International Features Galore at Hong Kong Book Fair

Europe x Hong Kong over Le Petit Prince, comics, film and much more


10 July 2017 - A strong international line-up will feature at the 28th edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair, which will host around 670 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions from 19-25 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

Among the highlights is the International Cultural Village, which will feature consulates and cultural promotion organisations from 28 countries showcasing their local books and cultural products. Among the newcomers to this section will be Colombia, Nepal, Pakistan, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain will join forces to set up the new European Union Pavilion at the Grand Foyer on the third floor of the HKCEC to showcase European culture.

With support from the Consulate-General of France in Hong Kong & Macau and Consulate-General of Spain in Hong Kong, the World of Knowledge Seminar Series will spotlight speakers, including illustrator Cédric Fernandez and film critic Arnaud Lanuque from France, French-Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou, as well as international relations experts Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales from Spain.


French and Hong Kong illustrators collaborate on Le Petit Prince

The French literary classic Le Petit Prince, has inspired readers over the years, including Cédric Fernandez. With an interest in aviation, the illustrator is fascinated not only by the tale of Le Petit Prince, but also in the life of its author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – a pioneering aviator – who inspired Mr Fernandez’ comics Saint-Exupéry: Le Seigneur des sables and Saint Exupéry: Le Royaume des étoiles.

In Hong Kong, there are also many who would like to bring Le Petit Prince back to life, including a Hong Kong publisher who recently published a Cantonese version of Le Petit Prince, with local illustrators Michelle Chan and Aria Lui recreating the literary classic.

The three illustrators will share their thoughts on Le Petit Prince at a Book Fair session titled “Meeting the Little Prince: A Crossed Perspective between Hong Kong and French Artists / Creators.” The trio will do a live demonstration of their art, with the audience also invited to take part.

The birth of African Les Misérables

Born in the Republic of Congo, Alain Mabanckou is a leading French-language writer who has published several bestselling novels, essays and poetry collections, including his debut Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, which received the Grand Prix Littéraire d’Afrique Noire in 1999. His works have been translated into 15 languages, reaching an international audience.

Mr Mabanckou’s Afro-French background figures prominently in his writings. Four of his novels are based on his childhood in the Republic of Congo, while his latest work, Black Moses, published this year, recounts the life of a Congolese orphan nicknamed Little Pepper in the 1970s. The novel examines Congo’s deep-seated social problems, including poverty, slavery and tribal disputes, and exposes the absurdity of the era seen through the eyes of the orphan. Critics have likened the book to Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Mr Mabanckou’s works have been compared with those of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, hailing him as one of today’s great storytellers.

Mr Mabanckou will address a Book Fair seminar entitled “Africa’s Best Storyteller meets the Hong Kong Public” on 21 July.

French critic to speak on Hong Kong films

Hong Kong films have a global following, including in France. Since 2000, Arnaud Lanuque has been instrumental in promoting Hong Kong films in France through his reviews of Hong Kong cinema in the French media. In 2010, he co-wrote the book Les Actrices Chinoises about Chinese and Hong Kong actresses.

His latest book, Police Vs Syndicats du Crime, investigates the classic Hong Kong film genre of cops and triads. Apart from delving into the conflicts between police and triads, the book analyses the characteristics of various cops-and-triad films, alongside interviews with more than 40 Hong Kong film-industry players, including celebrated directors Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam, as well as actor Anthony Wong. At a Book Fair seminar called “Hong Kong Cops and Triads Films: Between West and East,” Mr Lanuquewill examine the Hong Kong film genre together with Hong Kong film critic Sam Ho.

Retracing the Ruta via de la Plata

Even as China promotes the revival of the Silk Road trade through its Belt and Road Initiative, the ancient Ruta via de la Plata commercial corridor, linking China and Mexico, has been in place since the 16th century. A Book Fair session titled “The Silver Way: Travel-writing Across the Pacific of the 16th-19th Centuries” will feature Peter Gordon and Juan José Morales, who will introduce their book, The Silver Way: China, Spanish American and the Birth of Globalisation, 1565-1815. Examining the origin and development of globalisation, the book shows how trade between China and Latin America has flourished for centuries, and offers insights into the current international economic landscape.

The authors will address the seminar at the invitation of the Consulate-General of Spain in Hong Kong.