SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) - An international book fair kicked off in Paris on Wednesday highlighting South Korean books and authors.
Launched in 1981, the Paris Book Fair is considered one of the biggest publishing trade fairs in Europe. More than 250,000 publishers, booksellers, authors, literary agents, librarians, and media and industry suppliers attended the fair last year.
South Korea is taking part in the event as the guest of honor for the first time as it celebrates the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties with France.’
French President Francois Hollande and Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay attended the opening ceremony at the “Paris Expo Porte de Versailles” exhibition center. It was held one day before the book fair opens to the public Thursday for a four-day run.
Hollande also visited the “guest of honor” pavilion located in the center of the exhibition venue. He originally planned to slowly look around the pavilion but cut his time of stay after the venue became congested with local journalists coming to cover the event.
He had brief conversations with South Korean officials there, including Yoon Tae-yong, an official in charge of overseeing the content industry at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, before leaving. In the visitors’ book, he wrote, “To French and Korean readers who share the same passion for culture.”
“We have many young people eager to learn the Korean language. More books have been translated into French as Korean literature draws high attention,” Azoulay was quoted as saying during the visit by Yoon.
Led by the Korean Publishers Association, five Korean publishers and government agencies organized the exhibition featuring South Korean books and introducing authors under the slogan “New Horizon.”
The pavilion has sections for a special exhibition and business activities, a bookstore and cultural events.
On display in the special exhibition section are some 60 books by the country’s 30 most influential authors, as well as major e-books, children’s books, cartoons and webtoons.
In the business section, seven domestic publishers, including Yeowon Media and YeaRimDang Publishing Co., set up booths to consult with foreign publishers wanting to buy the copyrights to their books.’
Some 10,000 Korean books, including French translations, are available for purchase in the bookstore corner of Gibert Joseph, a leading French bookstore.
Separately, industry leading publishers from the two countries will hold a two-day conference at the French national book center in Paris starting Thursday to discuss ways to increase bilateral exchanges.
Thirty renowned Korean authors invited to the book fair, such as Hwang Sok-yong, Han Kang, Lee Seung-u, Moon Chung-hee, Oh Jung-hi and Mah Chong-gi, will take part in book-reading events, forums and seminars on such subjects as “women and family,” “globalization of literature” and “literature and religion” from Thursday to Sunday.
There will be a performance of classical music and traditional Korean music at the opening in a series of events to mark South Korea’s status as the guest of honor.