You had to be there – Witi Ihimaera, being tossed in a chair by indigenous Taiwanese during his talk Universal Stories, a packed-out session held with local author Sakinu Yalonglong. The audience roared with appreciation as humour and translation made it a wonderful event whatever your language.
Also drawing big crowds twice each day for the six day Taipei International Book Exhibition were Ngā Kete Tuku Iho’s performance group. “There were kids on shoulders everywhere you looked, kids on stage, people having their pictures taken with the performers – fantastic, happy interaction everywhere,” said PANZ’s Katherine Shanks.
Author Paul Cleave’s signing queue (pictured left) “stretched out of sight” according to Katherine, and authors including Joy Cowley and Joan Druett attracted full house audiences, as did many of the panel sessions with authors and illustrators.
Katherine says that it wasn’t apparent in wide shot photographs, but the ends of each longitudinal tokotoko had screens broadcasting our history, stories and scenery. And even better, the New Zealand stand was scented by our native flower perfumes so the experience was audio, visual and olfactory.
A total of 682 publishers from 67 countries exhibited at the fair, which featured over 700 book-signings, authors’ talks and other events.