, Gu Long and Liang Yu Sheng.
A veteran local journalist and author, Mark O’Neill is a former correspondent for the South China Morning Post. O’Neill has written six books on the history of China and talks about his latest, The Miraculous History of China’s Two Palace Museums, which details how artefacts from Beijing’s Palace Museum found their way to Taipei before the Communist victory in 1949.
A Hong Kong native born to an English father and Chinese mother, Sarah Howe’s first collection of poetry, last year’s Loop of Jade, won the TS Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Howe comes to the Hong Kong Book Fair to discuss her poetry, which explores the author’s dual heritage and return to Hong Kong in search of her roots.